Waterloo Marathon

I am still living in a little disbelief that I actually ran and finished a marathon!

I had such anxiety going into race morning, I thought I was going to have a break down.  The thing that differed in this race over the others that I have run, is that I had, up unto that point, never ran more than 35km.  So this was a huge unknown for me, and that is very scary!

By Saturday, afternoon, I had finished all my scheduled runs, not perfectly, but my training was over, so there was nothing left for me to do but lay out my gear and wait for morning.

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We ended up deciding that it would be best, and easiest if our kids had a sleepover with nana an papa, which meant Josh and I could sneak in a date night! So we went out for a late dinner and I got my favourite pre race meal. Spaghetti and meatballs!

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Morning clearly came way to quick.  I don’t think I slept very much at all, which I was totally expecting.  Thankfully it was a local race, so I only had to wake up at 6am.  I was able to pick up my race pack the same morning too, it was underwhelming, t-shirt, a pocket sized first aid kit, and magazine.

I was able to stretch and use the bathroom multiple times before we had to get to the start line.  I was happy to have had a warm building to wait in, and not freeze outside. It was also nice to connect with a couple local runners, who shared some first time marathon anxieties with me! Like do I run in my jacket or wear running sleeves instead. ( in case you were wondering, I wore the jacket)

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(seriously I was captain of the hot mess express, mornings are not my friend)

Race start was 8am, and after a quick speech, we were off! My plan was to focus on the first 5km, which are still tricky for me, it takes my legs and brain that long (or short) to get into a rhythm. During the stretch, I had caught up, and passed, and then was passed by the same girl a couple times, until we fell into a mutual rhythm.  I never run with other people, unless of course its during a race, so this was new to me, and actually really nice! We ended up running the first half together.  We were at about 10km mark, when we actually spoke to each other, and had both had the goal of just finishing.  She was happy with the pace we were running so we just kept on.  ( note I never asked her name, or looked at her bib, such a fail on my part! sorry runner friend) At about 17km mark, my toes went numb, but I felt like I had a sticker in my shoe, when you have two small children this is always a possibility) so I had to stop and check. Hind sight, amateur mistake, and I would have saved some time had I had not stopped.

I felt good up until 22km, I was taking my Gu’s every 8km or so, and hydrating at most stations.  The downfall to my race nutrition, is that I train with, and only drink NUUN, the course did not have that option, and I didn’t run with my own water, again, I probably should have considered doing so.  So I was facing some rough GI moments, not enough to stop, but the pain was there. This was also the point at which my runner partner dropped back, and I was pretty much alone on the course.

Mentally this was tough, I was unsure where I was in regards to placement, how many were a head, how many behind, it was lonely.  But I kept pushing. I had a rough idea of the course, and knew what landmarks to look for, so I was waiting and waiting for the infamous “Kissing Bridge”.  It was a good feeling when I got there.

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It’s hard for me to remember exactly what I felt, and when I was feeling it.  But for sure around 30km, I was feeling like I was crazy for even trying this, and how would I be able to finish.  But I kept telling myself, just get to 32km, and then its an easy 10km to the finish.  I had most defiantly hit my wall, and was digging so deep mentally.  It really took everything in me to keep going.

There was basically no fan support on the route, except for the encouragement of volunteers at the water stations. Those little pushes were so important too me.  One family, a mom and her two small kids, did happen to be out cheering on their dad, and I was able to see them twice, which was also amazing.  It made me push a little harder knowing that I would soon be done, and be able to see my own kids!

 I can say that I walked a little bit more then I had wanted, or planned too, but again those self doubt moments took over between km 30-35.  From then on it was all about counting down the kms to the finish.  Looking at it one km at a time helped keep me focused on the end.  And one by one by one I was almost there!

That feeling you get when you hit 42KM and know there is only .2 more to go is unreal, I dug as deep as I possibly could to carry me to the finish line.  No matter how many crappy moments there are in a race, I know that last bit I have to give it my all, and I did!!!

I crossed the finish line with my Dad on the sideline, and I was so proud of myself, and how far I had come!! I RAN A MARATHON!!! Words cannot even explain how i felt/ am feeling!!!

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Again the finish was just as underwhelming as the start in terms of race organization.  It was a small (375 wish people) race.  And I was not part of the fastest pack, so it seemed as thought most people had packed up and left.  The course didn’t close for an other 1.5 hours, but it seemed as though everyone was ready to go.  This to me was super disheartening.  I feel as though the mid pack, and even slower racers should feel just as good as those coming in at the start. Maybe I’m naive, but can’t a girl hope for something a little bit better, I feel we all put in a lot of training, time an energy, and we all pay to run it, the support, especially from race organizers should still be there. I went in to the building, to see stretch, and hopefully get a massage, and enjoy what excitement I thought would be happening, but again everything was pretty much packed up. Again I felt disappointed. I hate being super negative over minor details, especially since I DID JUST RUN A MARATHON. But it was something I had to get off my chest!  (rant now over).

I ended up getting a quick massage, it was awesome, and then figured I should collect my bag and check my official time! I ended up running 2 minutes slower then my B goal, 4:32:29, but managed to come in 3 place for my age division. SO it’s still a win! My prize was a St. Johns Ambulance family aid kit, totally something we need, I didn’t have one!

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With that I headed home to find my kids, and husband, and eat all the chips!!!

It is pretty amazing to me what the human body can do when you step outside your comfort zone, and really just believe in yourself!!! Sure everyone may not run a marathon, but when we are brave, and try something that scares us, or gives us doubt, you can only grow from it, and become better! So whatever it is that you are afraid of doing, step out in faith, I bet you will surprise yourself!!!

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