Is There a Road to Hope – Marathon Report

I kind of get quiet when life as a runner is not going well.  So it takes a while to gather up the motivation to put into words what is happening. But here it is.

I trained hard this Summer. I pushed myself, ran about the same mileage as my previous highest mileage period where I ran my PB of 3:18:20. I ate well, not perfect, but well. I cross trained, but not that often. I got more sleep than usual. I cut out alcohol, but not as much as I did when I ran my 2 PBs.

Unfortunately, I have not been 100% healthy in the legs dept. I went through a long period of time where I was injury free, other than an old nagging hamstring issue which usually only gets to me after about 2 hours of continuous running. But towards the end of this summer,  I suffered through some Achilles tendon issues – then on race day #1, The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, the lingering hamstring issue, that normally is just a nagging pain, became worse than ever and shut me down. I don’t know if that is why I also felt like I hit the wall at 23K but for some reason, after running the first half, only 2 minutes faster than any other 1st half of a marathon, I was done. I struggled through, wanting to quit, didn’t and the last hour felt like 2. I was surprised actually when I made the final turn to see the 3:32 on the clock. I managed to put this behind me pretty quickly and started looking forward to a rest – then train for Boston 2012.

Then, I realized, I really thought I had something left to give this autumn and through the powers that be, my wife’s goodwill and good nature, I signed up for and ran the Road to Hope Marathon in Hamilton last week. 2 marathons 3 weeks apart is not unheard of. Whether I could come anywhere near my goal was to be seen. Mentally, I was ready and positive that I could. Physically I felt good, rested, my hammie was feeling better, Achilles slightly better. Basically, I was as prepared as I could be to go at it again.

I had to get up early and drive to Hamilton from Niagara Falls, NY where our son Cam was playing in a hockey tournament. I would miss the semi final game and found out after they won, meaning the final game would be that afternoon. The rive went well and crossing the border was easy at 6am. I arrived in plenty of time to get ready and warm up, do all the usual pre race duties with no stress.

I adjusted my goal from 3:10 to 3:15-3:18 (hoping for a PB at least). The first half is rural, quiet, basically spectator free and actually quite lovely. There were plenty of runners in the 3:15-3:20 pace range to run along with. I was pacing accordingly and made it through 10k on schedule (46:30), 20k (1:33:15), 21.1k (1:38:00) which takes us to the long downhill — ready to bank some time. But that’s when I realized my legs were dead. I was able to run a decent pace down the hill still, and got to 28k ahead of schedule but knowing very well I was about to hand all of that time back to the clock. I know my body well enough that I didn’t even try to harden up and fight through. I coasted home, running mostly, around 5:30/km but slowing gradually until it became hard to keep it under 6:00/km. I wore a long sleeve shirt and took it off at one point. With 2 km to go I decided to put it back on. I did so, while sitting on a lovely park bench on the waterfront. Some people seemed worried to see a runner there but I assured them I was ok. The 3:30 bunny ran past me and I jumped up and joined him for a couple of minutes….then he ran really really fast and disappeared. (of course, he was merely running his required 5 minute pace). I was fine with that.

The final kilometre was hell, despite the fact I had backed off in order to make the race enjoyable, I had run out of steam. It was a chore to chug up the final, slight rise, to the finish chute. I crossed the line in 3:37:13, grabbed my medal, a water and bee-lined for the grass. it felt so good to lay down despite the fact it’s not really a good thing to do. I lay there alone, with the usual dissatisfaction I get when missing a goal, but satisfied and proud that I persevered and finished another 26.2 miles. The weather was fantastic and I poured almost an entire bottle of water over my face as I lay there soaking up the sun. Eventually, I manage to get up and make my way to the food tent, then to the car, where I changed into dry clothes and hopped on the QEW back to the US to see my wife, and to watch Cam play in the championship game. In the end, I am not too disappointed but not overly happy. I have the speed necessary to run the times I want but I am lacking the endurance. Something to think about as I rest up and start planning the Boston Training Schedule.

Hmmm, Boston….only 5 months to go!

Thank you for your time, that is all.


Beaches RunnerAbout Beaches Runner
Crazy mad runner, wanting to be fitter and faster but too busy to do it right. Still, I keep trying.

  • Jacqueline

    You fast runners make aspire to more, but alas my injuries keep me slow. You keep going. :)