Boulevard of broken dreams

Dear Marathon,
You and me, we are so over. And let me be clear on this, it was you, not me that ruined this relationship. Yes, yes, I know I was the one who sought you out, who longed for your elusive, bad boy ways, but I’ve done you twice now, and both times you kind of sucked ass. I mean seriously, did you really think we were going to last when you repeatedly punched me in the gut for 20 straight kilometres, and joyously cackled when my legs seized up at 30 kms, and laughed at my blister-clad feet, and taunted me with every shaky step I took. Really? Yeah, no. And don’t you try to come crawling back to me with your gold trinkets, because it won’t work, I’m done, I’m moving on … with your half cousin! Who’s laughing now jerk face?
Sincerely, Princess

6:30 a.m. BG before: 8.4 (1 Sharkies)
Temp. basal: -50 per cent (5.5 hours)
Distance: 42.2 km
Average pace: 6:35 min/km
Time: 4:44:24 (chip time)
@45 min: 1 fig newton + 1 DEX. @90 min: 1/2 a racecake. @2:15: 2 DEX (after that, food kind of fell off the map)

12:00 p.m. BG after: 4.8

The upside of this marathon is I shaved 10 minutes and 17 seconds off my Portland time making it another personal best just two weeks after garnering that amazing half PB in Toronto. The downside, I wanted to do better. I started out great, like really great, I was keeping a consistent 6:00 minute per kilometre pace and was on par for a 4:15 finishing time for about 23 km of the race, despite the feeling of blisters forming on my left foot at about 17 km in and the tossing and turning of my belly, which started at about 10 km in and continued right up until about 32 km.

6 km: Running like a kid!

13 km: Still smiling!

20.5 km: Little Miss Speedy Gonzalez caught up and surged ahead like nothing, finishing nearly 20 minutes ahead of me!

The second half of the race, I completely fell apart, 100 per cent. My stomach got worse, the thought of food had me gagging, my legs seized up, I was over-heating, I ran out of water, a couple of the water stations had also run low on water, I was fatigued like I’d never been fatigued before, and with about 9 km to go, I found it increasingly harder to muster up the energy to dig deeper. My pace slowed, my walk breaks lengthened, and I started questioning why the hell I was putting myself through such torture?

24 km: Starting to feel the boulevard of broken dreams

And yet despite me falling apart, and despite my goal of a 4:15 finish crashing and burning, and despite my vow never to return, this marathon had to have been one of the most special races I have ever completed. And I owe it all to the people.

Going into this race, I was skeptical. I didn’t think a small-town event could compare to the likes of Portland or Toronto, not even close. Well, it’s time for a retraction. The smaller race atmosphere had me running next to two guys I had never met and would never have talked to at a big race. But for almost the entire run, we ran together, paced each other, encouraged each other.

Thanks 5451!

And while there weren’t thousands of spectators lining the streets, there were way more than I thought there would be, and not just people cheering on their respective runners, but also people who lived at the houses and farms we ran by: an old guy who lined up water bottles and coke cans on his fence and who himself was perched on his front porch waving and smiling; kids scribbling encouraging messages on the pavement with coloured chalk; hockey fanatics blaring a “score” horn and a recording of fans cheering every time one of us runners passed by. And the most special of all were my cheerleaders!

Mario had mapped out a route for him and his Lapierre to meet me at various spots along the course, which was awesome, and kept me in such high spirits as it gave me something to look forward to.

Lapierre in the country.

At 30 km, when my mind started failing me, I saw this woman bouncing all over the place and across the street from her, I saw this guy buried in the high grass with just his head and shoulders showing and I was like what the hell, I couldn’t figure it out. As I got closer, I realized it was Mario, but why was his back to me, why was his camera directed at the crazy lady across the street? And then I figured it out. MOM!

Look at that sign!!!

At 34 km, my brother and sisters and nephews joined the cheering squad, and my goodness they were so super loud, I could hear them from practically a kilometre back – it was a boost I so desperately needed!

A princess-perfect pit crew!

I had no idea my sister was running after me until I saw the video after 😀

They are the reason I finished this race. They are the reason I kept to my motto: Run like a kid. Finish with a smile. How could I not smile with those cheers? And with my birthday just six days a way (Happy almost birthday to me!) I can honestly say, I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect present!

Finishing with a smile!

Thanks guys! Love you to pieces!

13 thoughts on “Boulevard of broken dreams”

  1. Somehow I suspect that you and the marathon aren’t completely finished. You’ll have to go back and pick up some stuff, and … whatnot.

  2. Congratulations Katie! I am so glad I was able to be there for this marathon finish. I also don’t think you and marathon are quite finished yet. You are too competetive to walk away before you kick marathon’s butt. Just sayin!!

  3. so even on a bad day w/ tummy issues and leg cramps you were able to PR. you’ll be back. congratulations on stayiong tough and kicky boooty!

  4. Congrats my beautiful friend. Loved the blog. Whatever you do with your running future, I know you are an awesome runner, have more guts and determination of anyone I know, you beat the marathon it did not beat you… you to pieces.

  5. Alanna Handley

    I just teared up! You are amazing! I’m not sure a marathon will EVER feel good!? lol But I’m sure the feeling of accomplishment will outweigh the pain soon enough. You’ve inspired me and I’m sure so many others! Thanks so much for sharing your story, Katie!

  6. I think 40k requires a bike – but what do I know. I’m crazy enough to give it a go next year. You know Lori is going to want you to run with her so you have at least one more to do :o)

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