Ottawa Marathon, May 2016, by Olive
Registered since November 2015, it is with meticulousness that I refine my training for this race. First marathon, (excluding triathlon) I set myself goals of a sub3h and a qualification for the 2017 Boston marathon. My current PR marathon during the Muskoka ironman is 3:28.
I remain active in running during the long winter months of Montreal and I religiously follow my 16 week training plan starting in February. Winter 2016 not being “too” cold, most of the training is done outdoors except for the intervals (the athletics track is an ice rink until the end of April)!
The plan goes smoothly, 95% of the outings are done “fresh”, long pants, 2 or 3 layers on the upper body, gloves and hat. Then in mid-May spring finally arrives and during the week of the race arrive without warning of heatstroke at + 30ºC.
The organization of the marathon sends us emails to keep us from the heat, it asks us to lower our goals, it shifts the other running events to start them earlier so as not to run at the hottest times of the day.
On the day of the marathon, the start is at 7am, the expected temperature is 21ºC at 7am and 29ºC around 11am. We wake up at 4:50 am, have lunch and then go to the start line around 6:40 am. Cloud cover helps block the sun’s rays, which is a pretty good sign! It is hot but the sun is not in direct radiation with us. The starting line is already well back, it is quite difficult to reach my box and I resign myself to staying behind the “pacer” 3:05.
7 am the start is given and the 4400 runners set off. The pack is dense and we do not step on each other, even if it is not easy to overtake, it progresses.
The first km is done in 3’58 ” which is a bit fast, but the group cannot really run at their own pace. Then the pack stretches and several small groups form.
Feels okay, not Olympic form, but it’s ok. I stay with my small group for the first 5 kilometers, at the head of this group a woman setting the pace and now the 4’05 ” / km. I am blown away by his pace and I stay on these heels. But at km 5 she will relax the effort and I will leave this group to continue at the same pace until km 17. Km 18 is a little slower 4’15 ” I restart a little then my pace oscillates between 1km a 4’05 ” and the next in 4’15 ”. I pass km21 in 1h27 ‘I tell myself that 2h56’ ‘is within my reach if I keep the same pace. I’m joined by a runner who tells me he’s been chasing me from the start, we run and talk together for a long time, and we play cat and mouse a bit. He walks past me more and more often,
Our pace always oscillates on the same basis, 1km at 4 ‘and the next in 4’15’ ‘.
Around km28 my legs start to hurt. Km 30 the heart is fine, the breath is fine, no over-revving, but the legs are painful, I cannot accelerate too much, I am content to keep up the pace by gritting my teeth a little. Km 35 I passed again in front of the runner with whom we exchanged a few words and also a few stints to protect themselves from the wind then km38 it cracks and slows down, I will see him again only after the finish line has passed.
The last kilometers are long (42.2km is very long indeed). I décomptais kilometers from the 32 th ! Repeating to myself “more than 10k”, “more than 9k”, “more than 8km”, etc etc…. But being able to pick up 1 to 1 from other runners who “hit the wall” or decelerate greatly helps to maintain focus and pace.
In the last two km the course merges with that of the half marathon, slower runners arrive en masse in front of you. On the one hand, it’s great to see people, but on the other hand, you should not be locked behind a group and all the time anticipate these zigs-zags to clear your way.
It seems long enough and endless, we just want to end it, the legs sting and burn the quadriceps as much as the calves, and this since km28 or 30. Finally, we see a panel 200m then we see the line, and the stopwatch. I’ll finish in 2h57’00 ”! Very satisfied with the result which qualifies me for Boston, I will wait for my running friend who will arrive 40 seconds behind me and will tell me that his normal marathon time is 2h54, but with the current weather conditions it was not possible to renew his best result.
We grab our medals, a snack and it’s with a limp that I go home to take a good shower and then refuel my carbohydrates in a good steak house!