|Getting my stuff together the night before.|
I decided on the early start (6 am) because I really didn't know what my back was gonna do and if I had a tough race, I'd be dead last (since all the other slow pokes like me started an hour earlier). So - it was a good decision.
We got up at 4:30am, left the hotel about 5:20, parked, porta-pottied, and chatted with fellow racers. There were about 25-30 people at the early start, including my facebook and daily mile friend Gary J., and world record holder, Ginny Turner. She has raced a marathon on all 7 continents, in the fewest number of days. Wow. She doesn't run them any more, now she power walks them, so she was out for the early start as well.
|The early start crew.|
|And We're Off!|
As luck would have it, as soon as my legs started moving, everything in my body started moving and so 1.5 km into the race, I had to stop at the porta-potty again. Argh. I was not alone however, two others were doing the same thing. Back on the road two minutes later, took off my vest and gave it to Erik, and hit the road.
(Although you may think I look lonely out there, I prefer that actually. I always knew Erik was close by and I enjoyed the peace and chance for introspection.)
Over the next 10km, I was playing leap frog with a couple of Marathon Maniacs who were doing 5/1 run walk so we kept passing each other and chatting. Eventually I left them at a water stop and never saw them again. from then on, I ran alone. Not many of the early starters were ahead of me. The country side in this section was absolutely gorgeous, pastoral, green, with pretty farms and farm animals. In the early morning, it looked very pretty.
|From then on, I was passed quite frequently by the fast 7am marathoners. Ah well. :)|
A little while later, the lead bike came by and said "Hey, you're ahead of the lead woman!"
"Not for long", I replied.
|Whooo hooo Ryder!!!!!|
I stopped and tweeted my progress at the 10k, 20k, and 30k mark, but that was easy enough to do during my walk breaks. :) The walk breaks became a little sporadic, not always following the 14/1 exactly. In fact, between 10-30k, I felt really strong, picked up the pace a little, and skipped a few of my walk breaks.
The clouds rolled in and the wind picked up at the 20k mark and although I wasn't cold, I wasn't warm either. I considered putting my vest back on but decided against. The head wind in some directions was hateful.
As I hit the 30k mark, I was starting to tire. I stopped for a quick pee break, adding another minute to putting me over the 5 hour mark. My legs were beginning to rebel so I started to use some of the mental tricks to ignore the pain and continue on. Most of it was fatigue and sore muscles, so I wasn't worried. I stopped to stretch my calves a couple of times when they started the first tinglings of a cramp, and I stopped to stretch my back out a few times as well, but other than that, I keep on trudging along. Erik was a great support, encouraging me, and letting me know that I still looked strong and had good form. It made an incredible difference knowing he was always going to be around the next corner.
|Digging Deep - a determined look on my face.|
The toughest part was knowing I was pretty darn close to being under 5 hours if I had a good finish and pushed a little harder from 30k on, but I just didn't have the mental or physical stamina to run faster at that point.
|About km 40. Up another hill?|
When I hit the 41 km mark, I knew I was almost there and somehow I managed to speed up and run a very fast-for-me 5:30-5:45/km for about 500m, then I slowed to 6min/km and finished the race strong. My daughter was there videotaping me cross the line and Erik had the camera. And suddenly, it was over!
About to throw my arms up, as I cross the finish line. I did it!!
5:04:54. Good enough! I was happy and tired and glad to be done.
Additional Stats: I was 152/175 overall, 51/62 women, 9/13 in my age group. I think I did fairly well as far as the early starter group. I was near the front of the pack, although I don't know if many passed me when I was in the bathroom.
As for what's next? I'd totally do another marathon. Just don't know when. Maybe next year. I have the Apple Triathlon in August, and Victoria Half Marathon in October. Not sure what else I'll do this summer. Lots to think about. The hardest part of marathon training is giving up my tri training. Ah well....
I found this race easier than my first half iron, and about the same as my 2nd half iron. I think it's because I'm not a really strong runner. Your miles may vary. However, the day after - I have never hurt so much as I do this morning. Every fiber of my body hurts (except my low back!). I think I'll use the elevator at school today. :)