YES I DID IT! I completed 2 marathons in 2 weeks.
I chose the early start at 7 am for those who were walking or likely to run over 6 hours. Given I had run 5:28 in Vancouver 2 weeks before, there was every possibility that I would run 6 hours or more at this race. I also liked the idea of having company during the race, instead of being all by myself on the second lap and seeing the volunteers pulling up the pylons. I didn’t want to keep the volunteers out there any longer than they needed to be. It turned out to be a great decision. There were about 20 people who started at 7 so I was, by no means, on my own. The race mascot was there and everything!
I had my watch on but I had hidden all the screens that would give me any indication of my pace or timing. Or so I thought. At the 1 km mark, my watch beeped, I looked down and it showed 7:16. Darn! I had forgotten that my watch also recorded and notified me of the time for each km. I chose to ignore the notifications rather than try to figure out how to turn them off.
Everything was going great for the first half of the race. I was moving comfortably, running 10 min and walking 1 min, according to the alerts I set up on my watch that I didn’t know it could do until just recently! My body felt good, my legs felt good, I was ignoring all notifications from my watch as each km passed, I was thanking all the volunteers, it was a bright, beautiful, cool and sunny day. What more could I ask for?
I snuck a peek at my watch at the 10 km mark: 1:14. Ok, great, well ahead of a 6 hr race so I let it go and moved on. I made sure to walk any of the steeper or longer hills to be sure to save my legs for the 2nd half. I was concentrating hard on not letting myself go too fast, remembering how I had fallen apart in the 2nd half two weeks ago.
When I turned onto Young St, heading to Point Pleasant park, I came upon the participants walking the 10 km race. It was packed! I had to dodge people but it was great fun to have lots of company. My sister was walking the 10 km so I kept my eye out for her and pinched her bum as I caught up to her. Poor thing wondered who was touching her! I walked with her for a bit and had a chat. I wasn’t worried about my time. It was just fun to get to see her as I didn’t know our paths would cross in the race.
As I was nearing the halfway point, (which takes you right past the finish line, can you believe it!?!?), I checked my watch again (I know, I know, I couldn’t help myself): 2:38, 8 min slower than in Vancouver. All good. If I kept the pace, which I wasn’t convinced I would, that would give me a 5:20 finish.
No sooner had I gone through the halfway point, running uphill than my legs started to complain. So I walked and, shortly thereafter, I turned off the 10 min run/1 min walk alerts. I knew for the 2nd half that I would walk when I needed to and run when I could. It wasn’t long before the watch came off my wrist and was put into my pack. I didn’t want to risk looking at my time.
At about 30 km, behind me I heard some spectators ask their friend how he was doing. He said he wasn’t sure he could do it. I called back to him and said, “Yes, you can. Keep moving forward.” When he passed me, he thanked me and carried on. Just up ahead he stopped and grabbed at his leg. I asked if he wanted any tips and he said sure. So I gave him some advice and once again off he went.
A couple of km later, Mark, a local guy I know from triathlon, caught up to me and we ran together for a bit having a good old chat. It sure helped take my mind off any aches I was feeling. He then stopped to wait for the two guys he was running with, Ron and Kevin. They were unmistakable, each running in a kilt!! It wasn’t long before the three of them passed me and I figured that was the last I would see of them.
It was a little harder to enjoy the scenery of Point Pleasant park and looking out across the harbor the second time around but I was glad, at least, that my legs weren’t hurting like they were two weeks ago and that I was still running fairly consistently.
As I reached the top of a hill, who did I see in front of me but the three “boys” in kilts and the young man whom I’d given my words of advice to?!?! It now became my mission to catch them, slowly but surely.
I passed Mark, who had stopped to chat to some spectators and as he passed me again, he put a hand out and pushed me along. Miraculously, I ran faster! I told him to tell Ron that I was coming to get them so they had better keep running! On the short out/back section, just outside the park, I was able to deliver the message to Ron myself.
Five hundred metres later I was chastising myself for having spoken too soon as I found myself forced to walk because of ITB pain! Darn!
For the next 2 km, I saw the boys ahead of me but couldn’t make any headway. I could only run about 6 steps before the pain became too much and I was forced to walk. Unlike in Vancouver though, my spirits remained high and I didn’t cry with the pain or frustration. Sure, I was frustrated but I stayed calm. I knew I would get to the finish line comfortably if I just listened to my body and relaxed.
I was so excited when one of the volunteers told me there was only 2 km to go. By this point, I had settled into a shuffle (like Vancouver) but (like Vancouver) I wasn’t walking. As I neared the Citadel, with only 1 km to go, I could see I was, once again, gaining on the boys. I have to admit, it gave me great pleasure to pass them!
Now I was running on excitement and adrenalin. I was going to make it and make it comfortably. I made sure not to go too fast down the last hill with a few hundred metres to go, knowing the finish was on an uphill and not wanting my legs to cramp or go into pain again.
I turned the last corner with a great big smile on my face. I could hear the spectators cheering on the boys so I turned to make sure they weren’t right behind me. No worries, I didn’t need to try to sprint. Good thing because I couldn’t!!
I was SO happy to cross that finish line and to know that I had completed 2 marathons in 2 weeks!!!
I was even MORE excited when I saw that my finish time of 5:31:28 was only about 3½ min slower than my race in Vancouver!!! I told myself I was FREAKING AWESOME and I realized how long it’s been that I have been able to say that to myself. Whoo hoo!!!