On October 19th I ran the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. I ran my first full marathon in 2012 (San Francisco), and decided that full marathons are not for me. I’m not a fast runner and so a 20 mile training run takes me a LONG time (not to mention recovery). Half marathons seem to fit into my life a lot more easily.
Fast forward to 2014. It was spring and it was time to register to run Scotiabank on the Toronto Cat Rescue team. Typically I register for the half marathon, but at the time of registration my long runs were already 13+ miles. I wanted to challenge myself and so I made the decision to register for the full.
My training went pretty well. I modified Hal Higdon’s Marathon Novice 2 plan by adding in more mileage during the week so that the long run isn’t such a high percentage of your overall weekly total mileage.
As you can see above, there were two weeks (#8 and #14) where my training was off, the backpacking trip to Algonquin and then another backpacking trip to Bruce Peninsula. So although I wasn’t building running fitness per se, it’s not like I was sitting on the couch watching Netflix.
The morning of the race was pretty cold and it was difficult to know what to wear. I ended up going with shorts and a t-shirt (with a throwaway jacket I bought at Salvation Army for $2), but long sleeves would have been a better choice. A lot of the course was down by the lake and it was pretty chilly at times. Also, check out my TOFU socks.
I hung out in the lobby of the Sheraton hotel for an hour or so, eating my banana, drinking water, and taking advantage of having a real bathroom at my disposal, as opposed to portapotties. It was really cold standing around in the corrals but I wasn’t out there for long.
The thing I don’t like about this race is that the first half (where full marathon and half marathon people are running together) is way too crowded. As in wow I’m actually tripping over people crowded. Some people love it, I hate it. If it wasn’t for the opportunity to raise money for Toronto Cat Rescue I would pick a different (smaller) race.
At the very first aid station I drank some Gatorade, which normally doesn’t bother me at ALL, but on that day it wasn’t sitting right. I don’t know if it was the cold, the adrenaline, or whatever else, but it made me feel kind of queasy. I didn’t think much of it and kept going. The nauseous feeling never left me after that, and it messed up my ability to fuel. By mile 18 I hadn’t been eating/drinking as much as I had planned (because every time I tried I felt like I was going to be sick) and so I hit the wall HARD.
Around mile 20 I knew I was so far away from the finish but running hurt SO MUCH and I didn’t know if I could make it. I made a deal with myself that I would run for 3 minutes, walk for 1 minute. The last half mile or so I had a surge of adrenaline and kicked it to the finish line. My time was 5:02:XX. An entire 18 minutes slower than my first marathon in 2012. Even though I was in much better shape and my training went much more smoothly and I was aiming for a 4:30:XX.
At first I was really disappointed in my time. I was embarrassed by it. I didn’t want to tell people my time. But in the past week and a half, not one person has said, wow, you were slow. Everyone has said, wow, you finished when you felt so awful, that’s amazing! AND I raised $500 for a local cat rescue. So although I didn’t hit my time goal, I’ve been trying really hard to put things into perspective and feel good about my accomplishment.
After the marathon my husband helped me hobble into a cab to go home, where I spent the rest of the day eating pizza, drinking beer, and doing this: