There are so many aspects to this event that I can’t write it all in one blog entry so this race review will be divided into Parts. This is Part 1.
Let’s start with the Plan. The day before my event several friends wished me luck and all my veteran Marathon friends told me to Stick With Your Plan. Huh? I am supposed to have a plan? It was the day before my marathon and I just found out that I need a plan..?
After thinking about it I realized that I did have a plan. I had experimented with fuel / hydration for several months and I found out what worked and what didn’t work. Vega Sport products are a valuable part of my running program now. The Pre Workout Energizer is Magic and I have not had a bad long run since I started using it. Two Swedish Berries (candy) with a swig of Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrator every 45 minutes keeps me going. I carry water and refilled my bottles at the water stations. This part of the Plan was bang on and it worked for me, though I came close to running out of Swedish berries.
Based on my training runs I expected to finish in 5 hours and 15 minutes. 7:15 is a comfortable pace for me and I knew I could hold that pace for a long time. It was a good plan, but I didn’t exactly follow it. I was running this race with a friend. We agreed before the race that we were not going to run together.. we were going to run our own races. But…we ended up running the first 21k together. It just kind of happened. We did some training runs together and our paces are similar and during this run we simply ended up running side by side. Our pace was faster than I planned but it felt good. The first 21k felt easy but I realized that I was a whopping 7 minutes ahead of schedule. I knew that I needed to slow down so I let Rhonda go on ahead while I lagged behind. The last few kilometers had been uphill AND windy and I was just beginning to feel fatigued.
Kilometers 22-24 were done at a slower pace. I was relatively alone on the Confederation Trail and my mind began to wander. And then I started to cry. My marathon training journey has been emotional as I have been using my long runs as an source of therapy to help me deal with grief, so I wasn’t surprised at the tears. I struggled to maintain my composure because my breathing was laboured and I knew that this could be disaster for me. Luckily I was able to pull it together, gave myself a stern lecture and told myself that I didn’t train this hard to “lose it” in the middle of the run and gave myself permission to “let it all out” at the end of the race. I figuratively pulled my socks up and got on with the run.
At around the 25th kilometer I was surprised to overtake Rhonda. She was struggling and I had just recovered my strength. We ran together for a couple of kilometers then she wished me luck as I went on ahead. We never saw each other again until the finish line. The last several kilometers are a blur. I remember running along the Confederation Trail with another lady who was struggling. I remember walking for a long time when I got to the cemetery, at around 34km. I remember taking a selfie with a Storm Trooper. I remember the roller coaster hills at around 37-38 km. . I knew I couldn’t run UP so I decided to run on the DOWN slopes and walk on the UP slopes. At this point I was feeling okay but didn’t feel strong enough to run up those hills.
With one kilometer to go I saw one of my run club friends. We screamed, we hugged and then she ran the final kilometer with me. Afterwards she said that I looked “fresh as a daisy” but I am sure she was lying. What a feeling to see that Finish Line. And yes, I did allow myself to have a good cry after crossing that line.
When I started training I had 5 hours in mind as a goal but then my training was sidelined by my mother’s illness and death so I changed my goal a few weeks prior to the race. This was my first Marathon and I decided that I just wanted to finish it, and finish it Strong. My goal time was readjusted to 5:15 but I but I would have been okay with a slower time. I beat the goal time by 3 minutes and I felt great so I call this one a huge success.
Summary: Fuel strategy was bang on and I don’t plan to ever change a thing. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? Pace Strategy was way off, the first Half was 19 minutes faster than my second Half but I still managed to reach my target. Or maybe my target was just a good guestimate?
To be continued……