Hello and welcome back Readers,
So glad to be writing this blog today on my first day off from what I could likely call my big day. This whole week winding down from the marathon has been awesome. I just love the Vancouver Running community. Actually I love the whole running community but feel much love close to home. I really enjoy sifting through the online media and reminiscing over a successful event. For those who don't know, I was invited to partake in the elite field at this years Run for Water Marathon. Unfortunately at the time I had already committed to the BMO Vancouver Marathon. After not completing Vancouver, I had plans already to have a second go at the marathon distance in Abbotsford. Before I could even email the elite coordinator, I already had a message asking if I'd like to join the event. David Jackson was the gent in charge of organizing all of the elites and is an elite runner himself. He also happened to win and has the course record for the Half marathon here. He did a great job of organizing the Day and making sure it was smooth for all runners. It's this kind of care and attention which makes me want to be a part of a great event. An event is only as good as it's volunteers and organization.
The hardest part of coming to this event was trying to stay mentally focused after a tough and deflating Vancouver. I wanted to relax and felt ready for a break after my lengthy training block leading into BMO. I had some nutritional issues which were leading to low energy levels. I actually think I was suffering from this in the BMO Marathon as well. I felt as though my efforts were there but the performance was not. As if I was an 6 cylinder engine running on 5. I went to YVS (Your Vitamin Store on West 4th Ave and Burrard St.) He has been in the biz for years and really knows his stuff. I suspected I was low on Iron as I do not eat red meat very often so Randy hooked me up with a two week supply of samples for free. After talking to my coach John Hill he thought Vitamin B12 would be a good idea as well. I picked up a natural concoction for the iron and some tabs which dissolve under the tongue. After only a couple of days I was feeling charged and energy levels had climbed above where they had been for a while.
Saturday was a crazy busy day on the sales floor at Dizzy Cycles. The conclusion of the West 4th Ave construction was celebrated by a street long sale here in Kitsilano. I was running the whole day trying to help three people at once all day. I was glad to be able to leave early at 4:30 but it was so busy at the time I felt horrible to leave my sales team a man down in the trenches as we were already short handed. Sally and I made it to the Greyhound station on time and made our way out to Abbotsford to settle in for the night. My team mate Bryan Andrews who was also running the Marathon was kind enough to pick us up from the depot and we all had dinner at Moxies before returning to the Sandman hotel. Thanks to the hotel and race director for putting us up in a lovely room. Unfortunately I was hot and cold all night and suffered from convoluted dreams which were stressful and made no sense at all. I basically woke every hour on the hour until my last restful hour between 4am and 5am where I was dreaming about missing my ride to the start and being late. Needless to say I was glad to be awake and starting the race.
We met at the elite tent and dropped off our bottles and gels for the course. It was rainy and cool which meant hydration wouldn't be a hard thing to maintain, but fuelling is still crucial in a marathon. I didnt have time after work and before the race to get bottles for the feed station and was glad that Happy Water was able to hook me up with 5 bottles for the race. I pour out half the water and put in my CytoMax mix. I tape a Vega Gel to the outside. This is a formula I won't mess around with as I know it works well every time. The Cyto Max gives me the energy and electrolytes I need and the gels keep me fuelled up and sustained for the long haul. Pre race routine for fuelling: Oatmeal, Banana, coffee. Never fails and sticks to the ribs. I will also consume 200mg of Caffeine 15 mins before the start as well as a gel and a bottle of Cytomax. The Caffeine helps with mental strength and I can fool myself into feeling good for a long way.
The gun went off and I was in the lead immediately. There was Jason Loutit a certain contender, and last year's winner Ryan Prachnau who were close around me and we travelled as a small pack through the first 2kms. There was a taller less graceful runner who pushed past and started to push the pace. I knew he wouldnt be able to continue this for long and was likely running his first marathon. I said to him "42 to go bud." As I looked to my right and shared a smile and glance with Jason. We both knew. After that it was game time. The first few kilometres are downhill and thus the last few are up. The course comes back to itself around the 34km mark. I was able to settle in and found myself comfortably running my goal pace of around 3:33/km. As I went through the ten Km mark I glanced over my shoulder expecting to see a pack hot on my heels. There was one man behind me in a blue jersey about 200 Meters back. "Ok," I thought, "We have a real race on our hands." In my head I knew it was still early and also felt as though I was the fastest most capable runner on the course. I knew if I continued this I could grow the gap.
