Disclaimer: Please don't read this unless you are REALLY interested in running and love to get your geek on by reading people's race reports.
This was my 5th marathon but my 1st in 3 years so I was very nervous about race day. I also had a lot of self-induced pressure built up but was trying to hide it from everyone..
The night before I spent around 2 hours outside on my bike watching my students finish the 10K. Not the smartest thing to do before a marathon.. But my kids are worth it.. Especially when one of the teams came in 1st with a time of 36 minutes!! They truly inspire me.
I got home, ate pasta, drank some Neocitron b/c I was scared that I'd get the sniffles and chills, went to bed.
Sunday, May 13th. Mother's Day, the perfect day for a marathon. Morning temperature was 6C so I started out in a sweatshirt and shorts. Packed 2 gels, red gatorade, and 2 advil. Good to go.
I couldn't find my running buddies so I started out solo. I decided not to wear my Garmin and simply wear my watch and pace band. I had 2 goals: 1 was a personal best time. 2nd was to qualify for Boston. I knew it would be tough but I knew I could come close..
I started off at a 3:35 pace and felt strong for the 1st 10K. The 2nd 10K was also good because I was running through my neighbourhood and saw some familiar faces and my spirits were lifted. At the half mark, I felt great and I smiled to myself as I completed my personal best half-marathon time. As I was entering the industrial part of the course, I decided to put on my iPod and let music carry me a bit. At the 25K, I was still on course for a 3:35 but I knew I would be slowing down shortly. I drank gatorade with a bit of water the entire time and I felt great. I usually suffer from a bit of stomach trouble (especially with gels) so I was really happy.
30K was when the pain started.. My legs were getting tighter and tighter and everytime I went up a little hill, my calves screamed.. At this point, I swallowed the 2 advil in the hopes that it would dull the pain a bit. 32K - would I hit the wall? Almost.. I was starting to slow but noticed that whenever I took gatorade, I felt some energy so I kept taking in more calories and trying to keep up the pace but it got more and more painful. Every kilometre marker I was slowing down bit by bit. Words I kept repeating to myself were, "Turnover..turnover". I will 'willing' my legs to move forward. Many times I actually closed my eyes and tried to block the pain. At about 35K, I think the advil worked so I was able to speed up a bit and take advantage of some of the declines. This didn't last long because at 36K, I thought to myself, "I can't believe I have 6K left.." I felt like walking because my legs were so stiff. 30 minutes left.. could I do it?
The last 5K was probably the most excrutiating pain I've ever felt in my life. I was grimacing as I heard people shout my name in encouragement. I'm sure I heard some of my kids cheering, but I didn't even acknowledge anyone because I had complete tunnel vision and didn't even have the energy to look their way.
40K was the last time I looked down at my watch, and it said I had around 11 minutes left. I was in agony but I kept thinking to myself that if I didn't push, then I would regret it later.. So I pushed and pushed. My head was tilted backward at an unnatural angle because I hadn't the strength to keep it up.. I saw the 42K mark so there was 200 metres left. I started to sprint, but then I realized that I was already going as fast as I could. My legs were in agony and I just ran for my life. I passed the finish line as I saw the time: 3:43. I stopped my watch and just hurt.. I couldn't even walk straight. Someone caught me, wrapped a mylar blanket around me and made sure I was conscious of myself. My husband and friends were happy that I finished but they were kind of quiet because they didn't know if I qualified or if I missed the mark by 1 minute..
Aching pain, sharp stabs in my shoulders and calves.. Just walk.. just walk.. recover.. drink..
I looked down at my watch: 3:40:55.. FOR REAL???
Tak checked my official time and it was 3:40:52. YES!! I qualified with 8 seconds to spare! I was ecstatically jubilant and hugged my friends. Truthfully, I was simply more relieved that I wouldn't have to run another marathon this year.. YES! I DID IT! Something that I thought was so unattainable became a reality on Sunday, May 13th.
All the training paid off. All those early morning workouts and those -30C windchill winter runs. I was pretty much sick and tired of figuring out my tempo/lactate/threshold/MVO2 pace for a specific workout..
But was it worth all the training and pain? Absolutely.
All I can say is, "SWEET!" I am a happy girl. Boston, here I come.