More than anything, I am relieved. Relieved to have achieved this milestone and finally end this cycle.
I started this cycle back in June with STWM being my goal race. Unfortunately for me Black Lungs Toronto, whom I had done all my long runs with over the winter, were planning on doing Philadelphia which meant that our long runs wouldn't line up. Over the summer, I ran 32-36km every Sunday alone in the sweltering heat it was awful… But I won’t lie a part of me loved the suffering.
Unfortunately STWM didn’t workout for me. I was devastated. I felt so ready to break 2:30:00. The conditions were perfect and I knew the course. I had dreamt of how amazing it would be to achieve a goal that I had been working so hard for in my hometown with the support of the Toronto running community. I cannot express how grateful I am to have had my parents there for me at my lowest point. I literally reverted back to a 5 year old and absolutely needed them.
They told me I could do Philadelphia in November. At the time I couldn’t bear the thought of extending my training another 5 weeks. I was SO TIRED. What if I showed up to Philadelphia burnt out. Even worse, what if I showed up and just came up short of my goal, I didn’t want to have to deal with that disappointment. They told me that I had worked so hard and that I had to give myself a chance.
So, despite how much I didn’t want to on October 19th I woke up early and ran. Although 5 weeks seemed so far away, I knew that it didn’t leave a lot of time to get back into the swing of things.
In the weeks leading up to Philly I joined Black Lungs Toronto in their workouts. I really couldn’t have continued to push myself alone any longer, so thank you for having me out BLT!
Going to the start line of this marathon was different because unlike all my previous marathons I had an actual goal time. Having a goal time meant that I couldn't just be happy with improving on my previous PB. It also meant that I had to work really hard the whole cycle and not become complacent.
My last Marathon I ran 37km out of 42.2km alone. Thankfully, this time around, that was not the case. A few weeks before Philly my friend Cam reached out to me to ask what my goal was for the race. Cam had just ran a 1:12:xx half marathon at STWM and said that he was thinking of aiming for a 2:30:00 at Philly. We planned to meet up at the start line and work together for as long as we could. We did a good job at that! We made sure to stay on pace and worked together in taking turns blocking the wind.
On Friday night I wrote down the 5km splits that I would have to run to hit 2:29:45 and what I would have to run to hit 2:30:00 flat. Cam and I were hitting our splits almost perfectly.
Around the 30km mark Cam started to pull ahead of me as we ran into a strong wind on some rolling hills. My gluteus were killing on the hills and I couldn’t keep up. Thankfully, once I hit the turn around and started to head back down I lengthen my stride and the pain in my gluteus subsided. I caught up with Cam who, by then, was feeling some pain in his hamstrings and had to fall back. I pushed forward and hit my 35km dead on 2:04:12! At this point I told myself to stay strong and steady.
There is a workout I like to do during my long runs: Within my 36km log run, I do 5km at marathon pace x 3 with 3 minutes rest. When I looked down at my watch at 37km and saw my clock at 2:11:07, I told myself that this is what I had trained for. I had done this exact workout almost every other Sunday in the stinking heat at the end of 140km week.
My parents said they were getting anxious watching the clock. The clock read 2:29:00 when they saw me at the top of the hill. I told myself on fresh legs I can cover 400m in 60 seconds and this had to be less than 400m I kicked as hard as I could. I crossed the line and a huge wave of relief came over me. I didn’t feel crazy endorphins, I didn’t feel overwhelmed or emotional. I just felt calm and relieved that I could move on from this. Part of me is surprised to have broken 2:30:00, but there is also another part that isn’t surprised at all. It’s exactly what I had trained for and I ran the exact race I had planned.
Dave Clark & David Hiddleston: I remember watching the Scotiabank Marathon last year and seeing you dip under 2:40:00 / Just off 2:40:00 It was very impressive and it inspired me. I told myself that if you can do that, I could do better. I wrote down a list of goals for 2015, one of them was to bring my 2:42:32 marathon time down to 2:34:00 by STWM2015. Seeing how well you guys did really is where this all started for me.
Black Lungs Toronto: This time last year my highest mileage week ever was 80km. In January I started doing my long runs with Black Lungs Toronto and ran my first 100km week. Thank you BLT for introducing me to long runs, for toughing it out through the winter and for being a great example of the hard work it takes to train for a marathon.
Cam: Running with you made all the difference. You have so much experience, you warned me not to try and bank to much time on the first 1/2. Running with you kept me calm and made me run smart.
Mom, Dad and Jessy: You are perfect.
I have grown so much over this last year as a person and a runner. I have become so much more focused and have surrounded myself with great people that strive for excellence and motivate and support one another. Thank you to everyone that has been a part of this journey!
I look forward to taking a short break while I figure out what my next goals will be.