Wow, I never thought I’d say “I ran a marathon!”
But this morning (and early afternoon), I ran 42.2 km at the Boundary Bay Marathon in Delta. It was almost completely successful.
The qualifying “almost” is there because I didn’t achieve my very realistic, totally achievable goal: cross the finish line, healthy, in under 5 hours (they said the course closed at the 5 hour mark).
I did cross the finish line in good health, but it took me 5 hours, 5 minutes, and 23.8 seconds to do it. Luckily, they kept the finish line open for a fair bit longer than 5 hours. I’m not a terribly competitive person, so I’m not too disappointed by this.
Here’s why I deem the race a success, nonetheless:
- I made in through 16 weeks of training – and the race itself – injury-free.
- The only runs I missed in those 16 weeks were because of my Lake Lovely Water and West Coast Trail hiking trips.
- (The above is particularly meaningful because I trained almost completely solo and too many of my runs took involved torrential downpour and headlamps.)
- I ran the entire race – no walking breaks. My only stop was to refill my water bottle, and man, was it hard to get started again.
- I never hit the infamous “wall”.
- I did not lose any toenails, which was probably my #1 fear of running a marathon.
- I really did do my best.
How did this happen?
I have run a total of six half-marathons (all but one were in my former life as a Vancouver-ite), but the full marathon distance never held much appeal to me. However, over the years, I have seen a few of my friends conquer the full marathon, and whether they know it or not, they really inspired me. They seemed to actually enjoy the process and it elevated them to superhero status in my books.
Then, earlier this summer, I worked on the 2016 Woods Explorer campaign and met my first ultra runners. Two of the guys from Calgary spoke highly of their passion, and suddenly, running 42.2 km didn’t seem that radical when hearing of their 100 km+ races.
In July, I pulled the trigger. I thought it would be a nice thing to accomplish before I turn 30 in December and I realized that my current lifestyle (no kids, work from home, have flexible hours) was probably the most conducive it will ever be to training for a marathon.
I Googled “first time marathon training plan”, consulted a calendar, and found a nearby race that would occur in 16 weeks time: the Boundary Bay Marathon in Delta. Bonus points for being a relatively small race, which I vastly prefer over huge Sun Run-type races (only 131 people ran this one – I was lucky number 117). Bonus bonus points for having a very modest entry fee of $55.
Please excuse me as this blog temporarily turns into a running blog over the next little bit, while I share details of my training plan, my fueling strategy (the term “fueling” always makes me feel like a car), my trusty gear, and a more detailed race recap.
Now, back to my glass of champagne.