To start, I’ll put this out there: I have always wanted to run a marathon. Even years ago, when I was just running 3 miles a day on the treadmill, I always pictured myself finishing a marathon at the end of my workouts (occasionally at the Olympics, which I had somehow qualified for despite running around an 11min/mile pace for only 3 miles). So yeah, this post is gonna be lonnnng. Grab yourself some candy, Sam-style, and kick back for this report.
Overall, my training for this was pretty decent. Was averaging 30-40 miles a week for the last 3 months or so. Set a new PR at the Winnipeg Police Services Half Marathon in May, bettering my time from last year’s half marathon by 22 minutes. So I was feeling pretty good.
Right around the week before taper, I ended up with a few nagging injuries that I just couldn’t seem to kick. A groin pain that was twinge-y whenever I started running and often throughout, and a wicked shin splint on the opposite leg. I had dealt with the shin splint pain before and knew I could run through it, but was surprised that it still felt so bad in the last week when I had barely run at all. Started to get worried that I might not be able to finish this thing. All I could do was start the race and hope for the best.
Woke up at 4am. Actually, the term “woke up” is a bit of a misnomer, as “waking up” implies that one has been sleeping, and not just lying in bed with their eyes closed for 5 hours. I attempted to cram some instant oatmeal down my gullet and immediately became nauseated. Attempted to go to the bathroom and ease my pre-race jitters, no luck there either. Ended up just taking Immodium about half an hour before the race, as I really didn’t want to have any stomach episodes during the race, which I think was a good decision.
Got down to the Smart Start Shuttle area around 5:45, opted to get on the bus with the angry Asian bus driver because who doesn’t love being around an angry Asian bus driver at 5:45am when they’ve got pre-race nervousness? No one, that’s who! Chatted up a nice lady on the bus who was doing the Half, which put my nerves somewhat at ease.
Made my way to the start line after a brief portapotty stop. Wandered around a bit, watched the Mini Mites race and it was ADORABLE! The kids are around 2-5 years old for that one and it’s a pretty short race, but it was so cute. A little girl won it, go girls!
After that, it was almost time to begin. Caught up with my DailyMile.com friend, Manuel and had a brief chat and exchanged well-wishes.
Shortly thereafter, we were off, blazing out of the start line to the sounds of Chariots of Fire. I thought it was cheesy when I did the Half Marathon and they started that way, but for the full, it was perfect. I had a plan to dedicate every mile to a person in my life that meant something to me, and I did that with varying degrees of success. I occasionally got caught up in thinking about other things, or forgot who had what mile, but rest assured I thought of everyone important to me throughout the race!
My splits breakdown here is a bit off, but I’ll just roll with it since the Garmin seemed a bit off today too.
Mile 1 – 10:24 - Dedicated to Emily, for all the awesome physiotherapy she “donated” which helped keep me from being even more injured. Started off pleasant, uneventful. Enjoyed the Fabuki Daiko drumming as usual!
Mile 2 – 10:30 - Thought about Garner, kicking ass on the half marathon course. Still feeling quite decent, surprisingly didn’t swallow any mosquitos during this mile, unlike last time.
Mile 3 – 10:30 - For Jen! She got me through some tough times emotionally. Still feeling quite good here, of course.
Mile 4 – 10:38 - For Neil! Always appreciate his honesty and nerd-ery. Managed to suck back a gel and take some water without walking this mile, thanks to my homemade running straw. Instructions: Take regular bendy straw. Cut off half. Stick in cup. Secure in sports bra for safe-keeping.
Mile 5 – 10:34 - For my cousin Becky! Thought about the great times we had as kids and how she bounced back so quick from her recent knee surgery. Slight upslope here before turning back onto Pembina. I remembered how much that stressed me out during my first half marathon and it just felt like the nothing it was today.
Mile 6 – 10:40 - For Little Pam! I should’ve put on “Informer” for this mile, haha. Was relieved when the Half Marathoners split off here, as it left a lot more room on the road. Was less relieved when I realized I had to run all the way around the Jubilee overpass instead of running straight through underneath, like I had assumed (for no reason at all, seriously, it was on the map).
Mile 7 – 10:28 - My little niece Piper, who I finally get to see in a week and a half! Thought of her bright blue eyes and sweet face for most of this mile. The thought of her was much better than the visual of the random scary clown spectator outside of the Manitoba Hydro building. Good for her for cheering, but yuck, clowns. Around here is where the mile markers seemed to start disappearing…
Mile 8 – 10:50 - For Mr. Chris Pointon! Had some sweet 90s tunes playing during this mile. At this point, I was starting to get a bit tired and was really wishing the incessantly talking/cheering/woo-hooing girl runners near me would get the fuck out. Otherwise, still feeling pretty positive. Kind of wondered how far off my Garmin was at this point, as I had no mile markers to compare it to.
Mile 9 – 10:50 - For my sister. I’m sure she would have appreciated the guy dragged out in a glitter wig, glittery top and skirt, dancing around to “I’m a Sweet Transvestite” from the Rocky Horror Picture Show on this mile. Probably a little more than the family with a small child that was standing near them did. Also saw an old coworker from my Museum days during this mile.
