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”
Today was exciting for me for 2 reasons: 1) Bestest dude was running this morning and 2) IT WAS FLAT!!! After yesterdays stage and prolonged sickness (I found out a few others also struggled with this), I ended up sleeping like the dead last night. I literally woke up in the same position I fell asleep in. Although I am told I was tossing and turning alot. I can tell you I was solidly asleep this morning, and not wanting to get out of bed. Fingers crossed tonight is equally as restful. It seemed like the morning whizzed by and I felt a little disorganized. We headed out to the finish area to catch a shuttle to the start line.
This course is a point to point course, and covers some of the same ground as the 15k time trial. I was a little worried because my start time was a little later in the group and I knew that there were faster runners ahead of me. I decided to just run what I could and not focus too much on my time. The course was pretty much flat. slight inclines and declines here and there but they cancelled each other out. Bestest dude started about 20 min earlier then me, so I knew I wouldn’t see him during the race. I didn’t really see anyone during the race! I could just make out the person ahead of me, waaaay int he distance but ran this mostly on my own. I looked at my first 2km to make sure I wasn’t going out too fast, then ran on feel. Mentally this stage was such a change from the past few. I was counting down each km marker, and there were no war cries. During the last few stages on a couple of the big hills I was letting out a large war cry. More to motivate myself then anything. This course was just about getting it done. The sun came out for the last 5k and began beating down which made it tougher. The last 2km is a straight away towards Conestogo and for some reason km #9 felt soooooo long. As I headed towards the distance I saw Bestest Dude to my right, and my brain was starting to quit. I think he could see that because he started running with me the last 500m. Yelling at me, motivating me to push. I am super glad he did because that last push kept me under 49 mins at 48:41. Then I could not stop sweating! The humidity was unbelievable today. UGH.
You can see from the post pics how hot and sweaty we are! I haven’t run a 48 min 10k since 2011, so I am really pleased with my result! Although, I was essentially schooled by other ultimate females who started ahead of me! The two girls below me in the standings ran 46mins!!! Thats crazy fast, and I am super stoked for them! I’m starting to think that there may be something to this trail running for me. It seems to have been my best 2 stages. I have always known that I don’t possess speed. I have quads that are built for hard work and hills, they have always been my strength.
As for my Bestest Dude?!? He managed a 47:17. Which is really remarkable for him, and I am super proud. Most people don’t know but he has had to changed his gait 2 times in the past 3 years. This is something incredibly hard to do, and takes months of work. He also runs with a severed ACL (one of the reasons for the gait change). He truly is my rock and I am grateful he was there today!
Soooooo….deep breath……tomorrow is the marathon. I seriously have no idea how these legs are going to carry me for 42.2km. To make it even more difficult, the expected temperature is 30 degrees, full sun, and limited shade course. To say I am worried is understating. I have actually experienced heat stroke once before (I passed out in a race 200m from the finish line). This makes me more susceptible to heat stroke in hot temps. I am strategizing a heat plan, loaded with some coolers filled with ice, and extra hydration bottles for my belt. My parents are planning on being there, as is Bestest dude. He actually told me in the car today that he would run the last little bit with me. He won’t tell me where he’s going to start with me though. My hope is to at the very minimum run for 30k. I anticipate given the heat I will need to walk at some points during the race. I would like to finish with a 6:00/km pace, but I am speculating I may be slower then this. As long as I don’t cross the 4hr 30min mark, I will be pleased.
So big deep breath, Doritos, Nuun, and epsom bath this afternoon. Hopefully tomorrow I will be blogging about my official status as “One Tough Runner”. Catch you all on the other side of 42km.
Well it appears I have been slacking. Unfortunately I got into a slump. I managed to finish out 2014 with a fantastic half marathon time and then I slipped into the vortex. It has been difficult with varying medical stuff to maintain consistency in my running the late half of 2014, but I am back on track with a vengeance. I have decided to commit and revamp my blog for 2015. I actually contemplated letting it go, but I remember when I was leading up to my first marathon how cathartic it was for me, and let me tell you, I have BIG running plans for 2015.
I feel like 2014 was a lull for me and I wasn’t really attempting to reach any large goals. It felt like I was aimlessly wandering through the running world and my training reflected that. I managed the same times, I ran the same races, and basically I developed a form of runner’s burnout I think. So this year I have taken a new path. My major events include 2 marathons and a 160km 8 day event. My goal is to maintain the blog, and maybe add some features to it.
