In the lead up to the Road2Hope Hamilton Marathon, I didn’t think much about my time goal. I’ve been there too many times. Overthinking things is not productive, for me at least. Despite my Achilles injury this summer, and the two weeks off-ish during our wedding and honeymoon, I knew that I was more than ready for a breakthrough PB. By how much was the question. To understand where I was mentally, it’s worthwhile telling you where I’ve been at these past few months. I was fed up (and fired up) after finishing the Ottawa Marathon. Finishing in 3:55 did not represent my training. It was hot, I know, but its hard to convince a determined marathoner that the race was “out of my control”. In training for Hamilton, I knew I had a 3:45 in me. Heck, I think there’s a BQ in there too.
I arrived at my parents place in Niagara on Friday evening. I stayed there for the weekend, as Hamilton is close by. Saturday morning I went for a 4K shakeout run, as I normally do. I didn’t realize how much I wanted this race to go well until I started tearing up while I was out there. So many things raced through my mind. The people who have played a role and supported me in getting here, the work I have put in this past year (and the years leading up to this), and how FED UP I was with having another “it wasn’t the race I wanted” marathon. I made a pact with myself that Sunday would be a No Regrets race. Let’s go.
The rest of Saturday was low-key, filled with lots of carbs, water and Nuun. In previous races I’ve shyed away from *too many* carbs in fear of feeling bloated and gross, and then only to feel empty by 25K. This time I kicked my carbs way up and limited the fat and protein in my diet. Glycogen depletion, I got your number. I was in bed by 8:00pm. My mind had started to race and I knew I would be up early, despite the clocks falling back an hour. I set my alarm for 4:40am and let myself picture a few kilometres of the race before falling asleep. Others count sheep, I guess.
Sunday morning I got up, had my coffee and Picky Bar. I was anxious, but in a good way. It was a perfect day outside, with a low of 4ºC with a high of 11ºC; sunny, with a bit of cloud cover. Frig, I thought. This is the race day I’ve been chasing. We left the house around 6:15am and arrived at the Road2Hope Marathon start around 7:10am. Just enough time for me to wait in line for the port-o-potty (ick) and get to the start. My parents and I had agreed on the spots they’d cheer.
(1-5K) Go-time. Given my last minute jump into the corral (re: toilet), I started the race behind the 3:55 bunny. I didn’t plan to run with a bunny, but would use them as markers along the way. My plan was to race a conservative first half. I managed to pass the 3:55 bunny and caught up with the 3:45 around 5K. (5:11, 5:05, 5:13, 5:10, 5:08)
(6-12K) I settled into my pace and militantly told myself to stay there. I talk to myself a lot on runs and races. I could tell early on that I was in a good place at how calm and confident I was. These paces didn’t scare me. In fact, they felt very easy. More times than I’d like to admit, I allow my mind to get anxious and I start to doubt myself way too early on. This was not going to be that day. I saw my parents around 12K and handed off my gloves. (5:11, 5:03, 5:20, 5:05, 5:21, 5:11, 5:14)
(13-21K) Around 15K I decided I would not even think about making a move re: pace until after the half. Sit tight and remain calm. Just another day running around the Rideau Canal. I mentally pictured myself at 16K starting my second loop around the Canal. I know that 30K route like the back of my hand and know I can cover the distance comfortably. And, after all, the real race doesn’t begin until 30K. I crossed the half in 1:50-ish. Keep your head, Jayme. We’re still getting warmed up. (5:15, 5:15, 5:13, 5:16, 5:12, 5:15, 5:12, 5:08, 5:10)
Check back Friday for Part II of my Road2Hope Marathon Race Report!