Monday, September 01, 2008

And the verdict is:

I am standing on my own two feet, even after 3:41:15 and 35.31K on the road yesterday. I can't believe I did it!

I arose at the ungodly hour of 5:00AM (this is one thing I will not miss!) and was pleased to discover that I was feeling quite a bit better than Saturday. As usual, I choked down a protein shake and as much oatmeal as I could stomach and set out to meet the marathon group at 6.

There was quite a crowd in the dark parking lot, most huddled in small clusters keeping one another warm (it was a cool 11C when we started). I found the one person I knew and was introduced to a few others who I would be going to battle with over the next several hours. It was a great bunch of people with a wide variety of age groups, experience levels and goals. It's amazing how quickly you can get to know a person when you're pounding the pavement for 3+ hours.

We set out in two pace groups of about 20 people each. I was in the "slow" group (target pace 6:15) and the fast group started 15 minutes later but would over-take us around the half-way point. We took to the dark and quiet country roads, warming up quickly and grateful for the comfortable temperature compared to last weekend's 6AM humidity.

The first 10K went by quickly and smoothly. There was good conversation and plenty of distraction (including being chased by 2 dobermans). We took one-minute walk breaks approximately every 15 minutes, which I adjusted to almost immediately, and maintained a pace around 6:20. Our group gradually split in two and sometime after 10K I inadvertently found myself smack dab in the middle of the two groups and running solo, which is nothing unfamiliar but a little lonely without music. I knew we would be stopping for water around 22K so I continued on my merry way and decided I'd re-join the group for the home stretch. My pace was closer to 6:00 from 10-22K.

The rest stop was a god-send and gave me a chance to empty my bladder, refill my bottles, fill up on oranges and recompose myself for the remaining 13K, which would undoubtedly be harder than the first 22. After a brief break, I headed out for the home stretch with 6 others who would keep me sane for the next (almost) hour and a half.

The first 30K were relatively comfortable and seemed almost too easy. I realized that I had achieved two new milestones: topping 30K and breaking the 3-hour barrier. I celebrated briefly, but the diatance soon started to take its toll. The last few kilometres were extraordinarily difficult. Toward the end I could hardly feel my legs and had to will myself to take each step. Approaching 10:00, the sun was now high in the sky and although it only reached 20C, it felt a lot hotter as we ran along the black asphalt. It was on the final stretch that we encountered the first signs of traffic, which was an abrupt change from the peaceful scenery we enjoyed throughout most of the run.

I had run out of water and took two short walk breaks in the last 2KM. We were no longer talking at this point, but silently encouraging one another to just keep moving. Before long, we could see the instructor parked at an intersection and realized we had done it. He encouraged us to walk the kilometre back to the parking lot where we would be rewarded with ice cold water and cookies, and plenty of high fives and pats on the back.

The final numbers:

Avg. pace 6:15/KM (right on target!)
Calories: 3868
Garmin data

Overall, it was a great run. I don't know that I could have completed this run on my own and I'm truly grateful for the handful of people who kept me going when the going got tough.

I still can't believe I ran that far, but it gives me a lot of confidence that I can run 42.2. 27 days to go.


Road Warrior said...

Congrats on the long run, Marlene. This is just the type of confidence you need before going into the marathon. That day will be a celebration of all of your hard work.

Plus, you can eat WHATEVER you want that day... certainly a huge plus for me!

Melanie said...

great job on the run and of course you can do it :) hoping to be there cheering you on!

Marci said...

Way to go Marelene, you can totally run the distance. I know you will do amazing at Scotia.

BTW - How are you likely your nike+ band? I notice the total time is different from the moving time. Why is there a discrepency? I am thinking of getting one and posting my runs as well to keep me motivated.

Lily on the Road said...

Good job! Hope you're feeling much better! Better to get it over with now and not in a couple of weeks!!

Way to GO!