I AM A MARATHONER!

Oct 13

I AM A MARATHONER!

Yesterday at 2:33 I completed the BMO Okanagan Marathon 2008. It took 7 hours, 33 minutes and 59 seconds. I was a ways off my goal time of 6 hours, and was second to last finishing, but I did it!

Finishing the Marathon

What surprised me

  • I was surprised at how difficult it really was. My longest training walk was 34k, and I did that one with no difficulty – in fact, I felt I could have gone much longer. This one started getting really hard around 20k, which for me is not a difficult distance. This was probably because my training has been so badly hindered these last few weeks with the sciatica and the exhaustion.
  • I was surprised at how often I had to stop and go to the bathroom! I don’t have that many options at home when I train, so I can’t go very often. On the walk I needed a bathroom about every 3 miles for the first 15 k or so. Ridiculous. Good thing I didn’t have anything to drink that morning!
  • I was also surprised at how few walkers I saw. There were about 50 of us at the starting line, and about 30 were only completing the half marathon, but there should have been more walkers along the route. I’m thinking they were doing a “walk-run” and so started with me, but then very soon they disappeared.
  • I was really surprised and discouraged to see how much of the route I needed to walk entirely alone. That was very hard. I sure appreciated the volunteers and police officers on that part of the walk, I can assure you. I was terrified that they’d dismantle the route before I finished, and that I’d get lost!
  • I was also surprised at how much pain I was in all last night, and even some this morning. I usually was stiff for a couple of hours after a long walk, but never like this. Oh my goodness! I have to use my hands to place my legs where they need to go!

What encouraged me

  • I loved the volunteers. They were fantastic. A couple of walkers near the end were also a great support, especially after I had walked almost half the distance totally alone with no other walker/runner in site. It was so lovely to see someone else – and so friendly! – still walking. I was able to make up for their friendliness by retrieving a little stuffed bear that one of them used as a “lucky charm” and get it back to her after the race. She was so pleased because that bear had been through a lot with her, and she cried when she realized she’d lost it.
  • I was pleased to see that I had brought exactly what I needed. It was really cold at the start (5 degrees C) but I chose to not wear a sweatshirt, jacket, or gloves as I didn’t want to have to carry them. After about 1.5 hours it warmed up, and I was quite comfortable. I also had enough trail mix and Energy Drink to get me through.
  • Having Tom, Joanne, Jaimey and Gord walk the last 2k with me was incredible. It made me cry. I was in such pain, and so exhausted I really doubted I could make those last two kilometers, but they made sure I did. I was surprised at how desperately I needed them to be there! Their support this weekend was beyond words. More about them on Wednesday!
  • I actually completed it! There were some dicey moments, but for most of it I didn’t have much option except to keep going – which was good – but those last couple of kilometers when the tents were in site, but I had to take the long way around were murder!

What I learned for next time

  • Well, it was pretty obvious that I need to train differently. My next step is to get a good heart rate monitor, and then get out the Maffetone book and set up my training using that. I think I’ll be MUCH less tired on the big day if I follow his guidelines.
  • Get the massage. I signed up for their 20 minute post-race massage on a whim. I’m not sure I could have walked to the car without it. Pain never felt so good! Thanks, Dana!
  • Hydrate better the days before, and do more research on nutrition. I think I might have done better had I been better hydrated before I started, and had I done the maximum with nutrition during the training. So much to learn!

And there you have it! I’ve done the marathon. In spite of it all, I can hardly wait to train for the next one – but I won’t be doing ANY training, this week! I’ll be glad if I can walk unassisted to the bathroom!

Darlene

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