Friday, October 19, 2007

Royal Victoria Marathon - Oct. 7, 2007

After having 2 weeks of recovery from my 77k WCT run, I really wasn't sure how my body was going to respond to doing another long run. In that recovery period, it took a few days for sure for me to find my legs again - I also hadn't done anything longer than a 10k run.
Nevertheless, I was excited to be doing another marathon. The night before the marathon was definitely rough. Griffin had been up much of the night, and I think I was operating on about 4 hours sleep. I was also very excited about Janelle who, was doing her half marathon (as it turns out, she had an awesome race!).
I drove Janelle to her race first. Her race started 1 hour before mine, so there was no real chance for me to support her during her race. After I dropped her off downtown, I went back to the grandparent's house to drop off the kids. It is at these points in life that I always think how lucky we are to have such a great family and support system in place. Every good runner has support. Every good runner, who is also a parent, must have help somewhere. I don't care who they are, this is just a fact.
So I headed down to my race. Parking is always an issue on these things, as there were about 10,000 registered runners for the events that day. As I got downtown, I quickly realized I really had little hope to find a parking spot anywhere. In addition, the half marathon runners had already started, so the roads all around town were blocked. I did my best, and managed to find a spot in Fairfield. As it turns out, I was about 2.5 km from the start line. This was not good, as now the marathon distance was now going to be the usual 42.2 km. + 5 km of getting to and from my car.
As I got to the starting area, I waited in the short line to go pee and then deposited my gear in the bag check. I was calm at this point, as I had enough time to do all that I needed to do. I also felt calm by the fact like this was not a first for me. I had done a marathon before (in June), and I was familiar with the RVM setup (from doing the half in 2006).
I lined myself at the start line. I placed myself with the 3 hour guys, knowing that if this were to actually happen, that I would be a stud. I mainly did this because in these events, there are always people in front of you who do not even realize that you are supposed to line yourself in terms of estimated finishing time. Dodos.
I looked up, and the weather was fantastic. The forecast was for heavy rain, but there was harly a cloud in the sky. What luck. I knew this couln't last forever, after all this was Victoria.
The race started, and I covered the first km. in 4:10. Perfect. I still felt great and relaxed. Over the first 10k, I still felt very good and I made a split time of 42:30. Still great. I was on pace to do what I needed to do. Shortly after this point though, I felt a small tightness in my left calf. This changed my mind-set completely as I knew that anything felt physically so early in the race was going to kill me later. However, I carried on and did very well to make the half split time of 1:31. This was great - I still had hope of finishing under 3:10 and qualifying for the Boston Marathon. But I definitely had concerns.
It was in the next few km. that I knew I was slowing down. I wasn't monitoring my split times, but I knew I was slowing drastically. I felt a general tightening of my legs and in particular behind my knees. At about km. 28 (and with my final gel), I kept telling myself to just to get to km. 32, and then I knew I would be stronger than that of my Tofino marathon. It was about then that the skies opened up. It rained. No actually, it poured. Knowing that my body was protesting another long run, I slogged along until the km. 32 sign. At that point, I walked. There was a small hill at that point, and my legs were quivering. My plan at that point was to do exactly what I do in every ultra event: walk the uphills, and jog the rest. However, this proved to be difficult. From km. 32 until km. 38, it was the run-walk (with more walking) system that kept me moving.
My muscles cramped; every single one of them. Even my IT band on my right side was giving way. Many, many people were passing me at this point, and I really didn't care. At this point in a marathon, you just want it to end. I was excited and encouraged that by km. 38, I was actually able to hold onto a very slow job pattern, with no walking. Around this time, an old lady passed me and looked at me and said "c'mon, you can do it!" I thought, omg I just got passed by an old lady!
The rain thundered down as hard as I have ever seen it in my life. Cool. It reminded me of Mexico.
As I rounded the final bends, I picked up the pace toward the finish line, trying to deceive the spectators that this was all easy, and that my pace had been this fast the whole way through. Smart people, or experienced people know that this is just balony.
I finished the marathon in 3:20:41. I was just happy it was over. This time was great. It wasn't the Boston Marathon Qualifying time that I dreamed of, but hey, it was a solid time. It beat my first marathon time by 13 minutes. This time was very satisfying. I'm glad it was over.

But... it wasn't. After getting my space cape and my medal, I remembered that the car was a long, long ways aways. I got my gear from the tent, and began the slow, long walk back to my car. After 40 minutes of shivering and stumbling in the pounding rain, I finally got to my car (in retrospect, this walk was probably as hard as the marathon itself). I laid out the garbage bag over my seat and closed the door, and drove home to my family.

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