My Malibu Half Marathon 2018

My Malibu Half Marathon 2018

By:Natalie Atkins

Editor: Kimberly Atkins

Its 3:15am Sunday Nov. 4th and my alarm is going off. Time to get out of bed. There is a pile of clothes I need to put on, food I need to get out of the fridge and a bag packed by the door. I grab my boyfriend, food, bag, headphones (that were plugged in overnight) and head to the car. I’m running the Malibu Half Marathon and parking opens at 4:30am. I NEED TO GO!


It is hard to explain the nerves and excitement I was feeling this morning as Ryan and I drove into the parking lot at Zuma Beach. I was supposed to run the Malibu Half Marathon last year in addition to maybe the Maui Half Marathon just a week apart to see if running a full marathon was something I thought I could do. However, just a few weeks before my 2017 races I got Plantar Fasciitis in both feet and had to cancel both races. I was devastated I could not exercise, run or even stand without severe pain in both of my feet. My only option was to rest. Rest and not put any undo stress on my feet. For 6 months I rested. I saw a few different Podiatrist’s and physical therapist’s along the way, and did a lot of my own research. I was desperate to find what I could do to help my feet return to “normal”. Once I felt like my feet were healthy enough to start training again, I did. I have had a crazy work schedule, but I did what I could, WHEN I could. I also did my best not to over train and re-injure myself. ( My two favorite books on training have become  Yoga For Runners By Dr. Beth Brombosz AND Train Smart Run Forever By Bill Pierce and Scott Murr)


As I sat in the parking lot this morning I was very thankful for the opportunity to run The Malibu half Marathon just 1 year after such excruciating foot pain. But doubting the amount of training I was able to fit into my schedule. You see in the last 6 months of my training, the longest run I have been on was about 6 miles and my average mile time was around 13:30. Recently that average mile time seemed closer to 13:50. I told my boyfriend, Ryan, who was there to be my Sherpa that I was probably going to take about 3 hours to finish and I was just going to be happy to finish with little to no pain. I was hoping for the best, but preparing myself for the worst.


As the sun was rising I was putting on the last pieces I need to run my race:  A little Sweet Sweat around the muscles and joints I wanted to keep warm, my sunglasses, headphones,  running shoes, and running belt with “snacks”, and of course my Geekout Your Workout visor. I felt like a runner on the outside but felt like a noOb on the inside. Mind you I have run 2  half marathons in the past so this is not a battle with Cylons. The sunrise was so beautiful and before I knew it we were corralled and the race was upon us.

My training strategy has been a run walk interval pace to build my body up to the amount of running I would need to endure. Starting with a 5 minute warm up then alternating 4 minutes of jogging with 1 minute of walking, that was the plan for today. I had previously looked at the race elevation and knew we would be running up a big hill topping out at mile 4, have a few inclines and declines through mile 6, and another large hill at mile 9. Then the rest of the way home would be downhill or level. My strategy was to follow my run walk intervals from training, not pushing too hard on the uphills and giving myself the Okay to walk up any hill that I needed to keep my legs going for the last 4 miles of the race.


My group got to the starting line and we were off! I started my apps and in all the excitement my warmup ended up being a jog instead of a fast paced walk. My mentality was do not burn out my legs in the 1st half of the race. Take it slow follow the app to mile 6 and I was going to allow myself to push after the 1/2 way point and really push after the incline at mile 9. I mostly followed the plan. I didn’t need to walk any more than originally planned, and actually found myself able to run more than planned. I was able to take the momentum of the downhills to my advantage and found my legs wanting to move on the flat road. Everytime I could catch a glimpse of the ocean I could let my mind wander there but for the moments I found difficult I dug into the music I was listening too (my favorites were Pharrell’s Happy and the Avengers Theme song). The Mile markers were true to Malibu as they were little surf boards with the mile number on them.  However, the signs were hard to see most of the time and without my apps playing in my ear telling me where I was on the course I would have felt a little lost. Mile 4 my left earbud died. Mile 9 my right earbud died but the speaker on my phone kept me motivated as I pushed myself to speed up but also verbally encourage others on my way to the finish line. The last mile was the hardest. The plan was to run/jog the last 2 miles in, but I had to slow to a walk for a portion of the last mile. As I rounded the last bend of the race and heard the Finish line music playing I sped up as fast as my tired legs could carry me and ran as fast as i could to that finish line! I only slowed once my feet passed the mark. The hardest part of this race was the few moments just after passing the finish line. My stomach was upset from the calories and water I had taken in during the race, my knees and ankles were aching, and my childhood asthma seemed to take this opportunity to jump back into play. I felt my chest getting tight and my throat swelling. I noticed I was gasping for breaths but knew this feeling from childhood. Closing my eyes, telling myself to relax yet paying attention to the restriction in my esophagus I stood up as  straight as I could and raised my arms up to allow my rib cage to expand. I had the willpower and ability to get my mind and body to the finish line, I knew I could get myself through this if I could just relax. I am pretty sure I gave Ryan and the people standing next to him a little bit of a scare, but the next thought on my mind was, “How much time did I take to finish the race?!” I knew it was less than 3 hours, but boy was I excited and proud to find out I finished around 2:31 with an average mile time of 11:28…


Never did I expect to be able to finish in that group!

As I sit here this evening feeling sore but very proud of the run I accomplished today I am reminded of the day I had to call and cancel those races in 2017.When you start a journey with something holding you back, like an injury, it is hard to believe that you’ll ever make it to that finish line. However, time, training and a little faith in yourself will not just get you there, but help you succeed beyond your expectations.

I want to say a BIG Superhero THANK YOU to Malibu Half Marathon for hosting an amazing race and expo!! The booths were fantastic, and companies like Real Hydration and the Reme app (just to name a few of my favorites) made it even better! And a big thank you to Ryan for taking my pictures and being my sherpa and moral support on this journey…. and making sure I was fed and massaged and fully stocked with epsom salts for bath-time post race.

To see the InstaStory of my day go to GeekoutYourWorkout’s Instagram

To read about my Disneyland Be Well 5K 


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