So I woke up Sunday March 24th ready to go I had everything planned in my head. Breakfast was steel cut oatmeal with berries and coffee with a liter of water. Got all the other business out of the way before my ride showed, had to back track for a race bib, but all kinds of time till the race kicked off. Oh for those who have never been to a big race parking sucks so show early.
So I am standing with my friend Joe in Copps Colosseum waiting till we head to the general coral , at the back, starting to feel nervous and wanting to get going. The waiting is always the part I hate make you do stupid things, like sprint out of the gate or position yourself in the wrong area, this was not one of those times though. The big thing was the unknown, a distance never traveled before and an area I have never run in. On the way to the coral I ran in to my brother and sister in-law which helped shack off some of the apprehension, which was nice. In the coral though it came back along with the hint that I needed to pee but with a line up for the porto potties and time getting close to the start of the race I choose to hold out, wrong choice.
The horn sounds and it is a leisurely walk up to the line then we were off. Started off with Joe and we were holding around a 6:30/km which was the goal for him and I felt comfortable so we ran for the first 8 km together till my earlier decision to not pee came back to haunt me. Joe kept going and I pulled off into a church that was kind enough to be open to allow runners use of the bathrooms. It was a minor detour but it lead to a series of bad choices. To start when I got out I felt light and re-leaved, so rookie mistake I tried to catch up running a 5:15/km pace. Dumb idea, I wasted energy and never came into eye shot of Joe. So after 5 km of being a moron I feel back to a 6:30/km pace. All was going well except I started to get a cramp in my left bicep, no amount of shaking it out or quick stretch was making it go away. So with arms now almost straight I continued to run, royal messed with my mechanics but I was not giving up only coming up on the half way. Pace took a hit too down to a 7:00/km, something simple can lead to major changes. Once you have hit the half way the road grade from center line to curb is drastic and I was not ready for it. This lead to a weak inside left ankle to go from weak to sore and by 22.5 km I had no choice but to walk. I was so mad cause I had 2 goals, to run the whole and to be under 3:30 when I crossed the line. Neither was happening now and I had to admit the minor defeat and change my goal to finishing.
The last 8 km’s (the hilly area for the most part) was a battle of will and understanding limits. It was humbling at points cause ego had to be removed altogether to reach the new end goal. I really wanted to run The Hill but I knew if I did I would not finish the race, so I walked it. Once a the top of the hill I was running for a 2 minutes and walking for 1. This was the pattern till I could see the 29 km marker. Letting my ego and will take over I jogged to the entrance of Copps Colosseum and head in, once I came to the last bend and saw the finish I pushed as hard as I could. I crossed with the clock at 3:57 (watch showed 3:47). It was the first time I have experienced being this drained and excited. I wanted to drop and cry for so many reasons, frustration of failing to achieve my goals, amazed i finished something so challenging and just sheer pain and exhaustion.
I have learned a lot from this and hope to apply the new knowledge to next year, cause I will be back and next year I will run the whole thing and I will be below 3:30.
On another note the support of the community is incredible and it was a major lift at points to see strangers cheering us on. Thank you to all who came out and made us feel like we were not alone.