Far too delayed but better late than ever. Here's my recap of my 3rd marathon:
Morning: I didn’t sleep much but that’s just fine with me as I don’t think I’ve ever slept well before a race. Definitely woke up nervous and excited. Anxious to get started! Hitched a ride with Paige to the start line and spent the next 50 min visiting with friends and distracting ourselves from what was about to go down. I’m typically a loner before a race but this was a nice change of pace for me to chat and get that nervous energy out. We got our final bathroom break in as a gaggle of women as though we were still teenagers and got promptly squeezed ourselves into our corrals.
0-10km: Started off side by side with Paige and we got out of the gates hot. 4:50. Shit. Shooting for 4:55-4:58. Next one was 4:53. Double shit. Come on Katie. Apologized to Paige, because although we weren’t truly running together I imagine my accidental quick pacing was rubbing off on her. Finally got a good km with 4:55 only to be followed by another fast one and then a really fast one (4:37) which really made me panic. I’m usually quite good at holding back early on but I just couldn’t do it this time. Whenever I looked down at my watch, which was not that often, I could see I was a bit fast so I’d alter my pace only to notice half a kilometre later that, indeed, I had not only not slowed down but I had sped up. The taper for this race worked better than any others for me. I felt invincible and light on my feet but I have run enough races to know that was not reality and I had better sort this out. Stat. There was also a lot of up and downs in this part of the race, including the only sizeable hill (quite manageable) so I knew my pacing would be off a bit but I was still nervous I had overdone it early on. There is NO banking time in a marathon and I was worried, really worried, I would pay it back ten fold in the final 10km. By kilometre 9 I (finally) dialled in the pace. By now Paige had taken off a bit ahead of me so I was running solo but so enjoyed the small out and back here where we saw all of the half, full and 50km runners. I cheered like a lunatic with loud screams and flailing arms, but despite expending some extra energy I felt I got it back 100 times over by seeing so many familiar faces on the course. Watching Jacob Puzey crushing the 50km and Leanne Klassen leading the women marathon race warmed my heart and gave me a much enjoyed physical and mental lift.
11-20km: Best part of this section was starting to see my cheer squad! My husband and kids were out at 12km or so and some friends were just before that point. It truly gives me such a boost to see them! That excitement was short lived as around 13km I started noticing my legs getting a bit tired. Nothing serious, but in the past I haven’t noticed that sensation until somewhere between 20-27km. The other problem at this point is that we started a long out and back but were currently running slightly uphill and into a head wind. I logically understood that this was likely the reason for the tired legs and slightly slower paces but I couldn’t help but think it was because I over did it in the first 10km. Everything felt a bit harder than it “should” and honestly, I started to panic a bit. I got into my own head and even after I turned the music on it didn’t help distract me enough to forget about the fear that I had messed it all up in the opening stretch.
20-30km: As we were coming to the turn around I kept pushing at an even exertion level and kept hoping I was doing the right thing. The turn around came at 26km and sure enough, my 27th km felt effortless, comfortable and a bit fast despite being so far into the race. It’s amazing what a tail wind and running slightly downhill will do!
30-42.2km: This relief was overwhelming as I realized, truly, that I hadn’t messed up in those first 10km. Whew! So overwhelming, in fact, that I burst into tears when I saw my family as the feeling of relief flooded over me. It’s incredibly difficult to run fast while sobbing, so I quickly tried to shut that down and just wave, blow kisses and high five them all with a gigantic smile on my face. During this section I had a young man like my pace setting and run with me for over 10km. I came to learn that this was his first marathon and he was a bit unsure of his own ability to be consistent and was enjoying being able to settle into another persons pace. One major problem was that it was glaringly obvious to both of us that whenever I saw friends or family that I would accidentally surge. Big time. We both had a laugh about it and fortunately he was willing to overlook this glitch in my system.
I truly felt great until around 36km. So great in fact, that I had thoughts that I would drop my pace for the final 5km or so. Spoiler: that did NOT happen. But, I was so thankful to feel good for so long which was new to me. Quickly though, I realized it would be more a desire to hold on to my pace rather than push it. Those final kilometers hurt. My legs were begging me to stop. I was trying to push but the legs just were not responding. But I also had this wonderful peace inside of me knowing the race had gone well. I had raced to my potential and there was something comforting about that as I raced those final kilometres.
As I came into the final stretch the streets and stadium are lined with people and I was trying to take it all in while willing my legs forward. As I crossed the line the tears came immediately and I rested my head in my hands and sobbed. Well, as much as one can sob directly after a marathon. It was more like heaving breaths while simultaneously having tears falling from my eyes.
Chip time: 3:28:38.
PB by almost 13 minutes and a BQ.
16th O/A Female
1st in AG
If you had told me when I ran my first marathon 2 years ago in 3:53:, that I would run under 3:30, I would never have believed it. Yet somehow I did it and can't wait to see what is in store for the rest of 2019.
Photos by: Mike Delaney, Sheila Carr and Hayley Gulayets