I have decided that in 2015 I want to become the best person I can possibly be. I have felt that given some of my life circumstance I am at a crossroads, and its time to either go left or right. I look forward to what this year brings, and I look forward to pushing my limits.
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
Betcha I got your attention with that headline 😉 Most of you that are runners will understand what this means, running without any technology or means of timing yourself. This, I have realized, is the (only) beauty of tapering! It is 5 days until my first marathon and I don’t really care how fast I can pound out a 5km run on the pavement. Its all about easy running, and keepin loose. I have put in the mileage, and have to trust in my body. I figure if I have to be stuck with tapering for the week, at least I can look for the silver linings. My dog however, did not find my leisurely 5km run amusing. He is much happier running at a quicker pace and at times rebelled by stopping to sniff a fire hydrant or two.
So my lesson learned this week (in the world of a first time marathon runner), TAPERING SUCKS!!!! You hear from folks that tapering sucks, but as with most things (my husband will tell you EVERYTHING) in my life I had to experience it for myself. Now I have a disclaimer at this point. I have been injured frequently for the past 6 weeks or so and my mileage has been significantly lower than expected. This foolishly led me to believe that I would be untouched by the “tapering crazies”. No so, so so so very much not so. I liken it to having 3 too many cups of coffee in one day. I feel like I am always jacked up on caffeine even though I haven’t drank any! Fidgety, restless, anxious, thoughts running quickly, and lack of focus. I have attributed this to my anxiousness of the race, and my inability to run in order to burn off this anxiousness. Can someone tell me does this get better with the more marathons you do?!?!? I am continually checking the website for details I may have missed, focused on being alone at the start line (only my second time ever without my husband there), and contemplating buying a running raincoat (I already have one). If anyone has a suggestion to get me through to Sunday, please fire away!
For now I have decided that today is my last run, Friday will bring a neighbourhood walk, and then relax till sunday morning! I can’t believe how close it actually is. It has taken several years to get to this point, and I have been supported by a wonderful group of family, friends, and one fabulously remarkable husband. I only hope I can do them all proud. I may or may not post before the race but if I don’t wish me luck and see you at the other end of the finishing line!
As a person with ADHD, I am HORRIBLE at setting limits. I generally oscillate from one extreme to another, or become overwhelmed and just shut down (this has been known to happen upon injury). I mention this because this weekend is the annual Oktoberfest race here in town. A couple of my family members, including my husband, run the event. I am registered for this race to do a 10km, and it is approximately 1 week before my marathon. Back to the theme of setting limits. I SHOULD run at least 10km on Sunday, but I SHOULD NOT run it at a 4:45min/km pace. Knowing myself and my ability to set limits, I have tentatively decided not to do the race. Its been a long journey through injury, and various other mental blocks to actually “feel” ready to run my first marathon, and I don’t want to risk that. The race bib however is leering at me from my livingroom because of course I picked up the race kits yesterday.
What I should have done, I realize now in hindsight, is volunteer for the race. This way I feel like I am contributing, but have no option to run. Part of my dilemna is that I missed the event last year due to a broken ankle, and then subsequently the Niagara Falls Half Marathon. The race has some sentimental value as it was the second race I ever ran and my very first age group medal waaaaaaaaayyyyy back when I was actually somewhat fast. Additionally, there is oktoberfest sausages at the finish line, what more can you ask for? (except maybe beer). Despite being able to have a sausage even if you don’t run the race, I feel like I didn’t “earn” it, a sausage earned is a different experience. It appears that my love/hate relationship with this event continues. In the past 4 years I have only run it twice (one year my IT band went). The final piece is that my husband is really struggling with the mental space of running lately, and I really want to run it with him to support him. Problem here is that he definitely does not run at a 6min/km pace, which is what an easy run would have to look like.
AHHHHHH, can you sense my confusion?!?!?!? Can anyone give me the answer?
I managed to get a leisurely 5km run in yesterday (felt better this week), and today is gardening and housework. I may get up and run before the race tomorrow, then I have no choice but NOT to run. I find that tapering is more tough mentally than anything. I am filling up my time with various activities. Best one yet is the pre-race mani/pedi I have booked next Friday with my best girlfriends. Oh oh, and I actually had some pasta this week. Then afterwards I experienced what I call being “pasta drunk”. Very sleepy, slurring my words…..
Only 8 days left. Very excited, but oh so nervous. I just have to remember that I have put in the miles and training. Just another training run….I am the tortoise not the hare.