Tag Archives: spectators

Boulevard of broken dreams

Dear Marathon,
You and me, we are so over. And let me be clear on this, it was you, not me that ruined this relationship. Yes, yes, I know I was the one who sought you out, who longed for your elusive, bad boy ways, but I’ve done you twice now, and both times you kind of sucked ass. I mean seriously, did you really think we were going to last when you repeatedly punched me in the gut for 20 straight kilometres, and joyously cackled when my legs seized up at 30 kms, and laughed at my blister-clad feet, and taunted me with every shaky step I took. Really? Yeah, no. And don’t you try to come crawling back to me with your gold trinkets, because it won’t work, I’m done, I’m moving on … with your half cousin! Who’s laughing now jerk face?
Sincerely, Princess

6:30 a.m. BG before: 8.4 (1 Sharkies)
Temp. basal: -50 per cent (5.5 hours)
Distance: 42.2 km
Average pace: 6:35 min/km
Time: 4:44:24 (chip time)
@45 min: 1 fig newton + 1 DEX. @90 min: 1/2 a racecake. @2:15: 2 DEX (after that, food kind of fell off the map)

12:00 p.m. BG after: 4.8

The upside of this marathon is I shaved 10 minutes and 17 seconds off my Portland time making it another personal best just two weeks after garnering that amazing half PB in Toronto. The downside, I wanted to do better. I started out great, like really great, I was keeping a consistent 6:00 minute per kilometre pace and was on par for a 4:15 finishing time for about 23 km of the race, despite the feeling of blisters forming on my left foot at about 17 km in and the tossing and turning of my belly, which started at about 10 km in and continued right up until about 32 km.

6 km: Running like a kid!

13 km: Still smiling!

20.5 km: Little Miss Speedy Gonzalez caught up and surged ahead like nothing, finishing nearly 20 minutes ahead of me!

The second half of the race, I completely fell apart, 100 per cent. My stomach got worse, the thought of food had me gagging, my legs seized up, I was over-heating, I ran out of water, a couple of the water stations had also run low on water, I was fatigued like I’d never been fatigued before, and with about 9 km to go, I found it increasingly harder to muster up the energy to dig deeper. My pace slowed, my walk breaks lengthened, and I started questioning why the hell I was putting myself through such torture?

24 km: Starting to feel the boulevard of broken dreams

And yet despite me falling apart, and despite my goal of a 4:15 finish crashing and burning, and despite my vow never to return, this marathon had to have been one of the most special races I have ever completed. And I owe it all to the people.

Going into this race, I was skeptical. I didn’t think a small-town event could compare to the likes of Portland or Toronto, not even close. Well, it’s time for a retraction. The smaller race atmosphere had me running next to two guys I had never met and would never have talked to at a big race. But for almost the entire run, we ran together, paced each other, encouraged each other.

Thanks 5451!

And while there weren’t thousands of spectators lining the streets, there were way more than I thought there would be, and not just people cheering on their respective runners, but also people who lived at the houses and farms we ran by: an old guy who lined up water bottles and coke cans on his fence and who himself was perched on his front porch waving and smiling; kids scribbling encouraging messages on the pavement with coloured chalk; hockey fanatics blaring a “score” horn and a recording of fans cheering every time one of us runners passed by. And the most special of all were my cheerleaders!

Mario had mapped out a route for him and his Lapierre to meet me at various spots along the course, which was awesome, and kept me in such high spirits as it gave me something to look forward to.

Lapierre in the country.

At 30 km, when my mind started failing me, I saw this woman bouncing all over the place and across the street from her, I saw this guy buried in the high grass with just his head and shoulders showing and I was like what the hell, I couldn’t figure it out. As I got closer, I realized it was Mario, but why was his back to me, why was his camera directed at the crazy lady across the street? And then I figured it out. MOM!

Look at that sign!!!

At 34 km, my brother and sisters and nephews joined the cheering squad, and my goodness they were so super loud, I could hear them from practically a kilometre back – it was a boost I so desperately needed!

A princess-perfect pit crew!

I had no idea my sister was running after me until I saw the video after 😀

They are the reason I finished this race. They are the reason I kept to my motto: Run like a kid. Finish with a smile. How could I not smile with those cheers? And with my birthday just six days a way (Happy almost birthday to me!) I can honestly say, I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect present!

Finishing with a smile!

Thanks guys! Love you to pieces!

Prospect: lonely road

I should have known – I should have known! How can an inaugural marathon, in my hometown no less, possibly compare to a 40-year-old marathon in one of my most favourite cities that consistently brings out tens of thousands of people? It can’t. No possible way. Abbotsford is not Portland, not even close. So really, I shouldn’t have been too, too surprised that the upcoming marathon is turning out to be a bit of a, uhm, bush-league operation dare I say.

I know I shouldn’t be hard on it, it’s in its first year, it’s raising money for a great cause, and I haven’t even run the blimy thing. It could be great for all I know. But, quite honestly, I was spoiled by Portland. Yes it rained like a bloody mofo, but the expo was pretty awesome and they really did treat you like a superstar as we should be treated. And then last weekend in Toronto, while the expo wasn’t nearly as extravagant, it was still pretty good. And I guess I’ve come to kind of expect, when I run these distances, to get treated like a princess, I mean really, is that so much to ask for? Really?

Apparently it is. Last week I got an email from the organizers informing me that there would be 200 marathoners, and I know that they couldn’t exactly control how many people signed up for the race, but still my heart plummeted a little. While I’m not a huge fan of people (sorry guys), I do like that atmosphere of people around me, people to chase, people to get annoyed with when they pass me, people to understand my desires and my pains, people who wouldn’t even blink an eye with thoughts of crazy when I start belting out Livin’ On a Prayer in the last 10 kms. But on Sunday, am I really going to have that? Or, am I going to be facing a whole lot of lonely road?

And with that, how many cheerleaders are going to be on the sidelines yelling out our names, cheering us on, pushing us that one step further? Those cheerleaders are so, so important and I really do fear we will be lacking that this time around. Luckily for me, I’ve got a rather large extended family who, hear me now dear brothers and sisters, I will dig out the voodoo dolls for if they don’t come out. (ps. They can cheer you all on too :D)

Now I can’t promise they’ll be dressed in such fancy duds, but I have heard that one or two of them might be in spandex!!!

I was also notified that the roads would only be open for 5 hours, which for me shouldn’t be too big a deal as long as nothing goes wrong, but what about the first time marathoners, what about the ones who hit the wall, who have pukey bellies, or are hobbling on a IT band crippled leg just to make it to that finish line? How defeating would that be, working so hard to make it to the finish line and there not actually be a finish line. And yes I know it’s a huge rigamarole to close down the roads, etc., etc., but shouldn’t that have been thought of? Oh wait, it was. Apparently if some people don’t feel they can finish in that time, they can start at 6 a.m. – when the roads are not yet closed off! Awesome.

And my final gripe is that they’ve only got the package pickup on one day – with NO expo by the way (but I wasn’t really expecting one) – and that one day is on Saturday, which means, I’m going to have to drive into Abbotsford when I was hoping I’d be able to pick it up on the Friday on my way home from work. Can you say inconvenient?

But then again, I knew in January when I signed up for this marathon that it wasn’t for the locale, and it sure as heck wasn’t for the loot. This marathon, as flawed as it may be, has something that Portland never had: my favourite running chicks! So, it really can’t be that bad can it 😀

What was your best/worst race?