A Tale of Two Marathons
I had promised a NYC recap since the beginning of the year, but I was focused on catching up at work and getting ready for my trip to Washington and Oregon.
I know that many of you had followed the marathon on Instagram over the weekend and I can honestly say that it was one of the most incredible race experiences I have ever had. I was able to go thanks to the generous support of New Balance Canada who has been a partner of mine for many years now.
I had a fantastic build leading up to the race and was in the shape of my life.
The only thing that wasn’t perfect was my performance on race day. The day of the race, something felt off. I threw up at KM 7 and stopped for a porta potty at KM 13 and 17. I knew it wasn’t going to be my day and I turned my watch around and focused on just finishing but I am not going to lie, it was a long slog from less than half way to the finish line. I couldn’t take in fuel and I crossed the line with a smile of relief, elation for running one of the world marathon majors and a pang of sadness for not running to my potential.
I have analyzed what I did wrong over and over.
Was it going out to hard on the bridges when I couldn’t get a watch reading from the buildings?
Was it over eating the morning of the race?
Was it travel stress?
A mixture of all?
Or maybe it just wasn’t my day.
I ran a perfectly respectable race time, but I have a competitive fire and performing any less than what I feel capable of is hard for me. I was walking through water stations and truthfully had never had a marathon go that far off for me. That being said, I am proud I finished and I spent the last three weeks recovering and getting back to strength building.
When Mark and I had planned our Seattle trip, we chose to run the half marathon while our friends ran the full. I booked it this past spring and was planning on ending with a hard effort to close out the year. As we finished up our west coast trip, we were a few glasses of red wine deep when we started discussing the marathon.
At the time, it seemed like a really smart idea to draw on my residual marathon build fitness and upgrade to the full marathon the following day at the expo. It took very little encouragement from the others and the next day, I swapped the bib without an issue and suddenly I was running another marathon.
I cannot tell you how different the lead up was between the two events. I was anticipating NYC marathon for months. I decided to run Seattle less than 48 hours before the race.
I based my entire weekend around the marathon in NYC. In Seattle, it was almost an after thought.
In NYC, I carb loaded, hydrated and stayed off my feet. In Seattle, I drank red wine, ate poke bowls (raw fish) and wandered around the city with heavy bags the entire day before the race.
In NYC, I knew the course, in Seattle, I just knew there were a LOT of big hills.
In NYC, I had a locked down fueling plan. In Seattle, I didn’t even bring a gel with me.
I just didn’t care. All I wanted to achieve was to cross the finish line and feel like I gave a good effort. To reinforce this, I decided to run without view of my watch.
At the start line, I was calm and unruffled. The race started and I still hadn’t processed I was running a full marathon. I decided to start with my friend Todd but I soon figured out that he was going for a 3ish hour marathon which was a bit rich for my legs and I pulled back around the 10 KM mark. I felt pretty crummy from 10-30 KM. You know those bambi legs you get near the end of the marathon? I had those almost instantly and I was focusing on keeping my form.
There wasn’t a lot of crowd support and strangely, the lack of views and simple out and back path allowed me to fall into a rhythm. I just focused on cheering on the other runners, thanking volunteers and high fiving people who came to cheer.
At 30 KM, I started feeling marginally better and if I had to guess where I was at, I would have guessed around a 3:10-3:15 pace. Then the hills started.
The course profile of this race ends with steep inclines for the last 3-5 KM of the race. I just focused on not spiking my heart rate and staying comfortable. The race finishes with a steep down hill which sounds lovely unless you have trashed legs.
I was, what felt like, stumbling down the hill to the finish when I saw Mark screaming that it was PR for me.
As I entered the stadium, I saw a 3:07 on the marathon screen. I was pleasantly surprised to have pulled a race out like this considering the circumstances and I felt like I had run to my ability at that moment which was a great feeling. I finished as 5th female, 1st in my AG and with a 4 minute PR.
I am not saying what I did was smart, but it wasn’t unwise. I felt a little sad to end my season with a race that I delivered less than my best on and it felt good to feel satisfied as I wind down 2018 racing.
Now I am fully embracing my offseason and will be picking up formal running training next year. I will be making some race plans for 2019 that excite and motivate me, but I always take dedicated time off my sport to ensure that I remain passionate for racing.
Thank you all for following my racing this year – you have been so supportive, helpful with advice and such an incredible community.
Thank you thank you.