At Half way I had only grown the gap to about 400 Meters and was a bit worried that this guy may try to push in the later parts to shrink my lead. The first half of this race had a ton of head winds to battle and at times I was really struggling to keep my pace. The wind wasn't horrible, but it was persistent and along those 2-5km straight roads it was constant. I knew the competition was facing the exact conditions as I was and would likely be suffering equally. This was comforting. Here's something you don't or won't hear everyday, But I know a lot of you have had to think about or make decisions about going pee during a race. I have had to pee in three or four other events during the race. I have at times tried to do it while running and other times just tried hard to ignore it. I have only experienced this in shorter races like a half or 10k. Seeing as how it was raining and I had worked so hard to grow and maintain my current lead, stopping was out of the question. Peeing my pants however, still very much in question. The only problem about this potential reality is that no matter how hard I tried, I could not for the life of me get my plumbing to work. When the only thing on your mind is going pee and trying doesn't work, well you have to keep trying. I honestly spent over three kilometres trying and finally I was able to relieve myself. I have never felt so good or proud about soiling my running shorts. To make this situation even more difficult, I had a wonderful man named Rick who was the lead cyclist cycling right beside me. He heard me making some strange noises and asked if I was ok. After a few grunts and sighs I replied "I am now!" Immediately after I felt lighter and my pace magically resumed. I ran through a large puddle which cleaned my legs and shoes and at the next water station poured two cups all over myself. "All clean!" I said "Now back to the race."
The two lead cyclist were amazing and very helpful. They kept me safe from traffic, prepared the feed station volunteers to have either water or sports drink for me as I passed through. At the elite feed stations, the bottles were on the ground unattended. Rick was kind enough to ride ahead and take my lid off and hand my bottle to me like the other feed stations so I didn't have to stop and pick them up. It was also great Having them there as for the most part, this course was in the middle of nowhere. My super awesome support crew Sally and Zahida were driving the course and were sure to be at all the check points cheering and ringing cow bells. I felt so happy to hear them and see them along the way. They did a fantastic job of keeping my spirits high.
At the 24-34km mark I Constantly focused on form and technique in order to keep my pace strong. I was running a little slower than I had hoped for but maintaining 3:37/km avg. I knew at this point that if I could keep my legs moving I would win this race for sure. By the time I had 7kms left to run my legs were starting to feel the pain. My mental strength was the only thing which could force my legs to keep pressing on. I was suffering quite a lot when we merged with the half marathoners. I was so relieved to be surrounded by other runners at this point and knew the race would soon be over. By the time we blended into the 10k runners their energy was infectious. The cheers and number of people made me ignore the pain. The uphill finish made my legs feel like lead and when I checked my pace I felt as if I was barely moving. The only reason I could guarantee I was still in fact moving was everyone saying you look great! In my mind I was saying "Hmmm that's funny, I feel like shit." I felt like my goal time had been lost long ago but when I saw the yellow finish line banner I for the first time in a marathon was able to find another gear to grind into the finish. The clock came into view and I could see I was under the 2:35:00 mark. I was so excited that my time was fairly decent. Could I do this??? I pushed as hard as I could possibly push toward the line and sadly watched the PBon the clock trickle away. I finished in 2:35:08. Extremely happy with the outcome and time for a lonely race, I absorbed the reality of the accomplishment. I wobbled my way through to collect my medal and hurried to fill myself with Muscle Mlk for some quick and easy to absorb protein. I made my way from there quickly to the medical tent for a relieving ice bath and got into some dry clothes.
The trophy, medal and plaque were stunning and the $1200 cheque completed my day successfully. I have never received a payout this large and it will help me drastically pay off some much needed depts and bills. Its such a relief! It's not like winning the lotto but it really does help alleviate the many costs of life. All in all, I loved the course, the event was perfectly organized and on time. I will recommend the Envision Financial Abbotsford Run For Water Marathon to anyone looking to set a fast time and have a great run for an awesome cause. By the way, as well as I set the course record, there was a record breaking $358 000 for clean drinking water in Ethiopia. I have run out of time for today but will return tomorrow to add photos and more links from the event.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more sports fantastic action soon. Next race will be the Sandcastle 10k in White Rock on June 9th. Stay fit and have fun!!