Today at 7:30 am, the 7th and final stage of the 2011 ENDURrun began. Since the start was a half hour earlier today, this also meant that I had to get up earlier and since it was a full marathon, I wanted to be sure I ate 2 hours before start time, so my alarm went off at 5:20 am. Ugh. That’s too early for me. I got up, made coffee, turned on the toaster oven and had myself my breakfast of peanut butter and banana on an English muffin.
We arrived at Conestogo Park about 15 minutes before the start, so I got my self organized and headed toward the start area, chatting with fellow runners about the run ahead and the fact that we were almost done. Just 42.2 km to go and our 160 km would be complete.
I started running and was maintaining a good pace, but was noticing that my shoes were a bit too loose. I stopped a few km into the race to adjust them, but then they were too tight. A few km further, I stopped again to loosen them a bit. This time they were just right (and Jessica referred to me as Goldilocks).
The first loop of the marathon was going well until I reached a hill around the 12 km mark. My legs did not want to go up the hill and I actually felt like my right leg might give out. I slowed down a bit and got myself up the hill. I kept going and once I was no longer travelling uphill it was much better. Once I crossed through the start/finish area, my right leg was hurting some more and I let Ryan know that I thought my 2nd loop was going to be slower than the first by approximately half an hour. This would put me finishing in 4 and a half hours. I stopped for a moment while talking to Ryan and drank some water and Gatorade.
I set off for lap two and discovered after a km or so down the road that the leg started to feel a little better. This lap did not actually feel too bad and I stopped and chatted with some volunteers at a water station around the 32 km mark while I attempted to open my package of Shot Blocks and drank some water. It was a nice short break, but it was brief as I needed to get going down the road for my final 10km.
At this point, I was definitely counting down the kms until the finish and calculating both how long it should take me to get there running and now long it would take if I walked. I knew I should come in between the two times.
As I approached the finish with approximately 1km left in the race, I could see my marathon training group coach Michele C making her way down the hill towards me. I waved and said hi. She gave me some words of encouragement and ran with me to the final corner. I certainly picked up the pace when she was there and busted through the tape at the finish line in 4:08:42 (Garmin time). As I walked to the water table, I was wheezing, but I knew it was only because my body was trying to suck in more oxygen due to my final push to the finish. It only lasted maybe a minute, probably less and then I was okay.
I watched as the remaining runners finished their race, got a massage, ate some fantastic food, and enjoyed the feeling of having completed the ENDURrun. The awards were given out shortly after everyone had something to eat. When each person was called up for their medal and plaque they were given the opportunity to say a few words. It was great to hear everyone’s final comments on the event including their struggles, their triumphs, and their overall thankfullness for a wonderful week with great runners, fantastic volunteers, and a generous race director and his family. This truly is the best organized and friendliest race I’ve ever been a part of. It’s an amazing event.
I placed 4th female of the Ultimate competitors and 1st rookie female. My cumulative time was 16:02:18 for all 7 stages.
8 days, 7 stages, 160 km
One Tough Runner.
Thanks for a great week everyone! We should do it again sometime.