Sunday, August 24, 2014

ENDURrun Stage 7: Marathon

On Sunday, August 17th at 7:30am, the final stage of the ENDURrun had begun. When asked by Sean (H+P coach) just before the start what I wanted to do, I said 3:40 or under. My fastest marathon so far is 3:32, so I was planning on something a fair bit slower than my PB, but with six races in the seven days leading up to this marathon, I figured that this was still a reasonable, yet reasonably hard goal.

I was quite happy with how I started the race this year. I kept it controlled, didn't go out too fast, and settled into a pace a little over 8 min/mile. After a few km, the pack thinned out and I was running with Mark McDonald, who was hoping to run around 3:40. Mark and I stuck together for 10ish km (but I could be wrong... I know it was more than 6, but less than 13), but then I ended up a little ahead of him, on my own.

I started to pass a few people once I got to University Ave, and a couple more on Northfield and I could see Catherine ahead, noticing that the gap was closing. As I ran through the start/finish at the half way point, I was just behind Catherine, who was one spot ahead of me in the cumulative results. Until this point, I wasn't even considering the possibility of moving ahead in the overall standings on this final stage of the ENDURrun. I was in 4th, over 18 minutes behind 3rd place heading into the marathon, so it would be a tall order to overcome that deficit.

I ended up passing Catherine around the 22km mark. As I went past, I asked if she was ok; she was having some muscle tightness in her leg. I wished her the best, and she offered some encouragement to me as well. From that point on, the race is a bit of a blur, with the exception of the final 10km of a painful stomach. I think I had too much Gatorade and I was paying for it. It was tough to run through that, but I was determined. I did slow down a bit, but looking at my splits, I can see that I would slow for a bit and then probably tell myself to suck it up and I'd speed up again. That happened a couple of times until it was less than 5K to the finish. At that point, I was able to maintain a decent pace. It wasn't quite the pace I was running at the start of the race, but it wasn't too far off. My first mile was 8:13, my 26th mile was 8:36 (and was uphill). I rounded the final corner, and ran across the finish line, with a finish time of 3:39:43.

I had finished the marathon in 3rd place for the ultimate females, but wouldn't know how I placed overall for the week until Catherine crossed the line. I hung out near the finish, drank my recovery drink, chatted with other runners, teammates, etc, and kept an eye on the time. When the clocked passed into mid 3:58, I knew that I had finished the ENDURrun in 3rd place, something that I did not expect at all going into this week.

My final time for ENDURrun 2014 was 14:06:52, just under 54 minutes faster than last year, and over 2 hours faster than the year before. I am very happy with how I ran all week and I look forward to continuing my training and hopefully improving even more for next year!

I had a fantastic week with everyone again this year. The race organizers, runners, the volunteers, family members, friends, and teammates were/are all so very supportive and were/are such a fantastic group of people to be around day in and day out. Thank you to everyone for making ENDURrun the summer camp for runners that I (and many others) want to attend year after year.

I'm sure all see you all again next year for my 5th year, but for now.... for the 4th time.... after 8 days, 7 stages, and 160km, I am still one tough runner.


  1. Wow Vicki that's quite an accomplishment, bettering each year by that much time! You are amazing! And definitely one tough runner!! So proud of you! You rock girl!