Sunday, August 18, 2013

ENDURrun Stage 7: The Marathon

Today’s marathon was the 7th and final stage of the ENDURrun. It started at 7:30am and was a bit cool at the start, but we all knew it was going to warm up very quickly.

Just 2 days ago, it was brought to my attention that while my actual goals for myself before the week started would end up with finishing times for the week of either 15:35 (my “ambitious” goal) or 15:59 (my “realistic” goal), with my cumulative times so far and my goal times for my final 2 stages, I would be about 15 minutes over 15 hours for the week. I didn’t think about this while running the 10K yesterday, although I did come in ahead of plan, but this morning the possibility of a sub 15 for the week crossed my mind. If I ran a 3:57 and change today, I would just squeak in under the 15 hour mark. My fastest marathon time is 3:51, but my 2 previous ENDURrun marathon times were 4:08 and 4:12.

The course for today’s marathon is a 21.1km loop, that is run twice. My plan was to run a conservative first loop and then pick up the pace a wee bit in the second.

The first loop went well and felt comfortable. I crossed the half way point around 1:58.

The second loop got ugly. It got hot. The legs got heavy. I was pretty sure the possibility of running a 3:57 or better was gone. The stretch between 31km and 37km felt like it took forever. I had a few rough, slow miles in that stretch, but once I got past that point, I was okay again.

As I headed into the final 3km stretch, I glanced at my watch. It was still ever so slightly possible to come in at 3:57. I picked up the pace a little and plugged away up the hills to the park in Conestogo. When I had about 1 km left to go, I looked at my watch again. It wasn’t going to happen, but it was going to be close. I ran around the corner to the finish line and crossed the line at 3:58:12. So close!

My total time for the week was mere seconds over 15 hours. I’m very happy with how I did this week, but it was a wee bit of a kicker to be SO CLOSE!

Overall, this was a fantastic week and a real confidence boost for me. I exceeded my expectations for every single stage. I managed to finish with Personal Best (PB) times in the half marathon, the 15K, 30K trail, 10 mile, and 25.6K trail (and ski hill) and I finished with ENDURrun best times in both the 10K and the marathon. My overall placing for the week was 3rd female, which was also very exciting.

This has been a very rewarding week in both running and in the social aspect. It was great to spend the week with such a great group of people including the runners, volunteers, race director & family, the spectators, and supporter from afar. Thank you to everyone!

So, once again…. after 8 days, 7 stages, and 160km, I am still One Tough Runner.



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