My training for this marathon was minimal. Although my speed was good going in, my distance - or lack thereof - was definitely a concern. I had done 2x 37k training runs, but my weekly mileage had never surpassed 60k, sand I had never run more than 4x per week. Therefore, I had no idea what to expect, but my goal was to break 3h, and with that, I thought there may even be a chance of the win if (and only if) the field was super weak.
At the start line, it appeared that the field was indeed weak. There were a few guys who looked serious, but I knew I could only control my race, and so that is what I had to focus on.
The race began, and a young guy with a mullet hammered out to the front. A couple guys behind me joked and laughed at him, thinking that this guy was in for the longest day of his life. I took hold of 2nd place and there was another guy or two that followed me.
By the 3k mark, the young guy was actually now WAY in front, and one guy passed me to put me in 3rd. Again, I was pacing myself well. The only problem was the fact that there were NO KILOMETRE MARKERS. So, while I felt my pace was good, there was actually no definitive way of telling. I hit the beach section and was surprised to feel how soft it was. My previous race here (4 years ago), I remember the beach being rock hard.
The next part of the run was a little mentally difficult. The road was windy, with undulating hills, and it just went on and on. To make matters worse, the road was open, and I was almost hit by a bus at one point.
I was fortunate enough to have my parents in a support vehicle for the duration of the race. They were able to tell me the gap I had on the runner behind me, and also the distance ahead on the #2 guy.
I hit the Long Beach section in good time. While I knew I was tiring, I was not losing any ground on the person in front of me, and I was told I had a 4 minute gap on the guy behind me. So I was in a good space. At the end of this section, there is a fairly large hill which I managed nicely. I was doing well, but also knew that I was ~25k mark only, and I was probably more tired than normal, and I was sweating WAY MORE than normal. I called my parents for much fluid at this time. I drank loads between km 25-32k, because I knew if I didn't, I'd be screwed.
I was very surprised to see that I was catching the guy in front of me, and I eventually passed him ~km 28. I didn't know if he was struggling or whether it was my steady pace, but at any rate I was in 2nd place.
For a brief moment, I thought about the win and asked my parents where he was. To my chagrin, they told me the young 'mullet-man' was miles and miles ahead. Huh - who'd have thunk that from the start line? Not me, and not anyone.
So I felt motivated to stay in 2nd, and the only way of doing that was to stay focused and keep the kilometres consistent. My body was fatiguing, and around km 32 I was now into survival mode. I could feel my body not far away from cramping, so I did my best with nutrition and mental fortitude to hang in there.
At around km 35, I was struggling quite a bit, and knowing that there were some significant hills coming up, I knew it would be a battle in these final kilometres. I was told that there was a guy behind me only around 2 minutes and that he was catching up. Because of my body, I decided to walk up the two difficult hills ~km 37, and that is where I was passed. I was pissed off, but I knew that power hiking up these hills was the smartest thing for me. After the second hill, I bounced back with revenge and was trailing this guy as we headed now into the village of Ucluelet. I was only 2-3 seconds behind him.
As we came to the final hill, I was still struggling with my form and my mind was racing. I had the decision to stay jogging up this hill with this guy, and try and pass him in the final 1-2 km, or do what I actually did do, and power hike up it. I thought I could power hike up it and then hammer the final kilometer, using my speed to beat him. At the top of the hill, this guy was likely around 20 seconds in front of me, but I felt the adrenaline kick in and I felt like I had a kick in me. The only problem was, I didn't know exactly how much further the course was, and a race official actually told me at this point I had 5k to go. But I knew that couldn't be right. I knew Ucluelet well enough to know that there was not even 5k of distance left on the Island here. I decided to make my move. I rounded a street corner and uped the ante. To my complete surprise, the guy in front of me also did the exact same thing. I was now in full spring mode, and although I was catching this guy, there was too much distance to make up. I crossed the finish line in 3rd place, 11 seconds behind 2nd. Mullet-man would win it 25 minutes infront of us.
My finishing time was 3:12:17. Although I did not win, and I did not break the 3h mark, I felt my effort was solid. Considering my minimal training, I had to be proud of my pacing and my fighting spirit. This course is not a PB course, and considering the overall elevation loss/gain and the bending highway throughout, it feels way more like a 44k run.
My time did in fact qualify me to Boston. It also was a 11 minute PB (for what that is worth).
I still feel like a have a 2:5x:xx marathon in me, but I actually detest road events compared to trail events, so I will at some point, go for the sub 3h marathon, but not this year...that's for sure.
So there is my 2011 update. Speed is good. A PB in the 1/2 and the full so far.
Still dealing with Achilles Tendonosis. I am now at 38 months with this. It isn't preventing me from running, but it is a pain that is not going away. I have no idea what to do with this, and have literally tried everything. I am considering taking some time off to figure this thing out. I am actually going in for an x-ray tomorrow to see if I have a stress fracture. If negative, I may be going in for a bone scan. At any rate, I am mystified on how to get rid of this thing, and until I figure it out, all my dreams of an epic trail run this summer are on hold. I will NOT be running the JdF this year. Sad, but true. Hopefully the trail is still there in 2012.