In the past week, I’ve had a lot of rest.
I went to a hot yoga class with an emphasis on the hips, which was exactly what I needed after running 21 kilometres two days prior.
Thursday, I went for an easy 6-km run in uptown Saint John, along Harbour Passage and the south end loop. The air was clear and the sun was shining. The tide was high and the water was so blue. The air was sweet with roses. Some days, you can forget all the industry in this town even exists.
This weekend, I’m planning a spin class, and probably a long run as I get back into half-marathon training. Yes, again. I’m going for three in 2013. I want three medals for New Brunswick’s Tri-Cities Run challenge!
Two down, one to go:
Reflecting on the race itself, I am pretty satisfied with my result.
The day was near-perfect, weather wise. It was sunny and just over 20 C. It felt cool at the starting line, but it didn’t take long to warm up.
I started off the race alongside Jen, my running buddy. I could tell she was ready to torque up the speed, so it wasn’t long before we parted ways. I wanted to find a steady pace I could hold for the whole race. My goal pace was 5:55 min/km.
But before pace was on my mind, I just enjoyed the start of the race. Saint John’s marathon event is unlike any others I’ve done because of the way the runners cascade down Crown Street. The sound of feet pounding the pavement is like hearing a herd of horses. The runners take over all four lanes until we reach the bottom.
The first loop around the south end was pleasant and steady. I didn’t feel too tired at all. I grabbed water from strapping Saint John firefighters right away since the sun was already making me feel hot.
At one point near the 8-km mark, I felt so good and alive and reached my hands up above my head and fist-pumped to my music. With Reversing Falls hill just ahead, that feeling was not to last.
I didn’t stop, but boy did I slow down. I smiled at a little boy who was being pushed in a jogging stroller by his dad (holy!) and pressed on, up, up, up, to the top, continuing the jog over the bridge with the roaring rapids below. I told myself I could have a rest break once I got past Moosehead Breweries, about a kilometre ahead. In fact, I made it to the 10-km mark before I took my first rest break, on level ground of Manawagonish Road.
After that, I kept up a steady pace to the turnaround point, and it was on the way back – about 14 km – when my light mood and easy pace started to feel tough. From there, I just focused on getting to the next water station on Douglas Avenue. I had small amounts of my gel for energy, but it didn’t seem to do much for me.
Getting going after that water stop was a challenge. But as I looked around, I could see others were feeling it too. I focused on running at a slower, steady pace. I got a little frustrated as my Garmin showed my pace slow to 6:15 or so. That was when I started questioning if I had done enough training, and why do I run such long distances anyway? It hurt. My hip hurt. My feet too.
Before long though, it was time for the final stretch. I felt no shame in walking the final hill leading to Mount Pleasant Avenue (or, Mount Unpleasant, as I’ve nicknamed it). Then I picked it up and pushed to the finish. I passed one person, which always feels good, and my fatigue turned to pure joy as I let gravity take me down the final hill. I smiled and waved at my work colleagues, my friends, my in-laws, my cheering aunt and my best friend: my husband, Mark (who had run the 5-miler).
I had stopped checking the time on my Garmin so I was pleased to see my time: 2:09, which was a seven-minute improvement over the same course last year. It’s not a personal best (that would be 2:01 on a much flatter course in Fredericton this spring), but it was really the best I could hope for.
Finishing such a race, and this distance, leaves you with immense satisfaction. It’s challenging, tough on the mind and body, but it’s absolutely achievable. And when you cross that finish line, there’s no feeling like it.
Just ask Tim Harte, of Coatesville, Pa., who broke a new marathon record on Sunday.
“I love the solitary nature of it and the discipline it takes,” he told the Telegraph-Journal, moments after crossing the finish line at 2:52:10. “And when I run, everything else in my life seems to find some order.”
Now, I’m ready for number three: Legs for LIteracy in Moncton. I ran 10-km at this event last year and loved it. A little more than two months of training to go.