Making it a Three-peat

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Hello all out there! Well, as the title and the picture to the left implies, I recently participated in, and successfully completed, my third marathon! As usual, it was Ottawa’s own ING National Capital Marathon that I ran. Apparently, this has become the largest marathon in Canada. Can you imagine that? Thousands upon thousands of flailing legs attempting to transport their owners over a distance of 42,200 meters. This is both quite a sight to see, as well as be a part of. Each year, I swear it will be my last marathon, as I don’t purport to be all that fond of running. However, each year, as the fall drags on, I get the post-racing season blues. My final racing events are usually in September or October, then I start worrying that I’ll stagnate, so I get it in my head that it would be a good idea to sign up for the marathon for the next year, thereby forcing myself to start actual training sometime in January. Well, this past year was no different, and I found myself starting the long journey to the start line in the cold, windy days of winter. Of course, I don’t have ready access to a treadmill, so virtually all my training runs are outdoors. This year, I bumped myself up to an ‘Intermediate II’ level in Hal Higdons’ marathon training programs. This meant a bump up in the distances as well as intensity that I ran. In the end, I ran 5 days a week for 18 weeks, and also sprinkled in some winter races, swim training, and spinning classes. This of course was all to aid my on-going quest to become a stronger adventure racer, but also to help me get my goal in this year’s marathon. 3 hours and 20 minutes (yes, I spoke of 3h 15min., but that was my ‘unofficial’ goal). As a result of my dedication to the program, I pulled off a 3 hr, 18min, 15 second run. This was of course a personal best for me. My first two results being 3:47 and 3:30 respectively. I certainly can’t say that I was disapointed with that 🙂 !

Now, as far as the full results go, here is a list of the various splits that I had in my run, in case you care. I reached 10k at 45:18. I hit 21.1k (halfway) at 1:34:47 (another PB), and hit 30k at 2:16:58. Overall, if you look at the 1/2 marathon time, you can note that I unfortunately had a positive split (took longer for the 2nd half) of 8 minutes, even though they say Ottawa is a good course for a negative split. This is pretty consistent with my other results as well. I always seem to go out a little bit too fast, and it catches up to me by the finish. For interest’s sake, I also put together a graph showing my section paces and cumulative paces, which you can see here.

Note that the line going up is bad, the line going down is good. Apparently, I accelerated between 10k and 21.1k. Bad idea methinks 😉 I will say though, the weather for my run was top notch, if not a slight bit warm towards the end (it got pretty toasty later on for the 1/2 marathon runners). As usual, I have to thank Jody for her never-ending support of my racing persona, as well as for being a great embedded photographer! Once again, she tried to hook up with me throughout the course to take some pictures. Unfortunately, I was a bit too quick for her in some cases, so she didn’t get all the shots of me :-). Nevertheless, there are a good crop of pictures from before, during, and after the race to share with you. Check them out.

This year also marked a new system that I devised for myself as far as hydration and salt replacement goes. I ran with salt caplets in my pockets. For the whole race, I religously drank mainly gatorade, and some waters, but also every 20 minutes I took a caplet of salt to keep my salt up high. Obviously, I didn’t really notice much, but when I crossed the finish line is where I think I realized the benefit. I didn’t collapse with spasmic muscle cramps like I usually do! It was great. I was exhausted, that’s for sure, but I wasn’t debilitated. I think my friend Sodium Chloride is to thank for that. After my hospital visit last year during the Quest for a Cure 48hr race, I vowed to work on my hydration and sodium intake strategy during races. This is of even more importance when you are doing ultra-endurance events like multi-day races and ironman-type triathlons. My goal is to go hard, fast and very long now, without dehydrating or suffering cramps. I’m pretty sure I’m on track for that now.

Okay, enough about me. I’d also like to shout out my kudos to everyone else who participated in the race weekend in various events, including Dave and Kev, who were brave enough to also tackle the full marathon. Their races, along with everyone else’s, are theirs to tell, not mine, so I will leave it to them. Congats to all. I’d like to think that in some way, I helped inspire them to get into this misery and try their hand at the marathon. After all, a few years back, I didn’t do a whole lot other than drink, party, and travel for work. I had Ultimate frisbee, but that was about it until I decided I wanted to be an Adventure Racer! Since then, I guess I’ve really gotten into this stuff with a certain zeal, although I still say I hate running. I just wanna be cool and race in something like Eco-Challenge (now defunct), or the newer races such as Primal Quest and Beast of the East. At the end of the day, it’s all about getting out of this damn cubicle once in a while, and experiencing something real and personal. Working is too much like being a Borg, part of the collective. Getting out there and doing this stuff makes me feel more human. Hmm, never thought about that till now, but I guess that’s as good a reason as any, isn’t it? Anywho, that’s it for now. Now turn off your computer and get outside and do something!

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