Did I really just run a marathon yesterday? I feel remarkable good considering which only makes me wonder if I could have ran faster. But I also made sure to walk and do active isolated stretching post race, which helps a TON!
Running a race in late November seemed like a good idea in the middle of July. In hindsight the cycle dragged on and I spent far too much time worrying about the potentially less than ideal weather conditions. But I had (finally) committed to it so I was in.
The couple of weeks leading up to race weekend the weather flip flopped all over the place, I really need to stop looking at weather forecast it causes too much stress. So I was prepared for the worst (I mean it can’t be worse than Boston 2015…. Can it?) I had to stop saying that as I was scared I was jinxing myself.
My taper had gone really well aside from the common argument in my head about running too much / or not enough / or who am I?? That comes along with the taper of a marathon build. But I hit all the mileage I was supposed to unlike the lead up to Boston, which was a win.
I arrived in Philly Friday afternoon and checked into the hotel. I was so happy to see the hotel room has a coffee machine and a fridge… Just what I needed for breaky on race day! I met up with another angel, Clair, for dinner and we grabbed our race kits. I like to get this out of the way two days prior to race day as I do not like all the commotion the day before the race.
Saturday I slept in a bit and then got up to do my shake out run which I did to the rocky statue (and start line area). I also did some mobility and drills. From there I laid in bed and watched movies all day aside from going out to fuel twice. To bed early as it was a 7am start time which meant a 3:30am wake up call… Gross!
When I woke up I was not nearly as nervous as I typically am on race day… Good in a way but downfall being things did not quite move through my system as they should on race morning… If you know what I mean. I tried not to worry about it and headed over to the start line thinking that once I got there surely that would make me nervous.
When I arrived at the start area there were HUGE LINES for bag check (ie some security guy checking everyone’s bag in the dark). I guess I should have read the athlete info more closely because I literally waited in line for a good 20-25mins luckily a warm up is not as important in a marathon. Of course than I had trouble getting over to the elite tent. But finally I arrived and made my way to the bathroom in hopes that things would move… No such luck, “well have to see what happens I guess at this point” was my train of thought. The race was delayed about 15mins too which was kind of bizarre.
I am so thankful to be on any elite list and am getting a little more used to the whole experience but it can definitely throw you off for a conservative start and with my temptation to always go out too hard this is not necessarily good for me. So of course I went out too fast… I cannot know for certain how fast as my garmin was not working, which was not helping the situation. But I was definitely fast at 5 and 10k. And although my pace was fast at the beginning I do not feel as though I bonked at all.
From 10k on things finally (unfortunately) started moving through my GI system I just hoped it would not move too far. ***luckily it did not that is not where this blog is headed. Haha
After 10k is in and around where the course got hard and there are about 2mi (8-10) where there are some significant hills. Oh and I forgot to mention the wind was pretty bad throughout the race.
After passing the half way point a fellow #runTO crew member of the black lungs caught up to me, Andrew. We have finished many races very close to one another so I thought this was awesome try to just lock in and stay with him. And I did for a while but eventually fell off. The trouble with a small(er) race like this is that you can be left alone and with the wind you did not want to be left alone. Which of course I found a few pockets of loneliness (*typical).
The second half is an out and back which was tough but kind of cool as I got to see all the other Toronto runners that had made their way to Philly. My pace definitely slipped in the second half but for whatever reason in the marathon I am much better at staying positive and level headed compared to my reaction in the half. I felt I was able to keep pushing in the last few miles and felt I had a strong finish at 6th overall 2:47:20 a 2.5min PB but shy of my 2:45 goal, I was also the first Canadian female across the line and won my age group! Sixth was a tough place to finish as top 5 won money which is always nice especially when travelling for a race but a positive spin to that is up until 19mi I was 8th or further back so it was good for me to be on the passing side of things in the second half. Though I do not think my race was run very well, I guess it was better then some. I only checked the results this morning and realized 5th place was only 10s ahead of me, I did not see a female in front of me but she must have been falling back. A lesson to always give everything you have no matter what!
Considering this is a smaller race and early start the crowd support was great throughout the race. This was greatly appreciated!!
All in all it was a good experience and I am but no means over joyed with the result but it just leaves more to work for next season! The amazing thing about running is it does not matter how many races you run there is always something to learn! As long as you can take those lessons and grow I think it is a win! So I will continue to reflect on this season and come back stronger next season!! I am coming for you 2:45!!!