Hamilton Marathon Road2Hope 2013 Race Report
Didn’t really have bad nerves for this race, I usually do. I got a good sleep on the Friday night and woke up around 9am on Saturday. Had my coffee & bagel in the morning & my mother picked me up around 11am, then we were off to Brampton to pick up Irina & her son.
We got to Confederation Park for our race kit pick up around 1pm. It was raining and quite a miserable day but spirits were high. We picked up our bibs & shirts (short sleeves for a November race, hmmm) & checked out the expo. There wasn’t a lot to see there but I got myself a decent pair of compression socks.
We then left & checked into the hotel. I had a bit of a nap while my mom met up with a friend. Then around 5pm all 5 of us went to East Side Mario’s for dinner. I had a garden salad & the spaghetti bolognese. I then had a dessert. Ate all of it. I hardly ever do that, even before a race!
We got back to the hotel and I got all my gear together.
At dinner I realized I was not quite prepared for the cold weather. Irina had brought a large sweat shirt I could take off at the start but I was only going to wear the tech t-shirt underneat & my arm warmers. I’m glad she smartened me up. No, you will wear something else, she said. After thinking about it (2 sec), I knew she was right. I thought I had packed a long tech t, but I didn’t (both were in the laundry as I had used them during the week) & I didn’t bring my light sport jacket that I thought I had. What I did bring with me is another light jacket that I meant to wear after the run. It had a zipper & it would keep my arms warm and I could unzip the jacket if my core got over heated.
With my gear all ready for the morning, I went to bed around 10:15pm. Before going to bed though I changed the clock, so it read 9:15 since we had the time change that night. I was so thankful for that extra hour of sleep. I woke up in the middle of the night, as usual, to go pee. I looked at the clock & it said 6:00. Woah! Had I slept in? I was going to get up at 5:30am to have an early breakfast but when I checked the clock I realized I had left it on the alarm time & I changed it back to time & it was only 12:45am. Phew! Almost 5hrs of sleep left. After that I didn’t wake up until 4:45am. I just layed in the bed with my eyes closed. My mom woke up at 5am on the dot & wondered what time it was. Perhaps her interal alarm of 6am was on. We both just layed in our beds until about 5:25 when I decided to get up & go get Tim Horton’s coffee. I went & got myself an extra small coffee (1 cream, ½ sugar) & a cinnamon raisin bagel. This was my long run ritual. I took time eating it, make sure not to gulp it down and had it all finished by 6am. Then I took my time to get dressed up. I went & got Irina as she was staying at the same hotel & we left there around 6:45am. Got to Dofasco Park (the start) around 7am.
My mom dropped us off and we went into the building there where it was full of people. Already a huge line up to the bathroom I decided to wait in the line up. It took 20min before I got into the stall. Now there were people saying the port-a-potties were available outside with limited line ups, but that was too cold of an option for me. I wanted to keep warm.
With the maddening crowds & little reception, I went to the packet pick up area where I was suppose to meet Irina, Alex & Mandy. I found Alex, but he was going to find Mandy & asked me to stay. About 10min later my Mom & Irina found me. Irina & I both needed to use the bathroom so we went to find port-a-potties outside. At this point they were too busy, so went and made use of nature’s facilities.
We then went to the start line. My mom got a pic of us pretending to be at the start line, then Irina & I went and warmed up. We quickly got rid of my extra layer got in front of the 4:15 pacer. Then quickly we were off. Started slow as there was a large crowd ahead of us. At one point the 4:15 pacer got ahead of us, but they were going too fast. After a minute or two we pulled ahead of them. My watch said we were doing 8:59-9:23. It wasn’t consistent & it would only show #s like 9:06 or 9:14 in between. I felt like we were going too fast but Irina was checking the splits and we were on target. On River Rd the view was spectacular. I removed my arm warmers around the 5-8k mark (I can’t remember specfically but it was around that). I then ended up holding them until close to the end. The kept my hands warm from the biting wind & provided a place for me to wipe my nose.
After a while my watch settled in around 9:31. At 11km I had to go pee, but it wasn’t urgent. By 13km I had to go though, so around 15km I went again into nature’s bathroom & peed. Irina kept moving, she had asked if she should wait but I told her to go ahead. When I stepped out & started again, I realized I dropped my e-load bottle. At that point I didn’t want to even bother trying to find it so I kept on going. The 4:15 had just past me & I could still see Irina far ahead. In my infinite wisdom I decided to speed up. I started going at 8:00, but dropped back to about 8:30 or so. Then I kept slowing down until I caught up with her around 16km or so. This could have burnt me out, but my heart rate went down nicely after that so I’m not sure. It was a nice little pick up anyways, but maybe it was too long & too fast of a pick up.
From that point on I made sure to grab Honey Maxx at most stations, they were usually filled up ½ way and I mostly slowly drank them. I would also make sure to grab water at every station & put it in my bottle, making sure not to drink the water at that time & saving it for inbetween aid stations.
As for my nutrition I had my Genucan 30min precisely before the start, had the 2nd at the 1hr mark in the run, I had made a doubled up in a 10oz bottle & had ½ of that at 2:30 & the rest at 3:30. I had ½ a gel at 1:30. At 2hr I was going to take the other ½ but I had a slice of an orange instead as they were giving those out. I thought that was enough, but I think I should have had the other ½ of the gel at that time. At 3hr I had 1 full gel, I think that was a big mistake. I should have taken the ½ instead.
