Tuesday 16 October 2012

My First Full Marathon - SWTM 2012

Viola toys + my medal
I started running in the Spring 2011, it is because of my best friend, my co-worker Felix Wu who had brained wash me.  He talked about running and his run like religion on lunch time and I was the only one who listened to him.  We used to have a group lunch in the company but then they all left the company except him and me.  He was always going out for a lunch run so either I ate alone or joined him to run.  At first, I want to run as one way to commute to work and home for those raining day and snowing day.  It is because TTC is NOT a better way to commute so I prefer to bike to work and those days are dangerous condition for that.  And here I am running my first marathon.

My marathon goals are:
1.  Finished the race
2.  Sub (under) 4 hrs

I got help from Felix, he gave me couple of training plans and I use one as a mock up but I did not run as much compare to this training plan.  Basically, I try to do 2 runs and 1 long run per week but some of the week I did only 2 runs.  The training plan had 7 times of 30K plus run and I did only 5 times with longest was 34.80K (and that was ideal from my master point of view).  I always hit the wall from running out of fuel (energy) around 27k or 28k on these 30K long run.  I even hit this wall on 24K on my last 30k run because my energy was used up the week before for Oakville Half race. Those long runs were so hard, and I respected the distances as well as those marathon runners.  Since I did sign up, I would need to commit to it.  Imagining that you went to go to sleep at 2am and need to wake up at 5am to do the long run, that was not easy. Because of those experiences, I would expect to hit the same wall on this race.  So my plan was doing 5:20, and I hoped that would get me to 30k or 32K and tried to do sub 6 until the finish line and I may got under 4 hrs time.  I consulted this to my master but he wouldn't agree, he suggested that I should run 5:30 and see how it goes.
When i checked and got my bib number online, I was so excited and nervous and I could not sleep for 2 nights (even though I would need sleep so much due to I can only sleep 4hrs/ per night with our baby. My wife and I take shift to sleep and shift to be with the baby at night).  On the night before the race, I asked her to take both shifts with the baby and I will pay back this on the other night and she accepted and said "Good Luck" to me for the race.  This is the first time that she said that to my race after having this baby.  This was one of my positive thinking to get through the last 7K on the race.
race kit
On the race day, it was a raining day, so I hided at one of those buildings.  I thought I would be ok to go out and line up at 8:20 since my coral won't start until 8:40.  I was wrong, there was too many people and I had to follow a group of runners to use the short cuts to go out at queen st and I even couldn't see the blue coral but runners was packed every where.  I saw a few empty slots at the end of yellow coral and saw the "2Hrs Half" bunny and "4 Hrs 10 to 1" bunny so I lined up below them and it was just on time to start the run. There were packed with runners so I did 5:30 pace (listen to my master) for the first 3K but i felt that was too easy for me so I speed up and felt really great, I still able to breath by the noses and not by mouth.  I was one the loudest guy who cheered for those elite runners.  It was very enjoyable to see those guys ran in the 'real person'.  The first 10K, my average pace was 5:12 and  still felt great, I speed up again,  I was 5:08 when I was at the half marathon (This is the same pace that I did the Chilly Half on March this year) and felt great.  Since I lined up with slow runners than my pace, I think I did waste the energy to pass them and I had to learn this for my next race.  Everything went so great, I kept passing people but I started to feel the cramp on my right leg at 24K mark and then my left leg so I was a bit worry and I slow down to 5:18 pace on that K and those after that but I still manage to do 5:18 pace or faster.  They were worse after 30K, I took both water and Gatorade: Gatorade to the mouth, water to the legs at every water station.  Somehow, that got me to the 35K mark and then I ran out of fuel (energy) and there was huge wind against this running direction.  At this point, the mind games got me to the finish line: like at 35k then I had to think that it would be only 7k to go and that would be 42min to go which I did those all the time;  there was an uphill at the bridge around 3k before the finish line, I would think that I was running the Boston and that was the "Heart Break" hill and if there is uphill, then is downhill; finally, I told myself that I had to get this finish medal for my daughter Viola as one of her play toy AND I DID IT! CROSSED THE FINISH LINE WITH 3:47:03 hours.  That is way better than my expectations and I am so happy about this result.

never give up

Is it tough, it is!  But I think it is easier than my first Half: Grand Thank Giving Half where I was out of energy at 17K due to the 1/3 trails, newbie, inexperience, run by myself with no one was in front and even need to ask for direction to get to the finish line on the last K.  This race, I did prepare for the worse, I still had a lots of runners to run with and I still able to pass a lots of runners (they were either slow down or started to walk after 35K mark), and was passed by other runners including the "3:45hrs" bunny at the last 2 or 3K. That race built me tough and helped me to get through this race.

Special thanks to my wife Phuong who took care the baby while I run and my best friend Felix Wu who brought me to this sport and guided me as well as reviewed all the Garmin data and believed in me that I CAN DO IT!

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