We all have some sort of superpower don’t we? Something that we are really good at. My daughter Maiya has an amazing imagination, not just a typical 4 year old imagination, but a super fantastic, amazing imagination. One of my friend’s sons’ superpower is empathy, he feels really deeply for others. Well mine is stubbornness. Is this a good quality? Well, it worked out in my favor this past weekend…
If you follow me on any social media, you probably already know the results of my marathon. To say that I’m happy with the results would be a pretty big understatement! Given everything that has happened in the last couple of weeks, it is a serious miracle that the race went as well as it did. If you’re a skip to the end of the story kind of a person and you haven’t seen it on any of my other social media pages, I’ll give you the spoiler, I BQ’ed with a 3:42:54!!
Now for the back story … I posted last week about having had some sort of flu about 10 days out from the marathon. I was really happy when a week before the race I was basically back to myself. I still took it super easy the week before the race, doing less distance, and fewer runs than I had on my schedule. We were planning on leaving early on Friday morning to drive to Kelowna (about a 7 hr drive from Calgary). I woke up in the night on Thursday night/Friday morning and had a headache and was chilled… OH NOOOOO! I had no idea why or what I had or why it was coming back or if it was a new sickness but how frustrating.
There was nothing to do but take some medication, and push forward with our plans. We got on the road nice and early and were in Kelowna by early afternoon. I definitely wasn’t feeling 100%, my stomach felt a bit off, and after the first dose of Tylenol wore off, the fever started to return. I continued to medicate myself whenever I felt the chills returning, and felt ok as long as I kept the fever down. We went out for dinner on Friday night, and I felt fairly good, we had a good time, ate some good food and drank some nice wine at a winery (Summerhill in Kelowna).
Saturday was more of the same. Lori went and did a bit of a shakeout run, but I decided to pass since I could not see it doing any good at this point. I kept myself medicated, I even skipped a winery tour and tasting in favor of a nap. Tim made us a nice pasta dinner on Saturday night, and we watched a pretty terrible movie that was in the house we were staying in. I went to bed by 9pm and had a pretty good sleep. I didn’t have to get up until 5:30 PST, which felt like 6:30 to me, so didn’t feel early at all.
Sunday morning, I woke a few minutes before my alarm. I had purposefully taken both Advil and Asprin through the night so that I would hopefully wake up without a fever, and then be able to take Tylenol before the race. I did not want to race with Advil or Asprin because they can be dangerous and contribute to hyponatremia. This strategy seemed to work well, as I woke up feeling ok, and did not have any chills. Originally I had been planning on pacing for a sub 3:45 finish and a BQ. I had no idea how this illness was going to affect my race, but had decided to just go with the flow. I’d take Tylenol and then run fast as long as I could and see if I could push through.
My hubby was also running this weekend, but he was running the half which started a half hour later than the full. He drove Lori and I to the start. It was a super easy well organized start. We used the porta potties twice, with very short or no line-ups both times. About 5 minutes before race start we seeded ourselves just behind the 3:45 pace bunny.
So the big question is did we go out too fast? I initially thought so from my garmin splits, but the overall pace from the 10k timing mat is a tiny bit slower than my overall pace for the marathon, so I’m going to say we paced well in the first 10k. The first 10 km’s is a loop through an industrial type area, and then back along the water. The loop through the industrial park is definitely the least interesting part of the marathon. Once we got back along the lake, it was nice, especially during the first loop. We took our first gel at 8 km’s.
11-21 km’s (5:10, 5:09, 5:06, 5:11, 5:18, 5:12, 5:09, 5:10, 5:12, 5:13) Timing mat half split – 1:49:48 (5:12 pace)
I’m surprised that our overall pace is so much faster at the half marathon split. I’m a little dubious of the placement of the 10 k timing mat, I think some of the km markers during the first 10 were a bit off, so maybe it was also? I know people say that the first 20 miles of a marathon the pace should feel easy, but I’ve never felt it to be that easy, now you might be thinking that that is because I was running too fast here… yup that might be it here, but for the Calgary Marathon, we ran a negative split, and STILL those first km’s did not feel easy. This part of the race goes up along the water, then through some nice neighborhoods near the lake, and back to the park where we started. Nice route, super flat, very organized, with good water stations, and lots of volunteers on course. We took another gel at 16 km’s.
