Let us start out by saying when I crossed the finish line, I looked at my watch and saw that I ran a 1:56:55. A whole 30 seconds slower than my PR.
I worked hard at running for over a year to get a sub 2 time, so that fact that I could get a sub 2 hour time while having what I consider a bad race, is encouraging, but overall I wish it had all gone differently.
When I woke up on race morning my legs were stiff. I know this is because I did not taper for this race. My goal race is still the Edmonton marathon, so I have been running significantly higher milage than one would expect in the two weeks before a race, (65-85km weeks) which does not equal fresh legs on race day, I only took 1 extra day off pre-race, so I don't know what I expected. I grabbed some breakfast, and soaked my legs in a hot bath to try and relieve some of the tension I was feeling and left my house 45mins prior to the start.
By the time I drove to the start line, most of the tension felt like it had eased off a little, and I was more optimistic about the race.
The gun went, and off we were. My music was good and I was feeling happy. 3km went by pretty uneventful, I settled into my pace and was feeling strong. I love running on this section of the river. The views are beautiful, and the weather was just perfect.
Then my stomach started to feel terrible. I pushed through until the washrooms at 5km and ducked in for a pit-stop. Once starting again, I knew that this was it for me. It was not going to be a PR day. My upset stomach was not backing off in the slightest, and I knew it was only going to get worse.
It was really hard to stay mentally tough, as I saw my PR slipping away. I wanted to give up so many times and just walk it in. It was really frustrating. I know my upset stomach was caused by the meds I am on, and there was just nothing to be done about it but to try and push through. And I really did try to do just that.
I stopped at the same washroom again on the way back, and powered through to the finish.
I am happy that even a race that feels really bad can now get me a sub-2 finish, I am proud of that, but more than that I am now really hungry for a really great race. To have one day filled with race-magic that I can just really hit the ground running and leave everything I have out on the course.
I know that I have more to give. I know I can go sub 1:50. It just didn't happen that day. I may not be 100% satisfied with how the race went on Sunday but I do know that it is moving be closer to being a better runner. I need to plan more mental strategies for when my body says no. Even though I was in pain, I was still able to kick out a sub 5min km at the end, so I know when I put my mind to it I can push through, and that I have more to give than I have been giving. I am going to use all this disappointment to spur me on to making my next race something that I can be truly happy with, and proud of.