It was the best of times…it was the worst of times….
That picture pretty much sums up my feelings on finishing my first marathon today. For those that know me, I rarely cry (unless it is with my husband). The emotion that overwhelmed me in crossing that finish line was remarkable and I couldn’t hold back the emotion. It has been a long journey to that first marathon. Not just simply because of the many hurts that plagued me in training. This marathon was in honour for all those hopeless teens who never made it through highschool, that felt they were less than, that struggled with issues that seemed overwhelming…because that is who I was. A teenager who never finished highschool, and ran away from everything. Feelings, friends, family, just life in general. I even ran away across country. I have learned to harness that compulsion to run, in the most literally sense of the word. And emotionally I have stopped running. Don’t get me wrong sometimes it can definitely be hard to let people in, but I try. I let an amazing man in and he became my husband. I let my family in and they became my biggest support. I let an amazing group of friends in who have stuck with me through thick and thin. That was clearly evident in the two car loads that came to see Jeff and I run today.
I am truly blessed. I couldn’t ask for a better support system ❤
Now to the race recap. It was not easy. OHHHHHHH BOY! Despite how flat, and beautiful the route was I really struggled. You know how they tell you not to do anything new on race day? Yup clearly I didn’t take that advice. I decided that I was going to not pay attention to my pace. I would check my garmin ONLY when I wanted to check for gel consumption. I was going to run according to how my body felt. BAD BAD BAD mistake. I went out waaaaaaaaaaay too fast. For the first 21km of the race I clocked 1 hour 57 mins. That is DEFINITELY not consistent with a 6min/km pace. I basically followed the 4hr pace bunny. Second mistake- I had run with my bib belt at the Laurier Loop, butI didn’t have any gels in it because it was a 10km run. I slid 5 gels into my belt the night before, and when I started I still had 5 gels slotted in. At the 8km mark (my practice gel consumption spot) I went to grab my gel and found that I only had 3. 2 gels had fallen out somewhere on the course. For those that run you will know that this is a pretty big deal, especially because my digestive system does not react well to gatorade. The course sports drink was cytomax, and I was concerned that I would have the same reaction. I had to strategically plan out my 3 meagre gels. I ended up taking one at the 10km mark, one at the 22km mark, and one at the 32km mark. This was not good. At about the 36km mark my times per km took a nose dive. I ran one km @ 6:39. My mental space also took a nose dive and I seriously reconsidered my decision. Once I got to km 40, like my friend Wendy said, the crowd started carrying me. Then massive leg cramp. My left calf gave a ripple then seized. I have never ever had a muscle seize, but then again I have never run 42km. I had to walk for 30 seconds to work the cramp out, but man I never want to feel that again! Finally the 41km mark, I tried to push for 4:05 and managed a 5:52 last km, but I ran out of steam. Finished in 4:06:48. I have to cut myself slack here, I was aiming for a 4:12 finish at the 6min/km pace. So basically I finished 5 mins faster. Overall I am extremely proud of myself.
BUT….Perhaps the biggest lesson I learned today, was how remarkable my husband is. I always knew that he was remarkable but sometimes I think you get complacent after being married for several years. You take for granted all the things that make the the individual who they are. My first frantic thought when I crossed that finish line was “where is Jeff?”. It was so monumentally important to share that moment with him. He had run the half marathon, and let me tell you it wasn’t easy for him. When I came back to running after injury several years ago, Jeff started running as well. Every painful step of the way, he ran with me. Through practice run after practice run. Despite being kick-ass on race day and finishing well before me. We both got injured last year at the same time, me a broken ankle and him knee pain. Turns out he had to change his entire gait, and this has not been easy. It has led to slower times as he adjusts to the change. He has persevered through it all. I look up to him so much. What my husband doesn’t understand is that he is the person I strive to be, and he is my rock. He is finally getting back to quicker times. He ran 1:50 today for his half (severly impressed here). Despite running his own race, he was sure to be there at the finish. He was the first person I saw, and I very well might have sobbed (I will deny that if you mention it again) in his shoulder. He very gently wrapped the finishing jacket around me to ensure that I was warm, he unlaced my shoes so my feet wouldn’t hurt, he carried my bag because my shoulders were sore, and all this so selflessly after running 21km. That is the very definition of who my husband is, he always selflessly gives of himself to others, he is a remarkable man and I am very fortunate to have him in my life.
Overall, I am a fortunate individual. The run was tough, but the friends and family made it much easier throught he last few km’s. Time to take some rest days, but not too many as I have an 8km race on Saturday. Then it is time for some solid rest because the next race isn’t till February! Of course that doesn’t mean I stop running, winter is fast approaching so its time for some snowstorm runs!!! Woot Woot! I love running in the snow 🙂
Happy trails folks, I am officially signing off as a marathoner!
p.s… please check out my friend Colin’s photography webpage. The first picture is taken by him. He is completely amazing at what he does! http://www.colinyardley.ca
Posted on October 28, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged 1st marathon, Emotion, Gel, hopeless, Husband, Jeff, Marathon, Niagara Falls marathon, remarkable, Running, Sports drink, teen, teenager, Woot. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.