Monday, October 21, 2013

4th Marathon: Broke the downward spiral and finished happy

The sign in our hotel, BIG DREAMS BABY BIG DREAMS! 

I ran the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon for the second time yesterday.  The day started with a great night's sleep.  I actually went to bed early and fell asleep easily.  I wasn't nervous, I was more nervous for my half in May because I was putting so much pressure on myself to achieve a certain time.  Not this time, I was going in with a "run the best race you can attitude".  I'd run 3 marathons in the last year and half and knew for the most part what to expect.  I also didn't have any wine that night, did you hear that NO WINE, so I slept like a baby.  I was up early the morning of the race at 6 and had dressed in my gear and laid out all my stuff.  Then I only had 2.5 hrs to kill!  Lucky for me we were staying at the Hilton which literally was right next to my start corral.  I was able to enjoy breakfast and a double expresso in the Executive Lounge.  (I had cut back on caffeine the week prior to the race so I wouldn't experience withdrawal headaches in the race, can we say ADDICTED?)  Then the family and I hung out in the hotel room watching the corrals fill up, listening to the music from the street.  I was able to stay warm and pee 6 times in my own bathroom.  I left the room 15 min before the race started and got in my corral no problem.  You couldn't ask for a better set up.  

My plan for the race was to run at a 9:50-10:00 min/mile pace for the first 5km, and then 9:50 till the halfway mark, and if I could maybe hit a 9:40 min/mile the 2nd half.  I would take a gel every 40-45 min, and walk through each water station for water, and drink my nuun as I pleased from my fuel belt. 

The race started off great, I felt good.  I was very comfortable at my pace.  I think I did a good job of staying in my target.  I was enjoying the race, my music, the scenery.  I took my gels as planned.  I enjoyed the wee break of walking through the water station but found it difficult to get my pace back up when I started to run again.  I was only walking for 30 sec if that.  But it felt like it took me a min to get my pace back.  Maybe my garmin just took time.   The halfway mark in this race is interesting, the half marathoner's go to the right and the marathoner's to the right.  You go from running in a giant pack to feeling much much more isolated.  We ran under a blow up arch that had lost it's air, volunteers were holding it up.  It was quite comical.  I said allowed that it was a bad sign and we should all follow the half marathoners.  A couple people laughed.  This is where the Marathon part get's real.  This section of the course is in a more industrial like area, there are less people, you feel isolated.  There was even a sign that said "sketchy neighbourhood run faster!"  After the halfway point my pace slowed a bit, or would stay at the 9:50ish.  I wasn't able to get to that 9:40min/mile.  I was just slower, but I felt good.  I wasn't in pain.  But I was stiffer, hips tighter.  I didn't stress it, I knew I was having a good race, better then my slow injured one last year in pain.  I was in my happy place.  I eased off my Gels feeling full, and that seemed like a good decision.  My favourite part of this race is when you run through a neighboured of stores, that reminds me of Westboro here in Ottawa.  Great cheer crowds, lots to look at, store owners handing out oranges and bananas.  The orange slices were a welcome sight.  Coming out of this area I was almost almost at the 20 mile (32km) mark.  I had broken the race down into 5 mile parts...4x5miles and then 10km.  I did well with the first 20 miles/32km, the 3 32km training runs really did prepare me well for that.  I was doing well mentally and all though tired was feeling pretty good.  

Then the last 10km was a totally different story.  Let's just say that running a marathon is like giving birth and the last 10km is like the baby crowning! Even though I had slowed in the second half, I had fully intended to pick it up and kick it the last 10km.  Did not happen!  Instead I had intense pain from glute down to my foot build up.  The pain got so bad I had to stop and walk.  I panicked a bit thinking of Disney and the last 7 miles and thinking I was done in.  But luckily a quick little walk break  and the pain would ease.  Ease enough to run again but at a much slower pace.  The last 10km was my slowest!  I would run and then take a small walk break.  I kept waiting for the giant hill at the end of the course.  I haven't confirmed it but I think they changed the end of the course this year.  I remember running up one hill that seemed hard but it certainly wasn't the giant one I remembered and we still had like 8km or something to go so it couldn't be it.  I NEVER EVER walk a hill! I wanted to walk so bad. I ran hard on my right leg and pulled my left behind me.  When I got to the top I took a quick walk break.  The end of the course had this pain in the ass loop.  I think that's what changed.  Mentally it did me in.  It was just like the greenbelt loop that I hate at the end of my runs on woodroffe.  I was running down it with runners coming back beside me. Oh man I wanted to just stop turn and join them.  In fact at that point I wanted to quit.  But then I remembered I forgot to pack my visa in my belt and I wouldn't be able to get a cab and I had to finish the damn race! I really thought of taking a cab back! No joke. Once I did the turn around I felt better, I knew I was getting close to the end.  I told myself no more walking just get this over with. 

As much as the last 10km suck, its a time of inspiration.  You go from running next to all these strong looking people, to watching people break down around you.  People limping but not stopping, people in pain and not quitting.  It's incredible the sheer determination.  

2km to go and I started a chant in my head, Kayleigh, Kasey, Kayleigh, Kasey....I kept saying my girls names over and over and praying I would see them at the finish line.  In all my races, I have never actually seen my girls at the finish line.  As I came into the 500 meters to go area, I started frantically scanning the crowd for my family.  I was praying so hard that they were there and I would see them.  200 meters from the finish line I SAW THEM!!! Kasey on Ryan's shoulder's and Kay's little face, waving at me! I waved back, my hand to heart, blowing kisses and crying so hard.  I ran as hard as I could to finish line.  I crossed and when I stopped I broke down in body shaking tears.  A dude tried to high five me and I couldn't lift my hand.  I just cried.  I was so happy!! I'm crying now writing this.  My first race, my best race, I ran with their sweet little voices on my ipod telling me GO MOMMY! Yesterday they were there in real life yelling go Mommy.  On my last 32km training run, I was having trouble with knee pain and called Ryan to tell him I was almost home and to have the girls outside.  Knowing they were waiting for me, I made it home.  Yesterday, I knew they were there and I kept going to get to them.  I saw the CN Tower and knew that they were close, just had to keep going.  

Happiest hug ever!

My girls :) 

I finished my 4th Marathon in a year and half, in my second fastest time of 4:29:24.  I didn't get the PR I had hoped for, but I am proud of my time and that I broke my marathon downward spiral.  

As we made the 5+ hour trip home after the race, I was blessed with amazing words of congratulations from my friends online.  I'm feeling sore and blessed today. Very very blessed (and sore lol). 


  1. Well done!!! you are a rock star!

  2. Regardless of your time you did awesome. Each one teaches us something. What did you learn this time?

    Have you ever tried potatoes instead of gu's for nutrition?

    1. I learned that not putting pressure on myself makes for a much more pleasant experience :) Potatoes eh? how do you pack those? I use Honey Stingers, the GU makes my tummy upset.

  3. These posts are always my fave girl! I love reading what was going thru your mind .. teared up reading how you felt when seeing your girls! Little friggers sure know how to make a mama push thru ... so happy your spiral is facing up and so proud of your accomplishment. In the military we say BRAVO ZULU for a job well done .. BZ my fartknocker!


  4. way to go! I guess having the kids with you ended up being a blessing in the end. Good job woman!