Monday, September 15, 2008

Victoria Marathon Training - Week 14

When I heard the weather forecast Saturday night for race day I had some apprehensions. By all accounts it was shaping up to be a hot day. Sunny and a high of 29C - much warmer than the previous couple of weeks.
Nevertheless, I put my reservations aside and headed over to Vancouver Island for the Landsend Half-Marathon. A beautiful rural setting for a road race awaited with winding roads and rolling hills shaded by a canopy of evergreens. The route is lined with secret coves, pastoral farms, and quaint cottages. I had run the route 2 weeks prior (see Week 10) and knew what to expect. My goal was to maintain a 9:05 pace and finish the race just under 2 hours.
At 9am sharp 178 runners headed off into the countryside. We passed by horses, cows, sheep, and other curious onlookers. Most of the way I managed to stay on schedule, though my speed fluctuated wildly with the numerous climbs and descents.
My Dad and my boyfriend, Ian, raced all around hell's half acre in a green Jeep to shout words of encouragement, Dad furiously snapping away with his fancy camera. The last time I saw them was near the last water stop, at the 18K mark. I took off my fuel belt and handed it off after one more swig of Gatorade. I had decided to run the last 3K unencumbered.
Things deteriorated pretty quickly after that. Those last few kilometres turned out to be a gradual uphill all the way to the finish. There was no shade and no more aid stations. Then out of nowhere I started having trouble breathing: I was having an asthma attack.
I stopped to walk and suck air for a few minutes, trying to calm down and keep myself conscious long enough to gulp some shallow breaths. The whole episode was worsened by a growing sense of panic. My over-developed imagination took hold and I had a terrible vision of myself collapsing and no one finding me in the long grass....
After a couple of minutes walking and calming myself I manged to start a slow jog. My mind started functioning normally again and one thought entered it: I don't want to do no stinking marathon.
With 1K to go I started running in earnest, just wanting it to be over, and made for a strong finish. I passed two old ladies in the final stretch and heard the announcer calling my name out. A few more strides and I was home.
I guess I didn't look as strong as I thought, because as soon as I was through the line and my number was taken I was whisked off to the aid station against my will. The volunteers had me sit and lower my head. Ice was placed on the back of my neck while one of the ladies checked my pulse.
An elderly runner, who had finished the race about an hour or so before me, asked if I'd ever run a half-marathon before. Humiliation set in. I struggled to breathe for a few minutes and saw the worried look on my Dad's face.
About 5 minutes later I was walking around and my father was plying me with chocolate chip cookies and watermelon slices. I was not pleased with my time in the end (2:04:39), but it was just one of those events you are just happy to finish.
-had 2 packages of instant oatmeal with some walnut crumbs on top + one coffee 2 hours before race
-drank 4 small bottles gatorade mixed with water (2 scoops gatorade in total)
-asthma problems occurred 2 hours into the run, so I need to keep my inhaler AND PHONE handy
-no significant stomach problems -no significant aches or pains (except mental)
-preferred the new fuel belt with 4 small bottles to the 1 bottle version


Rachel said...

Good for you! I think running is 90% mental and 10% physical. You are what you say to yourself! I find have a positive rhythmic mantra helps in times when things get really rough. Just keep running....

Snowshadow said...

Rachel , I used to believe that it was 90:10 (when I was fit) but I think its more 60:40 (now I am not so fit). I say this because you may be able to push yourself to get through the event or challenge your involved with but at the detriment of your future running. (I have been there and it sucks).

Example: Paula Radcliffe did well to get throughout the Beijing Olympics but god forbid it messed up her running career. ( Thankfully it never). I think it really does come down to knowing your own limits and that comes from dedication and getting to know yourself.

Totally agree on the mantra..i use one line from a song over and over.

All that said...well done Nicole.

By the way with regards to limits this being a running blog, if you wanted to post other stuff I am sure no one would mind, its all part of keeping it personal.

Drusy said...

A brave finish with the asthma attack. How have you cut out sugar and flour? I know they are both poison, and wake with a resolution to eat better every day, but find myself craving both. I'd love to know your secret.

Kimberly said...

You finished your race in a great time...and on top of that you walked a bit. Every race is different and I always learn things about myself during each race. Congratulations on another 1/2 marathon under your belt.

Andrew - Six Minutes Public Speaking Blog said...


Thanks for sharing your race report. It really does help to read about the ups and downs of the races that other runners experience.

Your race report helped me mentally prepare for my first half marathon which I ran today, and it helps me to accept the result too. I cannot blame the heat (today was a cool 11C), but I know what you mean about a long, steady uphill course segment. For my half marathon in south Surrey (BC), from 15k to 18k was steadily uphill at different inclines. At 15k, I had loads of energy, but this 3k segment sapped all of my physical and mental energy. I ended up finishing in 2:01:35... just off my goal of 2:00:00.