Sorry for the long silence. The last couple of weeks have been busy and, in any case, there wasn't much to tell. Since I was tapering for last weekend's races, I scaled back my running, tackled chores I'd been ignoring and tried not to go completely crazy.
Last week was nerve-wracking. Not only because I was busy at work, twitchy from too little exercise and anxious about the races but because forecasters were warning of a possible hurricane or tropical storm on Saturday - as if running back to back races wasn't tough enough!
Fortunately, the storm arrived sooner than predicted and mostly missed us. The hours leading up to Friday's 5k were wet and miserable, but the rain let up a few minutes after it started and we had a lovely run along the waterfront in Eastern Passage. My former running partner, Jane, was in town for the weekend so I ran with her and her sister, Nancy, taking it easy for the first 3kms, then kicking it into gear and sprinting to the finish line. Given that I was running a marathon the next day, that sprint maybe wasn't the smartest thing I've ever done but it sure felt great after two weeks of tapering.
Later Friday evening, our good friend, Sarah, arrived from Cape Breton. She was running her first half marathon Saturday morning and bunked with us so we could travel to the start line together. I woke up shortly after 4:00 to the sound of rain pounding down once again but, by the time we arrived in Eastern Passage shortly after 7:00, the only reminders of the storm were heavy fog and waves pounding the shoreline.
Here are a couple of shots from before the race. If I look scared, it's because I was. I was nursing a sore foot I'd gotten from running 5 blocks in high heels Friday afternoon (long story - never mind) and wasn't at all sure I'd be able to finish 42.2k. However, I was determined to start and see how it went.
Once I got moving, things improved considerably so I settled into an easy pace, hoping to pick it up in the second half.
Even with the fog, the course was beautiful and temperatures couldn't have been better but, unfortunately, at around 25k, my right leg and hip began to tighten up, which soon lead to knee pain and occasional lower back spasms. I managed to keep going but was forced to stop 2 or 3 times to stretch and lost quite a bit of time as a result. Then, at around the 34k mark, I was hit by a nasty wave of nausea. I'd never before felt nauseous during a marathon so wasn't sure what to do. I tried slowing my pace and breathing more deeply which seemed to help but the nausea stayed with me to the finish line.
In retrospect, I realize that part of the trouble may have been that the course was hillier than I realized with climbs totaling approximately 779 metres. Here's the elevation chart from my Garmin.
Not exactly a flat course - which may explain why only 46 people were silly enough to attempt it. :-) In any case, I finally crossed the finish line with a official time of 4:48:51, a long way off my personal best of 4:36 but relieved and grateful to finish, and happy to see Husband and Sarah who were waiting to greet me.
I stopped long enough for a massage and one last picture with my pirate friends...
before heading home to clean up and debrief with Sarah. (She did great, by the way.)
Here's an after shot of the two of us with our bling. Notice that I'm sporting three finishers' medals - one for each race and one for having completed the "Tartan Twosome".
A massive shoutout to the race organizers who made Maritime Race Weekend such a fun event despite the weather, and to Sarah, Jane and Nancy for being such great company and for running terrific races of their own. Another big thank you to Husband for (as usual) being so supportive of my running addiction. Getting marathon #7 checked off took some doing and he has been incredibly patient and encouraging throughout my training this year. I'm lucky to have such a stalwart and loving #1 fan.
Of course, my running season isn't quite over yet. In a month, Husband and I will be en route to Newfoundland where I'm registered to run "the toughest race in eastern North Amercia". Between now and then, my goal is to recover thoroughly while retaining as much fitness as possible. I'll be sure to keep you posted on how it goes.