Posted by: pursuingsub17 | August 16, 2009

Finished the marathon in 4:35

Am I disappointed? Maybe only a teensy bit. Yeah, I didn’t finish 4:30 or 4:22 but the way I was feeling with only 7k to go, I thought 4:40 would be okay – I did 4:35. That’s not bad. In fact, it’s great. I’m stiff and my hips are a little achey but no pain from my IT band this year and I shaved off an hour and 5 minutes from last year. That’s good. That’s damn good.

I started the morning with a bowl of cereal and hydrating. 15 mins before the race, Marc suggested a quick warm up (it was only +10 celcius and I was also feeling a little stiff. After that I thought I better line up. Marc waited with me. There was no 4:30 pace bunny. Great. But I had a pace band and my trusty Ironman watch so I would just have to pay attention. Oh, and I opted not to use the iPod. I would suggest the same for anyone else. Good for training – not so good for racing. You need to stay focused.

I started out in the middle of the pack – by 5K, I felt great – even got a high five from Prima, who was at the water station (yeah, I’m over that). At 7k, I looked at my watch – I had hit the start button on the chrono but it didn’t start. Damn. So I checked the actual time on my watch and I had been running for 38 mins since the gun went off. Too fast. I slowed it down a bit. At the 10k mark, I would set the chrono – I had my intermittent timer set for 10 and 1’s anyway so I was good.

Marc met me at the 11k point and rode next to me as far as he could, giving words of encouragement and telling me I was going too fast and needed to slow down. I knew that, but man it’s hard when you see people behind you blow past. But this was my race and my goal was 4:30 so I needed to stick to that and listened to Marc. At 18K his tire flatted. He had a spare but I found out on the way out from the half marathon point that he also blew the other  spare tire. He had to walk back to the finish line and  meet me there when I was done – that really burned him. I know he was feeling guilty and wanted to be there for me but I couldn’t let that bother me – had to keep pushing without him.

I was really exhausted by 27k but I still figured I could keep up my pace. I was 6 mins ahead of my goal time. Unfortunately a very long climb coming up burned me out.

I wasn’t in any pain during the race, just got physically tired. However, my time would have been worse had it not been for a little positive self talk. Right when I was feeling like I just didn’t have any gas left, I started chanting – “pain and exhaustion is not an option” – over and over. I could see people in the distance that had passed me on that major hill so I started picking up the pace. 3k later, on my walk break, I just wanted it to be over. I thought, that’s it, I just want to walk the rest of the way – but the positive talk kicked in again. “Quit being a  whiner. 4:22 is out of the question but you can still finish between 4:30 and 4:40. Don’t give up. You can do this”

Tried chewing mint gum at 38k – blech. Won’t do that again. At 39k, I found some extra kick called adrenelin – pushed myself to the end – passing people the whole way. Just when I was ready to pack it in again with 1k left, I remembered…Marc’s coach told me last week that his marathon time this year was 4:30. He’s on a comeback from a major injury but he did say that if I get that time, he’ll now have to contend with training to beat me, not just Marc. So I kicked it into high gear. I could hear cow bells and people screaming. I heard my name and it was Marc, jumping up and down after he’d taken my picture. I floated on by, around the corner and crossed the finish next to a woman I’d been sparring with the last 5k. We both bent over in exhaustion and neither one of us could stand up straight to get our medals! LOL!

What would I do differently? Not much. I had gels every 1/2 hour, salt pills every hour and I stayed hydrated. Definitely won’t chew the gum again. I had three nights of good sleep before the race. The only thing I might do differently is not to head out so fast right away. I knew better but on race day, it’s tough.

Next year, more core work and cross training. I gave up on that over a month before the marathon. Definitely do more epsom salt baths and maybe a massage by a professional once a month. I’ll probably do more strength training in the legs but in the end, I did it – on my own – and I feel fantastic.

One more race left, the Leduc Women’s Only Triathlon and that’s it. Time to shut it down.

I’ll still keep blogging – lots of things to talk about over the next 4-5 months before training kicks into gear again – I’ll be doing a half Ironman next year!



  1. AWESOME!! You did great! You should certainly be proud of yourself and your accomplishment. Can’t wait to hear about your journey as you work towards your next goal!! Enjoy the next 4-5 months before training kicks into gear again. You’ve earned it! – Heather

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