Race Recap: Edmonton Marathon

So it happened. I ran and finished the Edmonton marathon.

- I finished
- I finished strong. Last 2km were @ 5:39/km
- Was on goal pace for 30km.
- My medal is everything I could have hoped and dreamed, filled with lovely red glitter.
- My legs felt good the entire race
- Never did I feel out of breath, and endurance/cardio-wise I felt fantastic the whole time.
- My training worked well, and I will use the plan again for my next marathon.
- The weather was perfect.

- I learned a hard lesson about choosing proper footwear.
- I had the worst blisters I have ever experienced, and in terrible pain for 30km of the race.
- It was a huge metal battle against the pain to finish.
- I did not PR despite being in the best running shape of my life.
- I am disappointed.
- I would say the race was not as flat as advertised. I come from the land of flat. 284m of elevation gain is not flat.
- The second half of the course was mostly in suburban areas, and was rather boring, scenery wise.

In the weeks leading up to the race, I was a serious basket case about what shoes to wear, and here is why. My favourite pair had over 600km on them, which for me, is usually too many, the shoes I bought to replace them had given me blisters in the past, but had been feeling good lately, and the third option were the shoes I had worn over the winter and I was afraid of them, because they are the shoes I was wearing when I got my injury.

In the end I chose my new shoes that had previously given me blisters, and I would do anything for a time machine, to go back and switch shoes. Sadly, this is not possible.

Okay now, let's go back to the beginning.

We drove up to Edmonton on Saturday morning. It was an uneventful drive, which is good by me. I picked up my race package, stopped by MEC briefly, and then headed over to my aunt's and uncle's house where we would be staying.  We relaxed for most of the day, just chilling with family, it was great to catch up. That night I laid out everything I could possible want and went to sleep around 10pm.

I woke up at 5:30-ish, ate a granola bar, and 500ml of Cherry-Lime nuun, got dressed, and had two pieces of toast for breakfast. I felt a little nauseated, which I am now chalking up to nervousness.

We headed to the start-line around 6:15, and made it to the actual corral at 6:55am (5 minutes to spare! That's how I roll, haha)

I lined up with the 4 hour pace group, kissed my husband goodbye, and hoped for the best.

The first 10km were pretty uneventful. I was on pace, and other than feeling the first inklings of blisters, I was doing okay. I was still with the pace group and was feeling strong.

Between 12km and 13km it was uphill the entire time, and it rubbed my feet so badly going up hill. The inklings were turning into real pain, and I was starting to get concerned.

Hit the half-way mark in 2:05, was in a ton of pain, was mentally, feeling very low, and disappointed. Got a text message from my husband saying he loved me, and was proud of me, and I almost cried, because everything seemed to be going so terribly.

Hit 30km in 2:55. Plenty of time to kick it in under 4 hours, but my feet had no kick. My legs were good, lungs were good, feet were screaming. I kept hoping that they would go numb, because I knew I was going to finish regardless.

It never happened though. The pain intensified, and the last 12.2km went like this. Force myself to run 1km, walk until pain subsided a bit, repeat. At 40km I ran it into the finish line. For a total time of 4:26. Two minutes slower than my previous marathon, and nowhere near 4 hours.

I pretty much had a breakdown after I crossed the finish line. I was in pain, and just mentally exhausted, and very disappointed in how everything went.

I told my husband I was done with marathons. He told me that I couldn't be because I was a marathoner now. No chance of going back.

I am proud of myself for finishing, but it was really hard, and I wish I could go back and do things differently.

I learned some hard lessons.

Good shoes are important.

When I got back, my aunt called me crazy, and bandaged my mangled feet for me. That is true love. They were a mess of loose skin, and a lot of blood when I took off my shoes. My husband was right though. I am not done with the marathon. We have unfinished business. So barring any life complications, and getting registered, I have decided to run the Vancouver Marathon in May. When I lived in Vancouver this was my bucket list race. It is the city where I first fell in love with running, and I feel like this just needs to happen.
I am moving on. I bought new shoes, which feel great, despite my blisters still healing, and I am hungry for more. I read this in a magazine I got in my race kit, and its now my mantra.
Training for Vancouver will kick off December 29th, and I will be using the Hanson's Marathon Method once again, for two reasons. One, I felt really strong, other than the blisters during the race, so I feel like the training panned out. And two, running in cold weather is hard, and I would rather run more often (even in -40º) than run farther. I hate being far from my house when it is -40º so I do loops around my neighbourhood. The less loops, the better. 26km is do-able in cold weather. More than that sounds like torture.


Edmonton Marathon: Last Day.

Today is my last run before the marathon.
I can't believe how fast this last 4 months have gone by.

The official training tally is as follows:
Number of times gone running: 90
Distance ran: 996.5km (The number junkie in me would love to run the extra 3.5km to make it an even 1000, but I am doing my best to resist.)
Time Spent Running: 101 hours

So the time and training has clearly been put in, now its just a matter of one foot in front of the other.

I've got this.
Can't wait to have this lovely little medal in my hands!

Edmonton Marathon - T-minus 10 days

Okay so... when did this become so close. I am not sure I want to run 42.2km in 10 days and 15 hours. I know I want the medal, and I want a PR though, and I would like all of this training to have a purpose... so I guess I have to run it.

Tomorrow is my last difficult run. TOMORROW! I have a 16km tempo run, and then I am basically home free. Or as close to home free as someone who has 75km of easy running to do can be. After tomorrow it will be all about keeping it nice and easy, and not letting my fast friends (you know who you are) coerce me into running a faster pace.

(Speaking of a faster pace though... I have been just killing it on my intervals lately)

Also I obviously need to work on my mental strategy, so as not to become a complete basket case prior to the race. Ann Trason (Otherwise known as the queen of Ultramarathons) states that it is just as important to mentally taper prior to a race, as it is to rest your legs. Both need to be fresh to get you across that finish line. So, after tomorrow, I am running for fun. No more race strategy thoughts, no more freaking out over my training. I have put the work in. I know it. I have only missed out on 12km of running over the course of the last 9 weeks of training. I buckled down, I ran when I was tired, when the weather was scorching, early in the morning, late at night, I ran with friends, I ran solo, I ran pushing a stroller, I ran tempo runs, I did interval running, I did my long runs on hilly terrain, I have done it all. I know I am stronger and fitter than ever right now, and if I can calm down and just run on race day I know it will be alright. I will make it to the finish alive.

That being said, my race strategy is pretty simple. Fuel smart, and stick like glue to the four hour pace group. Easy right?