Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Marathon Recap - The Good

On Sunday morning I was up and ready to rock at 5:30am. I had been thinking about this day and this race for months. I was so ready. I wanted to run.

I lined up at the start line feeling strong and loving life. The gun went off at 8:30am. Albeit in an anti-climatic fashion because the elites were in the first corral, so the rest of us were just left milling around in the rain, in a giant line, waiting for our start time.

Once the race actually started for me though, probably 10-15 minutes later, it was exciting. All I could think was "This is it! This is what you have been waiting for. You are running a Marathon today. You are running a Marathon right now"

I was buzzing along through the neighbourhoods of Toronto just generally feeling like a rock star. I was running strong and feeling so good. I was loving the crowd, the energy, and the excitement. And I was comfortably keeping ahead of the 4:30 hour marathon bunny. I was having the time of my life.

yay that guy thinks I am a werido
My lovely and always amazing friends Morgan, Robyn, Brad, and Sam were waiting for me at the Princess Gates (aka 9km) with signs in hand. I was so happy to see them.

I was feeling great! And seeing these girls gave me an extra boost of energy, as I kept plugging along to the first turning point. There were bands, dance troops, cheerleaders, and a ton of volunteers keeping us hydrated and up beat along the way. I felt like I could run all day long.

We turned around and heading back toward the downtown core. And there were my lovely girls again, this time at kilometer 17. There were highfives and cheers as I powered on ahead.

Just a few more kilometers down the road, and this is where things got really real. Half marathoners to the left, and Marathoners to the right. I past under the Marathon chute and said to the guy next to me "guess we are really doing this, eh?". "Yes, we sure are" he replied as we plugged along past the half way point.

I took a moment to reflect at kilometer 22, because that is the farthest I have ever raced. I was feeling proud and excited for all that was to come as ran past that distance marker.

Things started the get a little lonely after about kilometer 25. The pack had really spread out. And the spectators were few and far between for the next few kilometers. The seriousness of running this type of distance began to set in. My legs were feeling tight, but I was still on point. I was happily running at the 4:35
pace, and generally feeling happy and well hydrated.

Things began to change dramatically around kilometer 33. My knees were aching. My chest and my back started spazzaming. I could feel the bruises forming around my ankles, and the blisters taking shape on my feet. My legs were on fire and screaming at me to stop. Oh and I wanted to. I wanted to stop so badly.

Tears were streaming down my face on and off for the last 9 km of the race, as I willed myself to keep running. My pace was getting slower and slower as my legs locked up tighter and tighter. I sadly watched the 4:55 pace bunny and his crew pass me at kilometer 35.

And then like little marathon angels, my rubber boot clad cheering section appeared beside me. "I am dying" I cried. "I don't think I can do this".

"YES YOU CAN!!" they said.

"Think about the finish line. Think about dinner and wine. Think about how far you have come. Just keep going". They kept chanting their positivity at me as I cried and kept shuffling for 4 kilometers.

At kilometer 39 they left me to carry on to finish this beast of race by myself. I could see the downtown and I wanted this race to be over.

I saw my family cheering section at kilometer 41 and I could not even muster a proper smile at this point. I wanted to see the finish line and sit down.

I dragged my sad, tired, sore booty across the finish line with an official chip time of 5:20:03. (yep, that is almost a full hour longer than my ideal goal time of 4:30) I then promptly found a patch of sidewalk to sit down on and sobbed.

So, the Good...Where is the good in all of this blood, sweat, and tears?

The fact of the matter is I said I would run a Marathon this year and I did. I said genetics, a few measly surgeries, a shiny robot heart, and several setbacks would not hold me back from achieving this goal - and they did not.

I can say with all honesty that running a Marathon is probably one of the hardest things I have ever done in my entire life. But even with my less than ideal time, I can still say that I did it. I am a marathoner. A slow marathoner, but a marathoner.

It wasn't easy, but I did it.

Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,