Sunday I ran my second last long run of my training for Boston and it was an eye opener but in a positive way.
I had a 36km run planned and I also had the Comox Valley RV Half Marathon race the same weekend. Earlier in the week, I talked with both Warren and Sue about how I should run the distance. Should I run 10km before, race and then the last 5km? Or should I just run the full 15km before?
I went with running the 15km beforehand so on Saturday afternoon I mapped out a run that would have me finishing my distance at the start of the race. I ran along the Island Highway which I thought would give me beautiful views of the water and mountains but there were only glimpses here and there. I did have a few fellow runners honk their horns at me as they went by in their cars.
Warren dropped me off an hour and a half before the race, just past Fanny Bay. I arrived at the start line with seven minutes to spare which was my plan. I didn’t want to have a lot of downtime between my runs because on race day you don’t get breaks. On the drive, I put gels, chews and half of a Chocolate Peanut Butter Honey Stinger bar in a baggie, I had asked Warren to get my Frontrunners jersey ready with my bib number on it and bring me some of my nuun in my water bottle. He was near the start line waiting for me and had everything good to go. It was perfect. I quickly ate, changed, made a bathroom break and headed to the start line with one minute to spare. Phew!
I felt good and was ready to go. When asked by fellow runners, who I typically race with what my pace was going to be I told them I didn’t know what pace I would be going.
My original plan for the race was to try and run a bit faster than my goal marathon pace. I was successful for roughly the first 7-9km and I was running with my fellow racers.
Christie, a runner who I usually play cat and mouse with was running beside me from the 2km-9km mark. I knew I couldn’t speed up and try to lose her so told myself that I was just out for a Sunday run with Coach Sue. It worked and I kept my pace. As we ran along she kept checking her pace and I knew she was questioning my run and she didn’t know I had run before. I was running my run and I wanted to tell her she needed to do the same but we were both wearing headphones.
Around the 9km mark, she pulled away and I never caught her. The others who I had been running near started to pull away too. That was ok and I was averaging a little under 5-minute per km. That was roughly my long distance run pace and I was doing a long run so I went with it.
A mild struggle mentally and physically started with roughly 7km left (29km ran already). My legs were starting to feel tired and I started to question my thoughts about a faster pace than this for Boston. If I couldn’t do that for less than 36km how could I do that for 42.2km? I knew I wouldn’t be able to.
I think I was around the 3.1km mark when Pat, one of my fellow Frontrunners Athletic Club members came up beside me. I was happy to see him because I had spent the last 2km thinking that I was going to walk because there was no way that I could continue to run. My legs were burning and my mind was telling me to stop. I felt like I was shuffling along and I was worried that if I did stop to walk that my legs wouldn’t allow me to go again. I knew I had to keep going.
Pat encouraged me along. He told me I was doing a good job and I explained how I was tired and just wanted to be done. He moved in front of me and said: “Draft me for a bit.” It was kind of him but I told him “No. I can’t keep up Pat. It’s OK. Keep going and don’t let me hold you back.” He then ran next to me. I had a lump in my throat and he reassured me that we were going the same pace and we would run together. We continued side by side until I saw the one mile left marker. I told Pat he had to go and not to wait for me. He slowly started to pull away and I was happy for that. I would never want to have someone else’s race suffer due to me. He continued on and I saw him finish. I was happy for him.
As I reached the last 500 meters I was just working on putting one foot in front of the other. I then heard some people cheering for others behind me and telling them to go faster. I had to get out of my head and try the same. I pushed and tried to run faster…no idea if I actually did. I crossed the finish and there was Pat with his family and the lump in my throat was much bigger. My legs were burning worse and walking felt terrible. I made my way to a pole so I could stop and hold myself up. Warren came to me but kept his distance because typically I need a few minutes after I finish my races to catch my breath. I waved for him to come closer to me because I just needed him to hug me. I was crying and just happy to be done.
So, what did I learn? I am going to run Boston at a pace that feels comfortable to me and not worry, about trying to achieve a personal best (PB). I don’t want to run the Boston Marathon and feel like I did for the last 8km of my run. That would leave a bad memory of Boston for me and I want to cherish the moments I have there. I will run another marathon and can achieve a PB another day in another city.
Overall I finished the race in 1:43:34 and placed 8th in my age group. How that happened I am not sure but I will take it.
A huge thank you to Warren for supporting me before, during and after my run. I am very lucky and happy to have such a great husband who supports my running. On another note he rocked his race and had a PB of 1:15 and placed fourth in his age group. I am so proud.
Thank you as well to many other runners who were there for me before, during and after my run. You all helped me get through to the end and I am happy to be part of such a great running community.
I am happy with my run even though it hurt. I feel good overall and happy that this happened instead of having learned this in Boston.
Have you had clarity on a run?
Have you pushed through walking to make it to the end?
Would you have done part of your run before or after the run?