Race Report: Victoria Marathon October 12, 2014

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I signed up for the Victoria Marathon 2014 right before running the BMO Vancouver Marathon earlier this year. Marathons (and the shorter races too) have become an addiction. I’m addicted to trying to get personal bests and to the atmosphere surrounding race day.

The 2014 Victoria Marathon was my 5th marathon. Four marathons ago, after finishing my first one, I said: “Never again, I’m going to stick to half marathons, 10k’s and 5k’s”.

But then, after recovering, I thought: “I can go faster.” The desire to see improvement is addictive.

Getting out there with thousands of other runners who LOVE the sport as much as I do is an awesome feeling and a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

In the past, honestly, there have been times where I have felt that I started the 26.2 mile race slightly less prepared than I would have liked.

I would be a bit more nervous at the start line and in the end I would end up starting too fast just to slow down later. At times when I was well prepared, I would be getting to the start line with either a cold or a flu or something. Not this time.

This year was the most prepared and healthy I have ever felt before a marathon. Over the past several months, there have been many training runs that were longer than 30km.

With each 30km+ run my legs felt stronger and recovered much faster than before.

At the start line, I was looking to make a full-blown assault on the 42.2km distance. I said to myself: “Sub 3:20 or bust, but 3:15 would be better.” The goal was to not look at my Garmin every km like I used to do.

Maybe I ran the first 10km a little too fast in 44:26 but it felt very good and the best thing to do at that point was to just get to the halfway point as fast as possible, without burning out.

At the halfway point, the clock read: 1:35:02. Perfect. Keep in mind that the first time I ever ran a half marathon, I got 2:12. To split a 1:35 at the halfway point of a marathon felt great (only 4 minutes slower than my current half marathon PR). At that point, I felt like 3:09-3:12 was possible and I was gunning for it.

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Above: Kilometer 37 on Dallas Road…I think. Thanks to Jennifer for this photo!

I crossed the 30km mark in 2:16:44. My first thought was: “So far I’m about 5 min faster than last year”. The next thought was: “The overall race winner is probably nearing the finish line at this point.” Conclusion: Must stay focused and do everything I can to not slow down too much in the last 12km.

On Dallas Road, (about kms 35-37) I thought I saw some familiar faces cheering, which made me want to go faster.

In some of the past marathons, the 37k marker was a signal to suddenly slow down to 6 minute kilometers (and sometimes even slower than that). There was one marathon where I really struggled from the 37k mark onwards. NOT this time.

Although I slowed down a little bit in the last 5km, there was not a single kilometer that took me longer than 6 minutes.

I admit, the last kilometer was pretty challenging. There were a few turns which made it feel a little longer. Then, the countdown began…500m, 400m….

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Above: About 1 second after I crossed the finish line and high-fiving Rob Reid, right before my calves gave out.Thanks Peter for capturing the moment.

Looking at my Garmin with 400m to go, I knew I had a sub-3:20 finish. At that point, calves were really getting tired and sore. My right IT band was sore too.

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Above: Beautiful finisher medal.

As I approached the finishing area with 200m to go, I decided to sprint. In the past, I didn’t have the energy to sprint to the finish. This time was different. Even though my calves were very sore and my quads were very tired, I still had a strong finish.

Immediately after crossing the finish line, I just wanted to sit down. My legs were too sore to keep walking and I felt extreme fatigue set in. I sat down in the medical tent, visited my friend and let my legs settle down.

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Above: Tired legs, especially calves. At least this happened after I crossed the finish line.

I finished in 3:18:27 (average pace was 4:43 min per km or 7:35 min per mile), which is about a 5 minute personal best. What really surprised me was that I wasn’t completely out of breath after finishing. If it wasn’t for the calves, quads and IT band soreness, I probably could have gone a bit faster in those last 5k.

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Above: At the Marathon awards ceremony. Another plaque to add to my collection!The look on my face says “awesome, I finished another marathon, time to eat carbs once I get home.”

Although I may have missed my target by about 3 minutes, I can’t complain about a personal best. This has been the best I’ve felt during the marathon and even if I didn’t get 3:15, I was very close.

What’s even more awesome is that the following day, my name was listed in the Times Colonist for being one of the top finishers. In my age group, I ended up 3rd (out of 41) and 21st female (out of 774 women).

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Above: Top 5 Finishers in each age group, Times Colonist Newspaper.

Finishing in the top 10% overall feels amazing.

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Above: Top 25 Female finishers overall, Times Colonist Newspaper.

Also congratulations to clients Stephen and Kent who raced this past Sunday. Stephen finished his first half marathon and Kent finished his first marathon. Both did an awesome job for their first attempts at the distances. I’m very proud of how far you have both come in the last few months.

Looking forward to training for the Boston Marathon, as well as working with my clients on new personal bests!

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