I know that everyone can get a little bit emotional at finishing lines. The welcoming sight of the “FINISH” arch can make you suddenly sprint while smiling and laughing even though your feet hurt, or you may be overwhelmed with thankfulness that you makes you want to cry. In my case my emotions were really messed up; I really wanted to cry because even walking was painful, yet I was so happy because it was finally over that I wanted to shed tears of joy. I bet my tear ducts were really confused that morning.
This was me at today’s finishing line.(Picture credit: Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon instagram)
When I registered for this race, I plan to treat it as a last minute training for next week’s full marathon debut. The race was 30km, at 70% of a full marathon length it will give me a taste of what is about to come running for 42km. Part of the training also involved a 30km test run last week, however things did not go as planned. Realising that I was low in my mileage, I hastily agreed to a 10km LSD run on the day before the race (Warning: Bad idea, do not try this at home).
To ensure that I made full use of this 30km run as a training session, I deviced a plan to challenge myself to complete in 4 hours. However, it turns out that the race had pacers. I started off by keeping up with the 3:45 hour pacer. They were running at around pace 7:00 to 7:15 minutes/km, which was fine by me since it was still early in the race and I was feeling fresh. However, I lost them at the KM8 water station because I took a longer break to pray Fajr (morning prayers).
I finished praying just in time to keep up with the 4:00 hour pacer. They were cruising at a pretty easy pace of 7:50 to 8:00 minutes/km, so I thought I could cope with that…until I bumped into more hills. My pace slowed significantly by one minute, I can no longer keep up with them at the KM23 marker. By the last 5km, I was seriously contemplating if I should just DNF the race and hitch a ride from the patrolling ambulance because it hurts to even walk. But there was a stronger voice in my head saying “You are so close to finishing! You will finish this, even if you end up crawling!”. So I practically dragged myself to complete at approximately 4 hours and 20 minutes, which was way off target.
‘The Plan’ to complete within 4 hours. Does it makes sense to you? Seems pretty straightforward, except for one major flaw: I did not take into account that the route is notoriously hilly, resulting in a significantly reduced pace.
Besides running skills, an important characteristic that every pacer should have is being friendly. These two were really helpful and encouraging.
No smiling finisher picture from me this time. I was pretty disappointed with myself since I did not complete as planned. On the other hand, I felt accomplished because the hilly route will prove to be useful as part of preparing for next week’s full marathon.
Until next week,
The Weekend Runner.