Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Marathon Race Report

The Prince Edward County Marathon took place on Sunday, October 1. We left home around 7:00 am on Saturday, September 30 to make our way to the County. The race expo opened at 10:00 and we were there by 10:30. We made a couple of stops along the way. One was to buy some pies at the Big Apple Orchards.

The expo was really small so it didn't take long to get my race kit and head out. We decided to drive the race route so I could get a feel for the course. It looked fairly flat except for one little hill near the end. Why do they always put hills near the end of races? We drove in to Picton and tried to figure out how hubby could get around the road closures when it was time for him to meet me at the finish line.

Then it was off to find our cottage. We stopped at Black River cheese to pick up some locally made cheese. We like to support the local economy when we travel. The cottage was small, but cozy, with a nice view of the lake. It was a wonderful location and only 10 minutes from Picton. By the way, Picton is the prettiest town. If you've never been there, it's worth a trip.

I woke up at about 5:00 am on race morning to pouring rain and asked myself why I wanted to do the race. I don't mind being cold, but I don't like to be cold and wet, especially for over 4 hours. Hubby drove me to the start line, and by the time we got there, the rain had stopped. There was a light drizzle when the race started at 8:30, and it stopped altogether by about the 10K mark.

This is a small race, so there weren't that many people at the start line. I moved up fairly close to the mat so my clock time and chip time wouldn't be too much different. It was a little slow at the start, but that is normal. Once everyone spread out, it was easy to pick up a little speed. I didn't see the first kilometre marking, so I didn't know my pace until I spotted the 2K marker. I was 2 minutes ahead of my goal. This worried me a bit, because I knew if I went out too fast at the beginning, I might not have anything left in the tank at the end.

I settled in to a nice even pace and at every kilometre marking, I was still 2 minutes ahead. This felt really good until I realized I had to pee. I hate stopping during a race, but I knew I had a little buffer time, so I started scouting out the porta-potties. They had one at each water stop. I had to run past about six of them before I found one that was unoccupied.

At the half way mark, I was still feeling good and I was still 2 minutes ahead, even with the pee break. I got a side stitch shortly after that, but it worked itself out and I carried on. At the 30K mark, I knew I could keep this pace up till the end and I had a pretty good idea I was going to qualify for Boston. What a great feeling. When I came to that hill near the end, I plowed up it. I lost about a minute there, but I pushed on and made that minute up. I had family waiting at the finish line and I wanted them to see me cross the finish line as a Boston qualifier.

As I approached the finish line, I could see the clock. It said 4:02. I didn't want it to get to 4:03 before I crossed it, so I gave my last burst of energy and tried to beat the clock. I could hear people yelling my name, but I just focussed on the clock, and I did it. I crossed the line at 4:02:58. My chip time was 4:02:37. The Boston qualifying time for my age group is 4:05. I made it with 2 minutes to spare. I'm just amazed that I kept that 2 minute buffer through the whole race.

Hubby was there with my brother and sister-in-law and a couple of my cousins and their families. It was just the greatest thing to have so many family members there to cheer me on. We all went back to our cottage and had a feast that hubby had spent the morning preparing. I was on a runner's high all afternoon.

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