We slowed down on the second time around, this section was through the same industrial section again. I was happy with the pacing at this point, it was getting more challenging but was still totally doable. 3rd gel at 24 km’s. For hydration during the race, I had been carrying a small 6 oz handheld bottle, before each water station, I’d take the lid off, grab a cup, and dump it in. That way I could sip along the course whenever I wanted water. It worked great! I had some Nuun tablets with me, but never did use them. I just relied on the electrolytes in the gels, and that worked fine.
31-35 km’s (5:17, 5:19, 5:19, 5:23, 5:24) Timing mat 35 k split – 3:04:18 (5:16 pace)
Lori had battled a bit with some injury during this training cycle. She had worked through it and had been feeling great but then it had resurfaced this week. She was worried about how it would hold out through the race, but had decided to run with me for at least half, and at halfway she reevaluated and decided to stick with me until 32 km’s and see how it went. By 32 km’s it was bothering her enough that she decided to take care of herself and run/walk it in. I can’t believe she stuck with me for so long, and honestly am so thankful that she did. My slow down might have been the same regardless, but you can see my paces started to drop as soon as she wasn’t with me. It’s a much harder mental game to keep your legs moving at that pace without someone else there to help keep you moving along. I was also tired, and I know my flu or illness was taking my energy also. It was all that I could do at this point to keep moving at this pace. I just wanted to make sure that if I BQ’ed that I kept the nice grace that I had built up so that I would actually have a good chance of getting in. I took my last gel right after I left Lori at 32 km’s.
36-42.2 (42.4 on my garmin) (5:29, 5:17, 5:30, 5:21, 5:22, 5:26, 5:13, 4:45 pace) Finish time 3:42:54 (5:16 pace)
Again much like the first few km’s after Lori let me go, it took a lot of concentration to keep moving. I had started to feel a tiny bit light headed, so I didn’t want to push it too hard, passing out before I crossed the finish would make this whole effort a waste! I also wanted to get my BQ time! I kept pushing and running. There was a woman who was running around the same pace of me during the last few km’s and every time she slipped ahead, I just focused on not letting her go. I turned it into a competition between the two of us, and let her pull me towards the finish. We ran through the finish line right next to each other and actually high fived once we crossed! That last 5:13 pace km was totally all her doing. I was exhausted and did not have much left in me, but just kept fighting.
As soon as I crossed I just felt sick to my stomach, tired, exhausted, but also elated. I can still hardly believe that I was successful, there was so much working against me, that it’s hard to believe it all worked out. I’m also feeling very relieved that I can sit back and relax for a few weeks. I’ve now run 3 marathon’s in the last 12 months, and I’m feeling like I need a real recovery. I’m also excited to start training and planning for next year obviously, but I’m going to take some time and let my body heal after these tough training cycles. I want to get out on some trails, and just run for fun, and not worry about weekly totals, or long run distances.
Official Results: Overall: 83/368 (22.5 %) Chip Time: 3:42:54, Category 30-39F Place: 7/55 (12.7 %), Gen Place: 17/162 (10.5 %)
For the rest of the day on Sunday I felt pretty sick. I tried to eat a bit, tried to go for dinner, but my stomach completely rebelled on me and I could not keep any food down. I’m still battling a fever and some sort of flu here now that I’m home. Obviously running hard for almost 4 hours did not help my body fight off whatever it was battling, so now I’m paying that price. It’s completely worth it though, because I’m going to be running the Boston Marathon in 2016!! (assuming the cutoff’s are similar to what they have been… <<fingers crossed>>).
Side Note: We stayed at a beach house that’s owned by Quails Gate Winery. It was simply amazing. Each couple had a bedroom, we had a kitchen, living room, etc. It was less than 10 minutes to the start line, simply perfect. Especially since I was sick, I am very grateful that we had such a great place to stay, and Quails Gate were amazing hosts, with some truly amazing wine.