Eric Liddell: I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.
Well, I implemented the plan this weekend at the Canadian Championships at the Ottawa Marathon … and I couldn’t be happier!
Personal Best time 2:39:07.
I had an easy 2 weeks to taper (and get rid of a cold) with my last easy run of 5 km Friday before we headed out. Jonathan did all the driving (he’s so super) so I was able to relax, eat/hydrate, and entertain the boys. We had a decent ride, and a great dinner with Joy and Darrin, Lorna and Greg and kids. On Saturday I took it easy after the technical meeting (Seth and I had naps at the hotel while Micah and Jonathan enjoyed an Amphibious ride) and continued to enjoy my (blah) diet of plain pasta, plain bagels, water and eload. I didn’t sleep that great at the hotel either night but when you’re a mom w/ young kids, this doesn’t phase you.
The morning of the race I said goodbye to my men and walked to the start (1.5 km). Did a short (1 km) warm-up, including a few pick ups, stretched, used the washroom and had few sips of water. Then, I relaxed until the 7:00 a.m. start.
I had a pacer, which was great (thanks Ryan!). He pointed to every pothole, railway, and rough spot on the road, and offered to carry my bottles while keeping me on pace for a perfect 1:18:33 half split. He even ran a few extra km, which was very kind, considering he had a big upcoming race of his own! Then, things got a bit dull; I didn’t have the luxury of my pacer, there were a few less spectators, and a rather long and somewhat windy stretch. I am not going to make excuses for allowing myself to slip a bit but I must say that I think I run at my best when I am side-by-side with a pacer or with a few other ladies (for some healthy competition).
I had my A and B goal times (2:37 and 2:39 respectively) in mind but knew the 2:37 wasn’t looking as possible. I ran with a few men for a good distance then saw Mary Davies around 38 km. We ran together for a bit (unfortunately she didn’t have a great race) then I moved ahead with about 2 km to go. I can’t say that a whole lot went through my head. It wasn’t terribly difficult but I knew I could have been feeling a bit worse had I been pushing a bit more. It’s hard to describe. I can’t say I have any regrets because I would likely run the same race all over again. If only I had my pacer and fans in the 2nd half. Anyway, I finished happy and strong with my arms in the air and a smile on my face. Boy, what a feeling to see the clock at 2:39, break the ribbon, and be handed a Canadian flag with media flashing their cameras. Coach Nicole gave me a huge cheer and hug before I headed to Jonathan, Micah and Seth, and the media. I enjoyed sharing my experience with them (video and articles below) then headed with my escort to give my blood and urine samples for drug testing. Fortunately I had no problems this time! The awards were at noon. It was pretty special, being up on that podium.
After another interview and a few pictures, we headed back to the hotel. It was nice to walk with Jonathan (and the boys who fell asleep in the Chariot) then enjoy a relaxing bubbly hot tub back at the hotel. We checked out around 3pm then I got my post-race mocha. Later that evening we enjoyed an amazing dinner with Kevin and Amy and kids.
During the ride home I thought about a lot, and how blessed I am. Of course, after a while, I started writing things down. Every marathon runner always plans their next race, short after finishing! But, it is time for a well-deserved break. Four marathons in 13 months means taking it easy for a while … and enjoying this title of, “National Marathon Champion” !!
Thank you …. all of you, for your support, notes of encouragement, prayers, emails, and good wishes. It’s 11:17 pm now and I must say, I am ready to sleep. The laundry can wait until tomorrow. After all, I should have a bit more time on my hands!