Victoria Marathon Report

The Victoria Marathon has come and gone and I am happy to report that I was able to complete it in a new personal record time of 3:36:31.

Going into this event I had a lot of doubt and uncertainty. Haunted by memories of my first marathon 5 years prior, I figured I was in for a lot of pain and a slower than desired time. I decided about a week ago after talking to fellow UBCTCer Melanie van Soeren to run with her for as long as I could and then finish what was left on my own after she dropped me. She told me her goal time was 3:40 - Boston Marathon qualifying time for females her age putting us at a 5:15/km running pace. Following this pace, the best I could finish would be 3:40 but more than likely, I figured I would come in closer to 4 hours. I had this window in mind and was psyched for race day.

Race day came and I finally found Mel in the pack of runners waiting to start with 1 minute to spare. We chatted for a minute and then came to find out 20 seconds before the race started that her new goal was 3:30 running a 5min/km pace. This was 15 sec/km faster than I had planned for and was faced with the need to make a split second decision to risk burning out and running the faster pace, or sticking with my 5:15 plan and running alone. Well, of course I had to gamble and stick with Mel. It was the right choice.

Before I continue, I need to mention how incredible this race course is. It was so nice to be back in Victoria, running through scenic Beacon Hill Park, and along the water on Dallas Rd and Beach Dr. Mostly flat, with slight undulating hills. The spectators are so supportive and the volunteers were great. It's a well run event and I recommend it to anyone thinking about making the trip here to do it.

Continuing on: We started running and impressively stuck to our pace quite well. We both were feeling great and frequently made comments to each other about how awesome the race was going. I held onto Mel for about 32 km when I knew I couldn't hold the pace anymore, and she seemed to be speeding up. I wished her good luck and cut it back. At this point I was well ahead of my 3:40 best case scenario goal and was quite happy to have that as my new worst case goal - did that make sense?

My pace became slower and slower as my untrained legs began to hate me for putting them through this, but I need to say, the pain was nothing like my previous marathon. I guess although I didn't log a lot of long distance runs this year, my experience that I've gained over the years, as well as all the Half Ironman triathlons I did must have helped. In fact, I never walked (besides through the water stations to drink); well, I sort of did once but found it to be more painful than running so I figured why walk when I can run and get it over with sooner?

I ended up finishing better than 3:40 as mentioned above by 3 and a half minutes. Considering how I signed up for this thing last minute and only directly trained for it for three weeks I am ecstatic about the result!

I need to do a big shout out to Mel and say thank-you for your excellent pacing, without her help I know I would have been a lot slower.  She did great by the way, coming in at 3:30.

I'm waiting for the professional photographers to post race day photos on their website that I can swipe but until then, I've got one photo stolen from Scott's facebook that he took of me at 41.2km.  Thanks Scott and Celeste for cheering me home!

41.2 km in and still this good looking!
Thanks to my Garmin I've got my splits as follows:

1 - 5:14
2 - 4:48
3 - 4:54
4 - 4:49
5 - 4:57
6 - 5:03
7 - 4:51
8 - 4:47
9 - 5:00
10 - 4:54 - 50:01 10km Split
11 - 4:54
12 - 4:51
13 - 5:03
14 - 4:52
15 - 4:44
16 - 4:45
17 - 4:55
18 - 5:02
19 - 4:51
20 - 4:51
21 - 5:01 - 1:45:09 Half Way Split
22 - 4:45
23 - 4:53
24 - 4:55
25 - 4:51
26 - 4:51
27 - 4:53
28 - 4:52
29 - 4:51
30 - 4:47 - 2:29:04 30km Split
31 - 5:07
32 - 4:58
33 - 5:17
34 - 5:07
35 - 5:29
36 - 5:34
37 - 5:28
38 - 5:56
39 - 6:02
40 - 5:40
41 - 6:03
42 - 5:26 - 3:36:31 Finish

I think it's pretty obvious where I really started to hurt. I hadn't trained my body beyond 30km in 5 years and it shows but it doesn't matter, I'm happy. I actually dropped a minute from 20 to 30 km so I think that's cool.

I want to put a big congrats out to Winston Guo for reaching his goal of qualifying for Boston with a time of 3:07:53 and to Vincent Lavallee for running a blistering 2:58:14 and becoming a true runner. Good job guys, you inspire me. And with that said, my goal for next year - qualify for Boston (3:10)!

8 days to go!

Days until the marathon: 8

Lately I've been debating for race day whether to run fast up front and put some time in the bank but resulting in a really slow pace at the end, or starting slow and trying to hold that pace the whole way through, theoretically finishing at the same time. The second option seems like the better one but it's also so risky. I haven't ran longer than 30km in 5 years so I have no idea how my body will respond when I hit that point. Will I even be able to hold the slower pace? I might be a snail at the end either way.

To test out my options, today I ran 22km at a slower than normal pace with the hopes that I could judge how I felt at the end to see if I could hold this pace for much longer. At the end I was starting to hurt but could still pick up the pace to sub 5:00 min/km if I wanted to which was a good sign but I still don't know how I'll feel after 30km. I guess I'll just have to wait until the marathon to find out. I think I'm going to try the slower steady pace.

Since I'm not competitively running this marathon I had an idea that might be fun. I'm thinking about taking my camera with me on the run. I'll take pictures of my friends at the start. I'm thinking about taking a picture of my face every 5km just to see the progression of pain. Also, instead of spectators taking pictures of me, I'll take pictures of them. It's like a club where the outside is the inside, and the inside is the outside. Doesn't that blow your mind?