Hello again friends. Well this past weekend brought the Ottawa Race Weekend to life. Originally I had planned on registering for the half marathon but due to registration restraints, the half was sold out. SO, why not 1 up yourself and just register for the full marathon? Well I did… Call me crazy, but actually. Well a couple months out from the race I was training for this on a regular. Running at least 3 times a week to get started and lots of treadmill runs during the school year when the weather outside was less than perfect for me to build the courage and get out. Body felt great leading through the training days, miles were being thrown down, and i was slowly getting accustomed to running the 42.2 km! Jumping ahead a few weeks. In April, there was a period of time when it was really cold, rainy and ugly outside, lost a few days of training when that hit and that’s when I started to get real nervous for the race.
Going to take a couple more jumps forward here. Race weekend. Dad came up to watch the race and I was super happy about that! I haven’t been home in quite some time, so to be able to have my dad come up for the race was awesome and greatly appreciated. It also forced me to put on a harder race too, which was a bonus! 5 am was the wake up call. Got up, got dressed in the race gear, put on the new Saucony Kinvara2 runners and had a beautiful breakfast made by dad, bacon and eggs! Lots of protein and nourishment before the 7am gun time. The start line was very close to my house in Ottawa, and with roads being closed, no better way to get to the start area than to have a nice morning walk to the downtown core. Dad and I get down to the start area and I start to get in the race mood/zone. Drinking my pre-race beverage, snacking on a banana and a granola bar before the race, and getting the last of the nutrition I need before the gun goes off. Roughly 20-25 minutes before I head into the start corral I begin my stretching, all feels good, body is warm and I am ready to hit the pavement running. We all pile into the blue corral (sub 3 hour race) and hear the pre-race director say his speech and the a local artist sing the national anthem.
Gun goes off and the race is running! I am all smiles at the start, thinking to myself I cant believe what I am about to complete! About 2km in I get in a race mood, pass my dad a couple times before hand and he gets the pictures, and I am away to running 42.2km.
I found that the first 10-15km was the hurdle to get over, after that I would be able to find myself in a rhythm and get in that running groove without feeling as though I am forcing it. Came across the first 10km in 42 minutes. I felt that was a solid first 10, but maybe a little speedy, I pulled back a little bit but still kept the pace comfortable and not too slow. Running across the parkway in the west end of the city was a little difficult. Slow climbing to the war museum which made for a difficult run into Gatineau. This section of the run was one of the most difficult parts of the course. The downtown core of Gatineau is very rolling so the legs were getting pounded with lots of small rollers that put a pounding on your legs and knees. This was the part of the course that was near the 21.1 to ~26-27km mark. I crossed the 21.1km point in 1:30 which was on pace for a sub 3 hour marathon. That had scared me a little, and I feel like the Gatineau section had slowed me down with all the rollers and I had dropped the pace a little to loose grip of the sub 3 hour marathon. Crossed the bridge back into Ontario and curved around the art museum along Sussex out towards Rockcliffe in the East end of the city. This was probably the next hardest area of the course. Rockcliffe is a slow steady climb out towards the East end and I crossed the 30km check point in 2:10. I figured if I kept a sub 5 minute (kept it around just under 4:30/km) I should have close to a sub 3 hour marathon.
I slowly found out that it was true what the announcer meant by the race being a 32km warm up and a 10km race. The last 10 km was painful. I was dipping close to a 5 minute per km pace and I did not want to let that happen. Rounding off km checkpoints was a blessing. It was a force to keep a 4:30 pace going but I fought through every thought of wanting to walk a feed zone, because I knew that if I had stopped to walk even for a few meters, it would be game over for my goal of RUNNING a marathon and not just DOING a marathon. The crowds in the last 5km of the race were UNBELIEVABLE! My goodness if I could shake everyone’s hand for cheering me on it would take days! It pushed me and lifted my pace so quickly for the last little bit. Coming back along Sussex into the downtown core near the art gallery, the Mint, US Embassy, Canadian HQ, was unreal! I couldn’t hear myself think it was that loud! I was trying hard to keep a good pace going. The last 2 km was tough! Once I rounded the corner to cross Pretoria Bridge and come down the last 1km down Queen Elizabeth I passed the Lululemon Cheer booth and that gave me some strength to power through the last km. DJ and tons of people cheering really threw a skip in my stride! and it was the last km, you want to power that out hard! Started my kick from ~800m out and caught and passed 4 people along the way! Finished strong and came out with a time of 3:06:57 for the final time. Dad was cheering me on and that was a great feeling! Crossed the line, gave a sigh of relief and gave a arm pump at the end, looked up and I was glad I was done.
For my first marathon I was 1 minute 57 seconds off of a Boston Marathon Qualify! SO CLOSE!!! Here were my stats for the race:
Chip time: 3:06:57
Men 20-24: 8/135
Overall one of the best experiences I have had to date. The ability to say I have ran a Marathon is awesome! The next challenge now is a full Ironman! The recovery days were really tough! My knees felt as though they had exploded on Monday and I literally had a hard time getting up out of a chair and walking. Tuesday the joint pain had gone away and it was my muscle pain and tightness that was causing a little pain.
Next up on the calendar is the first open water triathlon at Britannia Beach on June 9th.