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Ottawa Marathon Weekend

This was a weekend I’ll sadly never forget…the weekend started off in a tremendous way.  I arrived in Ottawa Friday night and was scheduled to teach at the Met Bible Church at 7:00 pm.  I walked in the doors of the church just after 6:30 pm ready to lead 50 people through an Inductive Bible Study Training workshop…the workshop was great and many of those attending were excited about what they learned and are even more excited for us to return in November.

On Saturday I hit the expo and was there bright and early to pick up my race kit.  My friend Richard and I arrived and were at the front of the line, we picked up the race kit and excited the expo in about 8 min headed home for some rest before race day.   I spent much of Saturday surfing the net and napping…my kind of Saturday.  Finished off my day with a pasta dinner and was in bed by 9:00 pm ready to wake up for 4:00 am.

Sunday morning I woke up at 4:00 am ready to run but was experiencing some slight stomach discomfort that I attributed to pre race nervousness and continued with my morning race prep.  Just before 6:000 am we were on the road heading in to the city for a 7:00 am start.  In my previous marathon in October I had to make a pit stop mid race and so made sure I hit the washroom a number of times before the horn sounded.   At 6:45 am I entered my start corral (orange) and was slightly out of place close to the 3 hr. pace bunny but I figured I would stay off to the side and connect with my 3 hr 10 min pace bunny.

The horn sounded and I was off…completed my first  5 km in 22:29 min which was right on pace for a 3:09 finish, after 10 km still on pace and at 26 km mark I was closer to a 3:14 finish as I had slowed a bit to build up speed going into the 34-36 km mark in which I usually hit the wall mentally.  At 26 km I started to feel some cramping in my stomach, much like I had when I woke up and tried to push through but my pace was 22 seconds per km slower…everything else felt great but the cramping was overwhelming and at 30 km I had to find the closest bathroom possible.  From the 30 – 33 km mark I hit every port a potty along the route.  Stoping 3 times in total for a total loss of approx. 20 min.  My Boston Qualifying time long behind me now and I was now on track to finish under 3:30 min but the problem would not go away.  At 33 km I sent a text to a friend who was cheering me on to let him know of the problems and he met me at the 34-35 mark and coached me through to the 37 km mark.  In that time I was forced to do a run walk in hopes of now just trying to finish this thing.  Sheer will and determination was what brought me through.   Once I hit the 38 km mark I was so thankful for all the crowds lining the streets…thousands of people on both sides of the street only allowing a tight space to run were cheering my name and encouraging me to finish strong..telling me almost there and so much more that they gave me a much needed boost to finish.  I dug deep down and finished off the final 2.2 km at a 5:24 pace…approximately a minute slower per km than when I started a few hours earlier.  Needless to say I did complete my 5th marathon in a time of 3:48:00.  I finished 1765th out of 7000 runners and 326 in my age group.

The marathon is a fickle beast and that is what draws me to it I think.  There are so many variables in getting that elusive Boston Qualifying time.  Being in good shape, eating right, rest, carbs, weather and motivation.  Yesterday I hit the start line in great shape after training with Fundamental Fitness Conditioning, ensuring I was injury free with Essential Physiotherapy and getting some great nutrition advice from Krista Duchene.  Yet most likely good ol heat and humidity caused my quick downward spiral at 26 km.

As I reflect on the outcome it was not what I wanted but I’ll still be thankful that I completed the marathon in a decent time of 3:48:00.  I am sure many on the course that day would be proud to have a finishing time like this and so I cannot diminish what was accomplished.   I saw many others suffering from the heat who most likely never finished and I know that is a difficult pill to swallow as well.

In spite of all of this I decided I would list the Top 10 positives from the weekend

1. 50 (mostly new) people Established in God’s Word at the MET Bible Church
2. Fastest km ever run at 4:16
3. Richard and Sandra Loewen for picking me up from the airport, giving me a place to stay, driving me to the expo, cheering me on and running with me when I needed it most.
4. 45:02 10 km PB – gives me hope for going sub 40 in July
5. Finishing my 5th marathon
6. The ability to walk with minimal pain today (thanks FFC and Essential Physio)
7. My family for putting up with crazy training schedules
8. The crowds who cheered me across the finish line
9. The volunteers who handed out thousands of cups of water, gatorade and sponges
10. The fact that I overcame a fear of wearing a sleeveless shirt in front of 100,000 people  (as a former close to 300 lb. person this was hard to do)

Next up is a local 10 km trail run here in Brantford ON on July 1 and then training begins for my 6th marathon in which I will go for that 3:09 again in Toronto at the Scotia Bank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

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