A few km after joining Irina again, she started pulling ahead of me. At this point I was slowing down a bit, but she wasn’t that far ahead of me, if I had done some pick ups, as I was going to do, I could have caught up with her in 30 sec. At the 18km mark I was running beside another woman. I think she liked my pace so we ran together for 9km. We hit the 21km mark and we gave each other a high 5. Then we got on the highway which was mostly downhill. It honestly wasn’t as bad as I thought. I may have gained a bit of time here, but I was still slower on the flat areas then I thought I would be, probably around 9:40-9:50. It was nice having her beside me, I think we both motivated each other, but we didn’t talk too much. That was fine with me. At 27km she started walking, I asked if she was ok & she said “I hate gels”, so I went off & said “I’m sorry”. I could still see Irina up ahead of me.
We got off the highway & then went onto some trails & hit a steep hill. It was at this point I lost Irina. After getting onto the trail there was a caution sign. A steep downhill section with bricks & dirt. Yikes, I bet there had been people who fallen on that section before. Then we actually hit a steep hill going up. What was this? Hills, ugh, there were a few here & I think that killed me a bit mentally & physically. At the beginning of the race, when I had started Runkeeper I realized that I hadn’t changed my playlist. I had it set to the “Run” playlist, which had about 7hrs of fastish music & not the “Workout” playlist. The “Workout” playlist was just over 3hrs but had the songs that kept me motivated. This was fine when I was running with Irina & the other woman but I was starting to need those more uplifting songs. So while running on the path I changed my playlist.
Finally we got to the 30k part where we got near the lake & park. My mom was waiting there with a friend & they were cheering. Boy I needed that!
Getting to 30km in around 3hrs was a high achievement for me. I’m pretty sure in the other 2 marathons, I hit the wall at 25km. I still had lots of energy but my legs felt like lead already. At 33km I started getting a tight sensation around my chest. The strap felt like it was getting tighter & my heart rate was at 171, it had gotten pretty high from running up those damn hills & wasn’t really recovering as I would have liked. So I walked until I got into the low 160s, which was just less than a minute. I then started running again. I pretty much did the walk/run method until the end. I wanted to give up so bad. This chest pain wasn’t as bad as the ½ IM & it was just a little bothersome but it was playing a game with my mental state at that point. Run 10min, then walk 1min, I kept telling myself. I tried to break up into chunks. Having changed the playlist at 27km helped me immensely. It helped me to keep going. I got to the turn around point & was thankful because the wind stopped being in my face. We had the wind from the 11-16k, and all down the highway 21-27k and then going back north from 30-36. The wind was at my back at the beginning & at the end. I started also doing the run/walk every km instead of 10min. Around the 34-35km I had wondered why I was doing this to myself again. Why am I doing this? Why on earth would I even consider doing a Full Ironman in 2015. What was I thinking. I was in pain and I wanted to stop. Then I told myself to suck it up & apparently convinced myself I wouldn’t do a full marathon again or consider doing a full ironman.
By the time I got to 41km I knew I should be able to make the 4:30, so I picked it up a bit. I was about 400m from the end & I saw my mother, I made the turn and poured it on at the finish because I could see it was slightly over 4:30 (4:30:10) and I knew I only had a few seconds left as I was about 30sec to 1min from the official gun time. Phew! Did it! 4:29:26. I’ll take it.
I need to work on things. Although nutrition was ok (the Genucan probably saved me), I need to go back to taking only ½ of a gel, but maybe more often. I probably should have just had the Honey Max from every 2nd aid station instead of every aid station. I think I should consider getting another fuel belt for next year, so that I could carry 5 bottles. Or maybe consider also holding a small bottle in my hand. Another option is to NOT drop the e-load bottle!!
My friend Irina, got a 4:17, she started slowing down around the 33km mark too, but was still able to keep a good pace after that. I think she was running the proper time but I was fixated on my watch, when I should have been looking at my time splits instead. That’s how she did it, I may have to consider that next time. I probably shouldn’t have tried to catch up with Irina either, I should have just done some shorter pick ups & just kept her in my sight. I may have caught up with her later & I may have stayed with her longer.
I’m still very happy with 4:30. I was kind of concerned with the 4:10, I mean someday I can do it, but I think I’m still a bit of a noob & although I’ve gained lots of confidence this year, I was still a little hesitant on that number. I’m still learning & hey, there’s always next year.
FYI: This isn’t going to be my last marathon & I most likely will do a full Ironman in the next few years. Year still to be determined.
On a side note about the woman I ran with. I saw her at the end & told her congratulations. She asked me how I did & I said just under 4:30. She chuckled & said she got 4:27. lol, I guess at some point she passed me. When I pointed out my time on the sheet, she laughed again. Your name is Carol? So is mine. lol It turns out it’s with an ‘e’, so thanks to Carol Dewhurst for helping me stay in this race.
Thanks to Irina for encouraging me & helping me get through this race. I know I was only with you for the 1st 18k but I saw you just ahead of me until 27k and that was enough to keep me going.
Also thanks to my mom for helping me get there & for shuttling both Irina & I around Hamilton. It was greatly appreciated!
Another thanks to my coach Rebecca Adamson. She too has been encouraging. She has helped me build my confidence over the last year and I’m quite thankful for that.
Now I rest & I will be at this next year. I have some plans, but nothing written in stone yet. I’ll let you all know when that gets more finalized.