Sorry that it has taken me a couple days to do this final stage review. I think my brain and body needed a couple days to transition out of ENDURrun mode, and I completely did. It has not just been a part of my life for 8 days, but for 3 months as I have trained my body to handle the mileage.
On Sunday I woke up extremely nervous. There was a heat advisory for the day and I knew that it woul be 30+ degrees out. As I said before I am not a heat runner, and have actually experienced heat stroke. My saving grace was that I had developed a “cooling plan”. I had purchased 2 extra nathan hydration bottles for just this occasion. I stocked a cooler with the second set of bottles, two washcloths soaking in ice water, 2 bottle of water, and some gels. All of this was put on ice and my plan was to switch out at the 21km mark. This marathon course was a 2 loop course that ran through Conestogo and Waterloo. I had an AMAZING support team there including my parents, my bestest girls, and my bestest dude. My bestest dude had very last minute agreed to run the last bit of the course with me knwoing it would be tough slugging in the heat. He wouldn’t tell me where he was going to start, just that he would “show up” on the course.
I knew that I wanted to run this race conservatively not only because I had already run over 100km that week but because of the heat. My goal was to stay at 6:00/km. I ended up really loving this course. I felt that the rolling hills were managable, and the views were gorgeous! In my first lap the weather had not gotten too hot as of yet and I felt that I was use to the temperature from my recent long runs. I knew that I had completed a 37km run on a scorcher at the cottage, and felt that I should be able to pull through. It was towards the end of the first loop that the sun started to really shine. This course has essentially no shade, so I also decided (with much urging from bestest dude) to wear my hat. I came through the first loop feeling really strong. It appeared that the most difficult part for me was going downhill because this is when my quads would scream at me. I managed to come in 21k at 2hrs bang on and was running a 5:40/km pace. The cooler at the halfway point worked beautifully! My mom was there to switch things out and spray me down with sunscreen. I took off again with fresh hydration bottle filled with lemon tea nuun. I continued to run up the rolling hills and was determined not to walk till at least 30k and a water station around there. I broke at 27km. The sun was getting really hot and I had just run up a gradual incline. Until this point I had not stopped for any of the water stations. From this point on I walked at each water station to make sure I dumped cold water over my body to cool down. I did however make a very concerted effort to run all the km’s between water stations and actually did so remarkably well. There was a reason I did so well though, it was because of my husband. He was AMAZING! I could see his red running shorts at the 32km mark. It was perfect timing because the heat was getting to me and my mind was playing tricks. He had ran from the finish line out towards me and had plotted out the route and where I could get shade. My dad also showed up shortly after 32k. He had a cooler filled with ice, nuun, and cold towels. My husband sprinted up to my dad and put ice in my hydration bottles to cool them down. He then grabbed the towel and sprinted to catch up with me. As I was running he was wiping me down with the towel, and carried my hydration bottle for the next few km’s. Dad and husband for the win!!!! Because my husbands legs were a little more fresh he was able to push me to run some 5:30-5:40/km’s in between the water stations. We did walk up the looooong gradual hill on Bridge, and most of the other runners were too. God love the woman handing out ice mid-way through that hill. I put a bunch in my mouth, and then stuff large pieces down my sports bra. Surprisingly this had a really good cooling effect! I highly recommend it on hot days. The next few km’s were not too eventful just lots of hot and tired running. My husband would push me to run to certain markers and water stations. Dad for the win again at 39km with ice and water (fyi my mom packed the travel coolers, and drove all over Guelph to find my vega gels)! More ice into the sports bra as this point it was really really getting hot. We turned the corner onto Northfield and I knew, I knew I was going to finish. There is something remarkable that you experience in the moment you recognize that your body has done for you what you once thought impossible. You get a surge to push through and finish. Bestest dude unfortunately was done. He had run over 20km (12 to get to me, and 8 with me) all the while sprinting back and forth. Through much encouragement (I didn’t want to leave him) he pushed me to run as hard as I could to the finish. He told me to “go get my time”. I managed to push through a 5:15 last km and come in at 4:05:33. A personal best for my marathon. Go figure. I never could have done it without my family, friends, and most importantly him. He has patiently sat by while I have dedicated myself the past three months to train for this event, and he has encouraged me the whole way. He is the most selfless person I know.
After the finish ❤
The organizers pressed shirts with our finishing times and presented them too us! WHO DOES THAT?!?!? Really the RunWaterloo crew are just above and beyond amazing!
This was a gift from my bestest girls for my charm necklace. My parents also gave me a Keg gift certificate to fill up on protein!!! YUM!!!!
It has been a really amazing journey the past week, and I find myself sad that it’s ended. I felt as if I could just keep getting up everyday and head out for a run. There were times that my body was willing me to stop (after Chicopee), times where it wanted me to go faster (half marathon), and times where it was willing me to run (rest day). It never let me down, and in fact I exceeded all expectation in completing this event. I remember the first year we ran the half and I told my husband that I wanted to one day do the whole thing. He thought I was crazy and told me so. Well 4 years later here I am an ENDURrun finisher. I pushed myself to the limit and found that I was most definitely not broken.
I haven’t decided if I will do the event next year, but I will most definitely guest run. I don’t know what the next year will bring but if I feel healthy enough and it fits I would most definitely do it again. I highly recommend the event and the experience, it was like no other in the world. At this point I am not too sure what can top this running experience. I am also floating around running “goalless” for the first time in a long while. I have a half marathon in September, then a number of small 10k runs. I am contemplating the Run For the Toad 50k in October since I seemed to do well on the trail running. It is also possible I feel to run a 4hr marathon this fall given my fitness levels right now. Whatever it is I will always remember to enjoy the journey, and enjoy the run.
Oh, and I finally got my beer, and it was “as big as my head”