A very, very late recap, which may or may not be quite as relevant now, but whatever – this is my story! In the spirit of transparency and honesty, I was far from satisfied–sorely disappointed, even, with my first marathon. But let’s start with a list of things that I was so thankful for:
- it was an absolutely gorgeous day and a beautiful course
- I got to meet some fellow Oiselle birds who absolutely crushed their goals, some who persevered, others who listened to their bodies…but all showed compassion and team spirit
- A dear friend who stuck with me through the whole thing from start to finish
- My family waiting for me at the finish line, even though I was over an hour late coming in!
- My body, for not giving up completely, for letting me push it for the last few kilometres to the end
- The virtual support and kindness of so many people who looked out for me and congratulated me!
This was truly not the race that I wanted and trained for. That being said, it was a very humbling experience. I pushed through some familiar twinges of sharp pain in my right knee at the 6km mark, which subsided on the first long climb (my legs loved the uphills). It returned with a vengeance on the downhills and flats around the 15-16km mark, where it became unbearable. I watched as my hopes of finishing in under 4:30 were dashed, as pace bunny after pace bunny passed by… One moment that stuck with me, though, was a fellow Volée patting me on the back as she ran by, saying “you got this, bird!”–I was so glad that I decided to join a community of women running strong, and I appreciated/needed that encouragement.
I hobbled and walked for a few kms before I popped in to a medical station, which unfortunately did not help at that point. I spent several kms limping, and considered throwing in the towel more than once. I fought with myself, my pride and expectations, and resolved to finish as I’d set out to, even if I had to drag myself across that finish line. I was also going to enjoy the course and keep taking in the beautiful sights, and as a result, got to observe a wedding of two marathoners at the 32km mark in English Bay, snap some photos of the breathtaking scenery along the sea wall, and share a few moments with a fellow whose quads were shot, but also refusing to give up! I did pass him later but we crossed paths again as I was walking towards the exit, and we shared a hug–I should have made a mental note of his number, but whoever you were, you ran with so much heart!! 💛
I tried running slow several times, but it was excruciating, until we were about a kilometre away from exiting Stanley Park. The pain finally lessened to the point where I could run a short while at a normal pace, and alternate with shorter walk intervals. I spotted and ran by Kyle and the kids, waving excitedly, and pushed the last 250 metres in to the finish; it felt inexplicably wonderful to finish with a smile on my face. I am happy to say that there were no tears, my fueling plan was decent, and my cardio/energy level felt amazing. Sometimes, things just don’t go right…a slight misstep, a road that slopes a certain way, coupled with a physiological or anatomical disadvantage, can cause unexpected pain. All I can do now is move past it, strengthen and condition, and try again. I thought that I might be done with this one marathon, but I can’t really allow this to be my standing record, so, watch out, @bmovanmarathon — I’ll be back next year!!
Huge thanks and love to all my supportive friends, both runners and non-runners! Big props to BMO for organizing such an epic event, and the thousands of volunteers for their time and encouragement. To my fellow Oiselle Volée runners, I am proud to fly with you.
The past 49 days have been incredibly difficult, with an immeasurable amount of physical and emotional pain, tears, and rehabilitation of both my body and soul. So, I’ve decided to try blogging as a way of maintaining some kind of accountability to my running community and my goals, and…well, for anyone who can glean some encouragement or inspiration from my experiences. I welcome your thoughts and comments. ♥