Guest blogger Brian Double is training for a 100km from Ottawa to Montebello this fall. He'll be checking in from time to time with udpates on his progress. You can read previous entries here.
Training for a marathon is pretty intense itself. I ran outdoors all winter– putting in my kilometres even when it hit -35C. I felt really good about my training. I had mixed in a good amount of trail running, including the amazing Wakefield “Quad Buster” ½ marathon, and I felt like I was stronger than I’d ever been. My long runs peaked at 35km.
During the last week before the Ottawa Marathon, I still hadn’t decided my goal time for the race. If I doubled my half marathon time, I’d come in at 3hr30. If I listened to an online calculator, I’d come in about 3hr40. I felt with my training I could do 3hr45. All said though, I figured I’d be happy with my time if I could race my first marathon in under 4 hours.
The day of the race, I woke up at 4:45am, put on my gear and ate breakfast – a bagel with natural peanut butter, a coffee and big glass of water. I was super nervous. My biggest supporter, my amazing wife, drove us downtown and we were at the starting line at 6:30am.
I had decided to line up with the pace bunny for a 3hr45 finish. If I felt good after the first half, my plan was to pick up the pace for the last half.
At 7 am, I took off to run 42.2 km with 7,000 or so other crazies. Yahoo!
I felt great – the crowds in downtown Ottawa were cheering us on. Actually, I felt so great I passed the 3hr45 pace bunny and pretty soon was following the 3hr40 pace bunny. The temperature was nice and cool. I took water and Gatorade at alternating stations. At about 9km, I had to stop for a pee. I guess I shouldn’t have drunk so much water before the race : ) I raced back to the 3hr40 pace bunny in no time at all. This was actually my fastest km of the race.
I loved the cheering stations with the drums. I could feel the energy pass from the drums to my feet. I ate one of the energy bars I’d brought. The sugar rush encouraged me to pick up the pace once more. Soon I could see the 3hr30 bunny up ahead. I could not keep the smile off my face
The tunes I’d chosen for between cheering stations really pumped me up. Who knew “I am the Doctor” from Dr. Who could be such a great motivator? Still felt amazing at the half way point so I kept up the pace. I was no longer passing anybody but was flying around the course. I ate my second energy bar.
At about 29km things started to go wrong. I was slowing down. My legs felt so heavy. People started passing me. Running is a very mental sport and staying strong mentally during a run requires just as much training as the physical aspects. I started to fade mentally and soon my run slowed to a walk. Ugh.
The crowd was still awesome. I loved giving high fives to the kids along the way. They gave me some energy back and I was alternating running and walking - luckily more running than walking. It was starting to get very warm so the cool sponges felt amazing.
I have to admit all those red dresses at 32km were pretty awesome.
The last 3km I owe to the cheering crowds, including my parents, my wife, my sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew. They were so loud and encouraging. The signs made me laugh “Just think – you don’t have to train tomorrow”. I finished the race at full tilt!
My finishing time was 3:52:32. I am a marathoner! I am proud of myself for completing a marathon, but know there is more for me to work on before the 100km. Pacing will be important, as will the mental training.
I rewarded myself with a beer on the patio.
My next event towards training for the 100km is a ½ marathon trail run with crazy elevation. Wish me luck! I’ll let you know how it goes.
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See also: Ottawa Sports & Recreation Guide
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