Where's JJaldo (get it?)? Don't bother looking! I am not in this pic. I don't think. I don't even know what year its from! Just found it and pasted it!
Hello! Hope you are well! Enough pleasantries! Let's get down to it, right? Guess what JJ did this past weekend? (Hint - see pic above. ) Yes, you guessed right! His second Waterfront Marathon! Second year in a row! Bazinga!
Last year, as you may or may not recall, I did my first one. I smashed the first half, and got smashed the second. So was hoping for a better result this year. More smashing and less getting smashed. And what perfect timing to do so, right? Laid off? Check! Separated? Check!
Time to burn for training, right? Well, yes...but...no. I have no excuse, but yet again...undertrained for a marathon. The shorter runs are ok, but the looong ones? Just never seem to get enough in. Like, you pick a morning, run for three-three and a half hours. Then you gotta come home, stretch, ice and roll and whatever else to make sure you didn't just injure yourself. And then you have to go about the rest of your day. It's hard! (no duh, that's why its an achievement to run a marathon, dummy!) And the first long run I did of 27k, after it, an old (ye olde?) injury flared up - Runner's Knee! Ugh, the worst! Not just because of running, but once I get it it tends to be aggravated by cycling too. Which is my main mode of transportation when I am not with the boys!
But I did the old RICE routine (Rest! Ice! Compression! Elevation!) and it seemed to clear up. Which was awesome because the last time I had it, it hung around for a loooong time. And then more training! I would say I had a couple of fairly long training runs that went really well (but admittedly, I never got to over 30 km, which is duuuummmb, I know. I know, OK!? Get off my back! I was busy doin...you know...stuff). So I had reasonable hopes. Not of a personal best, but coming in around last year's time of 3:53 or (dare I say...) better...?
Now, I do admit I was a little worried about the fact that this was the first one I was going to do where there was absolutely nobody there to watch me. Ex had the boys, and the way things are between us right now, there was no way she was going to bring them to watch their pop. Which I understand, although I do envision better days ahead. Have to.
And my running partner wasn't here either. She got a better offer...running the Women's Half Marathon in San Francisco! Can't blame her....or can I (hashtagbitter smiley face)...?
But should be ok. When the boys were younger, in Ottawa, I did plenty of runs all by myself. Just not full marathons. Which is just concerning, because a. I might be too sore to get home after and b. I tend to be a little emotional after marathons. Can't help it! After that output, I am just like a raw nerve.
But hey, JJ made his bed. Too late to go out and get some friends to come with me, right? No time! The smell of desperation probably would have driven everyone away, anyways ("Wanna be my friend?"). So here we go!
The forecast! Warm 18 degrees...but rainy. Oh well, who knows, maybe it will hold off! Get up a 7 am...nope. Pissing...honestly, I don't mind running in the rain. But I had to bike down to the run, then stand around an wait for it to start. That's what I mind. Soaked before it even starts? Blech.
So I waited as long as I could before leaving, hoping it would stop. It didn't. So away I went, into the rain. Got wet, but brought a good rain jacket and checked it at the bad check. Which was a nightmare last year, but worked LIKE CLOCKWORK this time. In a good clock!
Then I lined up to the potties to take a poop. Don't want a repeat of the 2011 Zoo Run!
As I leave the porto-potty, I can hear the gun go off. Doh! I run over to the corral. Woo hoo, someone has opened a space in the fence, in I go and I am off!
For the Waterfront Marathon, the first half of the marathon is basically the same route as the marathon. Not really my preferred method of marathoning, as I blathered on about last year, but I expected it this year, and it was fine. And for anyone (of the thousands!) reading this who may have run the Waterfront full or half before, I will say that, last year, I was struck by the half marathon route's inaccessibility for spectators. So much of it was down Lakeshore, and kinda the thing about Lakeshore, is that the only way to get to places to park around Lakeshore is...Lakeshore, which is closed. The second half of the marathon was much better, as you spend a lot of time running down Queen East, and a bunch of residents walk down and cheer you on ("go JJ, go!" "Thanks...ladies..."). Well, this year, I have to say I liked the first half of the route much more. It may have been more hilly, because we had to run all the way up to Bloor, but there was a lot more running through the city streets. So, well done, Canada Running Series!
Here I am! Ha ha, just kidding! I think these guys probably finished somewhere at the back...
Anyways...the run. I was cooking along, banging out 5 minute k's for the first five or so. (Knee feeling good! That morning, I had put on a light knee brace. Don't know if it helps much, but just to give a little reassurance.) Then...I started to get a little burning in the outside of my calf. Keep running. Gets worse. Take off the knee brace, to see if that's what's causing it. Is ok for awhile. Then...bam!...goes nuts. I can't put pressure on my calf! I can't run! I am 10k in. I start walking, try to stretch it out. Sucks. Doesn't feel better. Figure that's it, I can't run, may as well go home (I didn't want to do this stupid run anyway! Everything is stupid! Waaaah!). Except that I am not just 10k in but also about 10k from the start. Where my bike is. So am I going to leave the course and walk to my bike? That is in the same direction as the run is actually going in? Well THAT doesn't make any sense! So I keep going. Walking. Ugh. Walking is so slow! It's going to take forever! Maybe I can run without using my right calf muscle! Easy peasy! (lemon squeezy!) Let's give her a try! And I can! Sorta! Except favoring my right leg is burning out my left leg! Whatever, let's back downtown and get off the course!
Hobbling along...then I think about the medal. (Spoiler alert) This thing:
If I don't finish...I don't get it. Which isn't that big a deal, right? Well, that's true. But I have gotten a medal for every marathon I have entered. If I don't finish, it will always the "missing medal". Reminding me of the race I couldn't be bothered to finish. Well, that sounds sucky, I don't want that!
So I cleverly think "maybe I will just follow the half marathoners...and get a 1/2 marathoner medal...? That's not so bad, right? In fact, it's pretty good! But what if the medal givers say "Hey! You're wearing a full marathon bib! No medal for you! Get back out there!" What then!?" And even if they don't, and they do give me a 1/2 medal, I will still know. Which sounds sucky. And besides, it's not like I had anything else planned for the day, right? Marathon...then sit around. So I would have to do the sitting part of my day thinking about how I was too lazy to finish. On the flip side, I am thinking of the prospect of running in this weird hop-skippy-right-leg-favouring way for 3 or 4 (or 5?) hours. That does not sound fun.
Conclusion: I will make the decision at the point where the marathon splits from the marathon.
And I get there...and what am I gonna do, I gotta finish this stupid thing. And my calf still hurts, but the weird hop-skippy-right-leg-favouring way has kinda normalized to a shadow of a run? I keep going. It's hard. And hurty. And I see a guy wearing a Doug Gilmour Maple Leafs uniform (who passed me...dejection! Where's Marty McSorley when you need him! Just kidding of course, Torontonians!), including helmet. And a guy dressed as a pumpkin. And a guy wearing a heavy backpack for some reason.
Finish at 4:15 (4:13 chip!). Slowest marathon yet. A cautionary tale for you young kids out there! Train more! Get injured less! I'd show a photo of me at the finish, but like I said, I was there all by myself (although I suppose I could have taken a post run pic of myself after I picked up my phone at the packet pick up? Meh. Didn't think of it. Plus sounds kinda depressing.) Just imagine me, but really tired and in lots of pain. Like last year, but worse. You can see the pro pics (and a video!) here, if you want.
Then I got my free Michelob Ultras (for athletes!), limped back to my bike and rode very slowly and ouchily back home.