Sunday, April 01, 2012

My Last Long Run

I had absolutely no idea that today’s long run would be such an emotional experience.

This includes my pre-race miles. My official time for 30K/~18.6 miles was 3:29:40 or 11:16/mile

I ran 20.25 miles, most of which was part of the Birch Bay International Road Race 30K, back up on the US side of the border (it used some of the same course as the half marathon). It’s a really beautiful place to run. My favorite part were the views of the mountains, just peeking out from under the cloud cover and, of course, the Bay. I wasn’t last, which was important, and they handed out lovely medals. It was kind of lonely after the 15K runners split off, but there were tons of aid stations (waaaaaaaay better, in this respect than the half marathon). My official time was 3:29:40. I didn’t have any goals for this race other than to finish, because this was simply a long, slow run for me. However, I did walk a lot less than I have in any of my other long runs, because, obviously, the walk breaks counted in this one, whereas I usually just stop my watch. Through the last five miles or so, I just kept counting down – 5 miles to taper, 4 miles to taper, 3 miles to taper, 2 miles to taper, 1 mile to taper….

But, a wall of emotions that I was in no way expecting just HIT me with half a mile to go. All of a sudden, I needed to cry, because I was completely overwhelmed by the magnitude of finishing my marathon training (there’s still three weeks to go, obviously, but this is the last of the really long runs and I’m officially tapering down to the race now). I’m really, really proud of what I’ve accomplished. In over four months of training, I’ve only missed three runs. Following a schedule and staying really focused isn’t usually my strong point, so this is huge. Gosh darn it, I’m GOING to be able to do this, me – the short little pudgy girl, a marathon runner! I wished my parents could be here to see me do this; I’m sure they would be completely flabbergasted, but supportive and proud. Poor Duchie got a crying phone call right after I finished and she was NOT pleased with me for pulling that on her (and I cried again when I talked to my godmother), but I really just needed to share how overwhelming the “end” of hard marathon training felt. And, to be honest, I’m really glad I finished my last long run as part of a race, because that finish line was so symbolic in so many ways. It meant a lot to have people clapping, even though they had no idea how significant it was, in the context of all my training.

What I wore:
Skirt Sports skirt (no chaffing at all - LOVE them), long sleeved pink shirt (Adidas, via Nordstrom Rack), very light blue jacket (Marmot?), Injinji socks, Saucony Cortanas, my flags of the world Sweaty Band, Nike visor, Moving Comfort undies, $1 gloves, my race belt for teh iPod and race number

Nutrition (the Gu every 5 miles thing seems to be working for me, plus a salt tablet every 7.5):
5mi. – peanut butter Gu
7.5mi – salt tablet & 2 pretzal nuggets
10mi – espresso love Gu
15 – peppermint Gu & salt tablet
afterwards – tea, broth, water, PB&J, oranges, half a banana
later afterwards – hot chocolate, chicken sandwich, maple doughnut (ALL Tim Horton’s!!!), Cadbury Dairy Milk (thank you, Canada)

The race itself was also great - the 5/15/30K was actually the same size as the half/full in February, both around 450 finishers, but this one had a ton more course support, chip timing at both the start and finish, enough post-race food and water and hot drinks to go around, on-course photography, a technical t-shirt, no EVIL hill (just a few gently rolling ones, except for that MONSTER about 0.2 from the finish line) and a nicer medal (don't get me wrong - I'm REALLY proud of my half marathon medal & have it displayed proudly, but this one is lovelier). Packet pick-up for the half was either the night before or in the morning - more than a mile away from the start line. Packet pick-up for the 30K was race morning, too, but next to the start/finish line and in the nice warm community center that we could warm up in afterwards. Both courses are lovely. I really liked that this race was on Saturday, instead of Sunday, giving me a great excuse for a weekend away in Canada. I think, given that there are loads of half marathons around, I probably won't do the Birch Bay half again, even though I am grateful to it for being at the right time in my training and for the PB, but I'm already thinking that I'd like to do the 15K at the Road Race next year (I don't see a particularly good reason to put my body through 30Ks if I'm not marathon training, which I won't be).


DGri said... Reply to comment

love this. let yourself feel amazing, because this IS amazing. you inspire me!

Joyce said... Reply to comment

@DGri Thank you!!! And you've inspired me so much!

Crossfit said... Reply to comment

Nice pics, it was a great race event. Looking forward always for more updates. Thanks for sharing in your great experience in the event.