My Sunday morning started at 4:30am. I’m wide awake and excited about the Vancouver Marathon. I have my all my gear ready to go. I start cooking my pre race meal and have plenty of time to slowly eat as my mind focuses on what should be a memorable day.
I meet up to carpool with a couple of friends who are also doing their first marathon. The chatter during the drive to Vancouver was exactly what I needed to stay relaxed. I usually get the “butterflies in my stomach” feeling prior to any race, but at this point I wasn’t. We parked close to the start area at a friend’s house and we actually watched a bit of start of the half marathon. Seeing the elite runners pass us inspired me to do well and stay focused.
I’ve gear checked my stuff, completed my warm-up routine, and made my way to my starting corrall. Anxiously waiting for the start of the race as I’m listening to Eminem-Lose Yourself play off my Blackberry running app, Endomundo. Finally we get going.
My main focus at the start is not to go too fast, but at the 1km mark I was at 6:18! I knew that I was going too slowly and had to pick it up. At the 2km mark I had a 5:19 pace, which was more to my liking. I fell into a good pace and rhythm at that point. It normally takes me about the 5km mark to get there so I had a feeling that this would be a good run.
I was making great time even with a couple quick water stops at the water stations (I didn’t actually stop, more like slowed down to drink). At the 10km mark I was at 55:38 and feeling strong. The atmosphere around me at that point made it easy to continue at that pace. Split time at 21km mark was 2:00:03. At this point I was a bit nervous because it was only 4 weeks ago where I had to stop my run and had to walk home due to a sharp pain in the back of my left knee only after 18km (I did 30km the week prior to that with no problem). But still feeling strong at this point I decided to continue with this pace. The scenic route definetly helped from here on end along with great music playing in my ears as I made it to the 32km mark. Now at this point I’m thinking, I’ve never done any runs longer than this and the last 10.2km is new territory. I had already put the thought of “today is just another long run,” which helped. What was going through my mind during this last stretch was to stay focused, trust my training, and mind over matter.
2:58:44 with only 10.2km to go. I started thinking I could run sub 4 hours. This wasn’t a goal of mind at all. I had no time goal. My goal was to cross the finish line without limping or walking and be injury free. But I decided then to go for a time goal seeing that I was so close. Seeing familiar faces in the crowd cheering my name definetly gave me a boost of energy. Its surprising how much that truley helps. With only 4km left to go I started getting hungry and was thinking about the brown bagged lunch that would be waiting at the finish. My pace slowed down quite a bit but the sub 4 hour mark was still in reach.
During the last kilometre of the race many thoughts were filling my mind: all the training, long runs, hill training, speed work, injuries, sacrifices, and time invested, all for this moment. Next thing I knew I was rounding the final corner and heading to the finish line. I had both my arms raised up high and pointing to the skies as I finished this journey. Finally getting that finisher’s medal placed around my neck is something I’ll never forget and in an official time of 3:57:43. And yes I crossed the finish line without walking or limping and I was injury free.
Thanks to all the volunteers and everybody involved in the Vancouver Marathon. Thanks to Kintec for the training and tools learned through the run clinics. And last but not least thanks to all my friends and family, especially my wife and son, for all their support.