Monday, May 30, 2011

Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson -- Ottawa Race Weekend Marathon Report

The day started at 3am. I was up and had my cantaloupe and 2 bagels with peanut butter and a cup of coffee.

Had the rest of the family up and we were on the road at 5:10 am for the hour plus ride to Ottawa.

Weather was about 16 degrees and overcast...and humid. And it did get warmer and more humid.


There were 5024 runners in the full marathon starting at 7am and 11000+ starting at 9am for the half. It was absolutely surreal looking in every direction and seeing runners of all sizes and shapes and feeling the buzz of energy making the ground vibrate.

And that was my downfall. I fed off of that and went out way tooooo fast. I was good for about the first 8 miles or so and then realized I could not keep the pace. In hindsight, I should have really throttled back...but obviously I didn’t....and I paid dearly for it.



At 10 miles, I started to get the first of the cramps that would be with me till the end of the race. My left calf started tightening up and was doing that nasty spasm thing and then the quads started to join in.

Just to let you know, I did not use the camelbak. I don’t think it would have helped much as I drank enough water and Gatorade to float a boat at the aid stations...the humidity and the fast start just did me in.

By the time we reached the half way mark, I was starting to compose poems in my head for the blog, too bad I can’t remember any of them but I’m sure they were good. They helped me get through some tough mental challenges about how goals 5, 4, 3, 2 were not going to happen.

It was about that time to that I started to notice the entertainment along the way. Lotsa bands playing and tons of people on the course cheering everybody on. Even where traffic was backed up, motorists were honking their horns in encouragement and nobody seemed to be foul about being stuck in traffic.

At about 8 miles left, I knew I was going to do it. I was not physically tired or mentally tired for that matter, my muscles were just giving up but I was not going to quit.

I got to about 6 miles left and spotted the “Boss” and “A” & “B” on the side of the road. Gotta a hug and a kiss and an “I’m so proud of you” that picked my spirits up and made me even more determined to finish.



I definitely will always remember the band singing “I Will Survive”. As I went by I did a little hand roll and finger point to the sky 3 times aka John Travolta style. There were belly dancers and cheerleaders, drummers and Dr. Seuss characters, you name it, they had it.




Check out this lovely belly dancer, what a trooper in the rain


Those last 6 miles were probably the hardest thing I have ever done. I would run for half a mile and walk for a 100 yards, and then start all over again. And I was not the only one. I saw tons of runners with the same corral start as me doing exactly what I was doing. That gave me a bit more strength as I was not the only one struggling. And as I got closer to the finish, the run distance was getting less vs. the walking time.

At ¾ of a mile, I said to hell with it, pain and all, I was going to run over the finish line. I think if that sucker was a few more 100 meters/yards away, I would have croaked. My knees felt like two fists hammering each other dead on everytime my feet hit the pavement. My mantra at this point was finish and learn for the next time.


The best part of the whole day was when I saw the clan at the finish line and I got kisses thru the fence from the family. They had all the runners in a penned in park (full and half ended close to the same time so roughly 16000 runners in one spot...it was crazy but well organized and controlled) so I had to meet up with the family after the race at a different location.


The “Boss” snapped a pick of all the human baked potatoes....


We met at the Mall after I got some yogurt and water. I was wasted and ready to go home.

To get to the wheels, we had to go up 2 sets of stairs. I got a major cramp/spasm at the top of the 2nd and had to massage my leg for a few minutes. It is probably the closest I have come to screaming in pain as an adult. Owwwwww

When we got home, the “Boss” headed for a nap and I took a look at their pictures and had a few frosty’s. After many attempts to get comfortable, I had a nap too. It was hard to lay somewhere that didn’t hurt if that makes sense. And of course, I was sleeping with my new buddy, I earned that right.


So, I have learned so much this weekend. I will do another marathon this year for sure...just maybe a bit smarter. I also have a ½ in 3 weeks and a duathlon or two to sign up for soon. Still stiff and sore this morning but filled with a sense of accomplishment. The pain will go away with Advil but the accomplishment will stick around for awhile I think.

Thanx for the support....I had lotsa time to think about my blogging buddies during the 4 hours and 32 minutes of my run. You all got me thru some hard spots.

Have a great week everybody, I know I will.

10 comments:

Coy Martinez said...

Holy cow!! I could feel your pain! It's one thing to zoom through a race with flying colors but it's another to have to dig deep like you had to! It makes you stronger mentally and physically! I went out way tooo fast in my first half and hit the wall at mile 8. I clawed my way to the finish but be sure that I'll leave gas in the tank from now on!

That is a beautiful medal!! You earned it!

Laura said...

Congrats for gutting it out...The Ottawa medals are always great swag to run for.

Quinton J said...

Awesome work my friend...congratulations.

Char said...

That sounds so much like my first (and to date, only) marathon) Felt great at the beginning went out too hard and died before the end but managed to finish by sheer willpower. Well done!

Chris K said...

All of Canada and Raider Nation is proud of you Shawn. Seriously, how cool was your family coming out to support you. Very, very cool. Dude, you looked all studly out there. Congrats again.

Jamoosh said...

We learn by doing and you did it! Congrats.

Kate said...

Great job, Shawn. Like you said, you've learned from your mistakes (why oh why must we always learn the hard way??) and you're going to do even better next time. How cool that your family was there to support you! I bet that really was a great pick-up when you needed it. And in the rain!

Very cool medal.

Adam said...

Way to gut it out. Sometimes that is the best you can do - get the finish and plan your comeback!!

Cramps are killer. once they hit, there is SOO little that you can do to work through them until after the race is over. Way to fight through and get the finish!

Johann said...

Well done! You pushed on and did it, fantastic! That quote at the top is just what I need now after my DNF at Comrades. I will certainly rise again.

Jenn said...

Great Report Shawn! I love that you're smiling at the end with your medal!

So, I ran in 83 degrees and humid today-my last long run before taper! DEATH march. If this happens on race day, I'm toast. I totally feel your pain running 26 miles in this!

Love your opening quote and you will DEFINITELY get a sign in October. I was a pathetic sign maker for the last month....trying to redeem myself-ha!

Congrats again and you totally deserved to sleep with your buddy:)