2:11:16.2, a personal best (PB)

(Originally posted on a now-defunct blog. Posted here November 21, 2006.)

i was pretty nervous going in on a few grounds….

  • being utterly alone throughout the race
  • appearing an oddball running all alone, bopping to my music… and at the back of the whole pack
  • passing out at the 1:30:00 mark. that was my longest run in the past month. or otherwise cramping up.
  • falling further and further behind the 2:15:00 pack, or inadvertantly trying to keep up with them (my projected time was 2:30:00) and screwing myself up (i trained at 5.6 mph while the 2:15’s were running at 5.86 mph)
  • getting too much or not enough water
  • failing myself….

after the friendship run

marathon runners were invited to participate in the friendship run lead by john stanton, founder of the running room. really nice and affable guy who has run in 56 half or full marathons. he gave us some advice and three power words to repeat to ourselves during the race:

relax. power. glide.he’s the 2:15 pace bunny, that is, he runs at a pace to finish the marathon after 2 hours 15 minutes. my heart fell because i wanted to be a part of his group! fortunately, there will be a 2:30 pace bunny, too, so i just have to stay between these groups.

it was kind of surreal to be in the running room, wearing a running room jacket, surrounded by all these runners most of whom were also wearing running room gear. i realized that the photos of people modeling running room gear included pictures of him. it felt kind of cultish.

would you believe that i was concocting my blog entry while running in the race?

here are some thoughts….

  • i was at the back of the pack in the chute. identified the 2:30 pace bunny (to recognize her) and was the 2:15 pace bunny (i could easily recognize him).
  • learned that running alone in a marathon is not bad. i could weave around in the crowd at my leisure, not one else having different bursts of energy speeding or slowing me down.
  • it really is an individual thing, trying to better yourself. bringing along music and being a “loner” was totally acceptable afterall.
  • the whole city seemed to shut down for us. i was pleased to see all sorts of people come out to cheer us on at all points of the route.
  • comparing my pace with some random person’s wasn’t a good idea – i have no idea what their pace is and they can be as erratic as i was.
  • bruising your ankle the night before against your bed frame is not a good idea.
  • at the pace i had (6.21 minutes / km), it didn’t seem like the race was a pressing issue but you are constantly wearing yourself down. it was tempting to let rest periods become closer together and for longer but… then you consider how much you want it all to be over, to just go home. and so you keep going, keeping the rest intervals sufficiently far apart. i learned in that what it means to be in competition with yourself.
  • john stanton told us about how we’d hit a wall around 1:30 when you switch your fuel source from readily-available sugar to your stored fat. and it would be a lowpoint… oh was it ever!
  • had a half hour of cramps. thought i was going to seriously blow even my worse-case time, (2:30)… but i was still ahead of the 2:15 pace bunny, which baffled me
  • thought i could do the last kilometer straight but i bailed about 500 m from the finish line for a break… so at least i could be running past the finish line!
  • you get a medallion for completing the race! :)
  • i couldn’t have done it without my mp3 player… or little competitions with people around me.
  • having a bag check was invaluable. i totally needed a blanket, long pants, and a dry shirt. could also have used a change of shoes and socks!
  • it was kind of surreal to finish. i was in such a daze.

so, in summary, i would do it again. in fact, i’ll definitely come back next year to do it! and check out for a marathon to train for near where i’ll be next year. and having achieved the above time (the fastest time was 1:09:something), i have to improve upon it. in any case, i’m proud of myself (pat, pat on my back) for doing better than my predicted time (2:30) that would require going slower than on the treadmill and better than my calculated time (2:19, based on treadmill speed). that would basically mean my dreams were fulfilled!

(i’m considering doing the halfer at the marathon by the sea in saint john, nb, on august 8th. i think i’ve gone insane.)

another packed week coming up….

now life can go back to normal… except next week is anything but normal what with my sister’s convocation on tuesday with a fabulous dinner and dessert planned, watching cats at neptune theatre on wednesday preceded by dinner (of course), if time permits, m. and i will get around to rock-climbing this week (because we didn’t last), and continued mad thesis writing. i haven’t even figured out “spontaneous” activities yet…. will it ever end??

On this day..