Road2Hope – Race Day

Ladies and gents: I have a new Full Marathon PB (personal best, also known as a PR or Personal Record) of 3:31:48. That is nearly 20 minutes faster than my previous PB which was set in New York City last November. I am happy. It’s not a Boston Qualifying time but it is 20 minutes closer to one and that is good enough for now.

The morning and the race both went incredibly smoothly. I got up at 4:45am and ate some rice, quinoa and sweet potato with a big cup of coffee. I tried to have more Beet Juice but I couldn’t stomach it. So, I got dressed, made sure I had everything I needed, woke up Ellie and we headed out to pick up our ZipCar to drive to Hamilton. Smooth as could be – we got there in no time, picked up my race bib and t-shirt and headed off to the start line. Plenty of time to use the washroom (a couple times), took my pre-race Roctane and we were off!

The race itself was pretty uneventful – just the way I like it! Quiet, rural and relaxed. I even put in one headphone and listened to some CBC’s Spark, Ben Greenfield Fitness and NPR’s Science Friday while I ran. It was just like a training run except that I downed a GU every 30 minutes (alternating Roctane and regular GU) and gulped water that was given to me by adolescents in paper cups at every aid station.

At kilometre 34 I started to have some issues. My feet were getting really sore. More so than I have ever experienced… but I kept going. No biggie.

It wasn’t until the last 3km that I really started to feel it. I ended up alternating running and walking in 200m increments. The only thing I regret is not sticking with the 3:30 pacer when he passed me… but in the end, I just don’t have that kind of tolerance for pain in me. It’s something I am realizing about myself. I am willing to put up with a certain amount of discomfort but as soon as the pain/fatigue exceeds that – I back off. Which means I will always race slower than my training potential… but I am ok with that. After all, this is a hobby. No one is paying me. No one is counting on me. Which is something I forgot in Chicago and it really ruined what should have been a fun race.

I crossed the finish line in Hamilton, high fived Bob (one of the photographers I know from iRun) and headed straight for Ellie. I believe the first word out of my mouth was “OUCH” followed by a little bit of celebratory swearing. Then I calmed down and realized I had beat my buddy Terry’s time in the Portland Marathon a month ago. That pleased me – greatly!

After some food, relaxing and limping around, Ellie and I got back in our ZipCar and drove back to Toronto. My legs and back growing ever tighter as we drove. A warm bath in Sweet Birch Oil helped loosen me up when I got home… so did the Flying Monkey “Hoptical Illusion” beer. Yum!

Now I have some time to concentrate on getting my new Team in Training ducklings up and running before I head off to Disney World for the Goofy in January. As soon as I am recovered, I must start doing more back to back long runs in preparation for that. I’ll back off on the speed work and increase the mileage… but I will save that for another blog post.

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