Sunday was the Saskatchewan Marathon in which I was running the half marathon. Having only gotten out of a boot cast for a bad sprain two months prior, I started the day with my only goal to get close to my old PR.
My HEART was a different story. I wanted to break 2:30 for the first time. One of my best friends was pacing the group, and I knew with her encouragement I could do it.
The first 5 km of the race was through residential area. At first I was dreading this as I find residential BORING. However the first 5 km everyone was still close together, it doubled back on itself and there were tons of people cheering. By the time we got to the river trail I thought, oh wow! Its just like starting a regular run, I just have to go a shorter distance now!
Running a 7min/km pace felt hard, but do-able. Around 12km I realized I had to use the washroom and use my inhaler, but didn’t want to stop and risk loosing my pacer. I ate two gels-pretty much forcing them down on Becky’s advice knowing I would need the energy later. By 14km, I NEEDED to stop [I was majorly regretting cutting my digestion time pre-race by half an hour]. I picked up my pace to PAST comfortably hard, hard as I could go to get to the washroom for…
SOME SPECTATOR KID TO SWIPE THE ONLY BATHROOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I couldn’t wait. I knew if my pacer passed me, I would have a really hard time getting back to her.
I slowed for a mini-tantrum. HA! My eyes were watering, I had rage inside me [yes, I know, kids can’t hold their bladders…rationally, I’m not mad….irrationally in my “IM GOING TO KILL A 6 YEAR DREAM” head I was RAGING. It was all I could do not to scream at the mother as I ran by. There were literally public bathrooms 300 meters away.] Becky caught up to me and I am sure she could tell I was defeated. She pointed out the bathrooms up ahead and I went for the sprint. I knew if she got more than 30 seconds ahead of me I wouldn’t be able to catch her.
I sprinted along the course to the public bathrooms. I went faster than ever in my life, one minute. I sprinted back out. I saw Becky in the distance. I ran as hard as I possibly could. Possibly harder than I ever had to try to get back with her and the group. I could see her in the distance for a full 2-2.5km. She was SO close, but I was burning every ounce of extra energy I had to try and catch her. TMI alert: I was running so hard, I vomited in my mouth, and swallowed again in an attempt to KEEP GOING.
I approached the south bridge which has a slow incline. She was at the end of the bridge [thanks to a bright orange tank I could find her]. I tried as hard as I have ever tried for anything. The incline started, and I just knew, I couldn’t keep this pace any longer. I would have to push myself to try my best, and PR as close to 2:30 as I could.
I slowed my pace back to my goal pace and kept going. Within another 2-3 km my pace slowed dramatically. I was 1 minute slower per KM. I downed almost an entire pack of gel dummies desperate for energy. All of that sprinting wore me out early.
I knew that if I didn’t PR at least, I would never forgive myself for giving up.
I pressed on at 90% effort. The hardest I have ever worked in a race, EVER.
In my head I kept calculating how many minutes behind I was. FINALLY I was on the final stretch. I could see the finish line.
400 meters left, I had plenty of time to PR. Becky ran back for me. All I could say was “I tried so hard to catch you” through tears. I was so emotional I could barely breath. I had to beg her, and a few seconds later, my husband, not to talk to me so I could at least breath and finish strong. Becky took my camel back to lighten the zone and I ran the last 300 meters at a pace around 5:28 according to my watch. If you saw me dragging it in, you probably would have thought I was a robot. I wasn’t smiling. My eyes were on the prize.
I finished in 2:34:59. 11 whole minutes off my previous personal best. Almost 5 minutes off of the dream I had been chasing for 6 years….and while I didn’t believe I could achieve until mid race, had my heart set on.
Now, I am selfishly bummed. Im trying to be so happy with my accomplishment. I PR’d by such a large amount. I ran the hardest emotional and physical race I have ever run. I all out sprinted 2.5km…..and I can’t stop thinking about 2:30.
I could have done it. I COULD HAVE DONE IT.
The fire is inside me. Now to find a race….
PS. Don’t ask me about aid stations or any of that jazz- the only ones I really remember were at 4km and 14km[with the dang kid], but I was so zoned in and focused I can’t remember. I DO know 14km only had ONE porta potty. I know they were often, I was just trying to run my hardest and zone them out. I wore a camel back with my energy and water.