Mile 10 – 10:54 - For Al & Sarah. We always have so much fun with those guys. This mile was pretty uneventful. Grabbed a sponge for the first time here, as I was starting to get really hot. I also started to get the “I have to pee” feeling. Little did I know how long I would have to deal with this…
Mile 11 – 11:06 - For my nephew Coen. Had to keep picturing him telling me, “Come ON, Auntie Sam!”, he’s a fast little guy. Slowed down a bit in this mile, though I don’t remember taking water or anything.
Mile 12 – 10:51 - Sara Maximus! Was thinking of her struggles at the moment and mentally willing her to tough it out, as well as myself. This mile was kind of yucky, as it was on hot Portage Avenue and there was a lot of car exhaust.
Mile 13 – 10:51 - For Steph, my most earnest friend. Still feeling decent here, saw Jeope here and gave him a hello and quick salute. Starting to feel more urgently like I have to pee…
Mile 14 – 10:44 - For giggly Trish. Stopped for a quick walk break to drink and sponge off here, but must have picked it up to make up the difference. Maybe because I saw my parents, Nik and my Aunt Lucy here. They had the noisemakers going, which all the runners seemed to really appreciate.
Mile 15 – 11:06 - For my cousin Cheryl, always supportive of the sporting endeavours. Slowed down a bit here and started to take my gel, hoping there’d be a water station coming up soon. Preferably with toilets. Around here, my legs started getting stiff as well. There was also a man dancing around with no shirt and “YES, YOU CAN!” printed on his stomach, giving out high fives with giant foam hands on. I’m not ashamed to say I accepted one.
Mile 16 – 11:08 - For James and Lisanne, who worked so hard to make a dream come true. More slowing here, as I had to take water with my gel, but there were still NO PORTAPOTTIES! What the hell? The map said they would be here! Had to walk a fair bit of this mile as my bladder was starting to send me some serious warnings whenever I ran. One particular spectator looked very disappointed in me. I should have peed on her.
Mile 17 – 12:03 - For Auntie Betty, always supportive of my running and races! Still walking a fair bit here, the bladder was not pleased. Saw the family again, which gave me a bit of a boost, though I ended up walking over most of the St. Mary’s bridge, due to heat and bladder.
Mile 18 – 12:41 - For my oldest friend, Julia! Sweet merciful crap, a toilet, finally! Was starting to become seriously concerned I would pee on myself at that point. Lost some time, but it was worth it to feel so much better. Around this time, I noticed just how badly my back was hurting.
Mile 19 – 12:03 - Shannon, I know I said I wouldn’t walk during your mile, but you’ll at least appreciate that I did make a good effort here. I was walking when she tweeted me, which made me run again up to the water station just before mile 20. Walked here to conserve some energy for the next mile. Core temperature starting to feel very high.
Mile 20 – 11:45 - For Ivan. This was my most important mile. I made sure to run the whole thing, however slowly. I figured there’s no way I was suffering more than Ivan’s been with his leg, so I just mentally heard him telling me to not be such a pussy for this mile. Seemed to work!
Mile 21 – 12:27 - For Dana, who helped me run the last few miles! He had just finished his relay leg and joined me for the last 5.2 miles. Saw my family here one last time before the finish and just started to try to run as much as I could without overheating. Started dousing water on my head around here. Also passed the two “hot chicks” that started out way too fast in the beginning, which made me feel good, in an evil way.
Mile 22 – 13:26 - For Manuel, such a strong runner. I’m sort of ashamed of how much I walked this mile, but there was a family giving out freezies and I refused to pass that up. It was such a blessing though, as it lowered my core temperature and allowed me to continue a bit fresher.
Mile 23 – 12:54 - For Amy, who’s super tough and has admirable stoicism, especially lately. Got a bit better here. The detour through St. Vital Park was nice and shady, a very good course change for them to make. Legs so sore though, so sore. There was also a guy offering gels, water or an ice cold Coke, and all I could think about was how good that Coke would taste, but I feared it would cause a stomach revolt and I couldn’t risk that so close to the finish.
Mile 24 – 13:00 - For my wonderful fiance, Nik. I struggled here, but noticed that when I was running, I was still hitting pretty good paces. Decided to put the sub-5hr goal on hold and just enjoy myself.
Mile 25 – 12:24 - For my mom, whose consistent running I always admired as a kid. This is when you get into the hideous, sundrenched Bishop Grandin area. I don’t mind the “hills” (seriously folks, even after a marathon, those are nothing), but the baking hot concrete almost made me walk the whole way. Luckily, “Moves Like Jagger” popped on the playlist and I thought, “Yes, I do have the moves like Jagger. Mick Jagger is probably about 100 years old and riddled with arthritis at this point, so this seems about right.” Whatever, it kept me running…
Mile 26 – 12:57 - For my dad because it’s Father’s Day and I think he secretly wishes he could run a marathon. Even though it was the last mile, it was still a bit of a struggle. Admittedly, I did sandbag it a little bit here as I wanted to have a strong finish on the track.
Last .2 – ?:?? - For ME! Ran the last third of a mile or so, picked it up on the track for a strong finish complete with dorky fist pumping, then as usual, promptly forgot to turn off my Garmin. Lots of high fives from the great teenage volunteers at the finish line. Meet up with the parents, then quickly off to grab some free food and popsicles.
Finish – 5:04:09
And that’s that! This was super long, but well, so are marathons. I didn’t quite meet my goal, but I had a great time and kept a positive attitude for the entire race, which NEVER HAPPENS for me, so I’d consider that a success!