I apologize in advance for the 14385 pictures in this blog post. The marathon was such a crazy experience and I have so much so say about it… what else is new?
After the Calgary marathon expo, we hit up Subway for lunch, did a bit of visiting and shopping around Calgary and then headed to my Auntie’s house to rest up for the big day. My mom and I didn’t really feel great in the afternoon but chalked it up to nerves for the race. I felt slightly better by the time we went to bed. Spaghetti is the go-to carboloading dinner for us and it was delicious. I don’t like when the foods on my plate touch, especially hot/cold foods or saucy foods so even this picture is making me cringe. Don’t worry, I got through this traumatic time.
I felt pretty good in the morning considering I was about to run 26.2 miles. Whatever stomach pains I was having the afternoon before had seemingly disappeared… for the time being. We were full of nervous energy and excitement. I was so happy to have my mom and brother with me at the event, it was fun to spend the weekend with them.
It was about 6 degrees Celsius when we woke up and steadily climbing. It was reeeeeally warm by the time I was done my race and even by the time the half marathoners were done it was over 15 degrees. I think most people in Alberta would probably throat punch me if they saw that I called 15 degrees “too hot.”
We got to the start line about half an hour before the race started. Just enough time to get in the port-a-potty lines… twice.
I headed into the corral and just wanted to get going. I found my friend who was running with me about 63 seconds before the race started. All of the half marathoners, marathoners, and 50K’ers were starting at the same time so there were tons of people around! I was getting excited to just start the race.
My mom and my brother were also excited and they looked fabulous starting out! I think my mom was a little too excited? Yes, she was the only person out of 7500 wearing gloves 😉
My aunt headed to a street corner near the start line where we would all be passing after we did a bit of a loop. At about 8 km we were all looking great! I even still felt strong at this point, but started noticing that my stomach was as hard as a rock and feeling slightly nauseated.
I love how happy my brother looks in this photo. He is the new ridiculously photogenic guy…
Just after this point the half marathoners and the marathoners/ultras split up and went on different courses. Our pack thinned out a lot after this because we lost about two thirds of the group to the other distance. By about mile 4 I knew something was up and I started feeling so sick. It was probably the worst stomach pain I have ever had. I stuck close to the pace for the first half and we crossed the half marathon distance at about 1:47. It all went downhill from there. I was too sick to run but just had to keep moving. I took more walking breaks that I have ever taken in my entire life (aka. none) and I walked through every aid station after the half way point just to get some water in me. My average pace was dropping so fast and I just didn’t care anymore, I just wanted to be done. I asked my ever-so-amazing pacing running friend to stick his finger down my throat so I could just vomit and feel better but that is weird or something apparently? I had only 4 Honey stinger energy chews (of the 22 that I brought) because eating them made me feel worse.
Luckily, my mom and brother had GREAT races. My brother running his FIRST half marathon EVER, ran a 1:47:42. Ummm, hello, that is AWESOME. I am ridiculously proud of him.
My mom did SO great and ran a 2:04:09 half marathon. She has walked a ton of half marathons, marathons, and ultra marathons (including a 64 km walk that she did twice!) but this was her first time running a race. I am also so proud of her. Both my brother and mom looked so strong heading to the finish line!
My mom and brother stuck around in the grandstands to watch me cross the finish line. I think the longer they waited, the more they knew that something was wrong.
I did not look so strong… I didn’t stop to walk for the last 5 km of the race, after my running friend left me to finish his 50 K (no big deal), because I just wanted to get to the finish line. My heart rate was steady, my legs were still feeling good, but I just felt so very sick.
I came in at 3:53:50. Not at all what I was expecting but then again, I didn’t expect to feel like vomiting the whole time either. Obviously I was disappointed, I mean ALL of my long training runs were at a faster pace than this race, but I was also proud of what I had done and how much I had overcome during this race. I wasn’t able to enjoy my first marathon experience at all but that just means that any race I run after this will feel SO GOOD in comparison 🙂 My body was ready to run and I think my first half kind of shows that, but the second half was tougher than tough. You never know what race day will throw your way, for me it was stomach pain and nausea like no other. A sub-4 marathon while feeling like death… I’ll take it 😉
I didn’t have enough salt in my body to cry during the race, so when I drank a half cup of Gatorade at the finish line I had just enough electrolytes to just let it all out. Moms really get to see the best and the worst of us and they always know the right thing to say!
We hung around to wait for my running buddies to finish. They did AMAZING. I couldn’t have imagined running 0.08 km more, never mind 8 km more than a marathon but they did it, and FAST too! I will forever be so thankful that my friend Shawn ran with me (and walked those little breaks with me). He was planning on pacing me to a fabulous time and even when I could barely pull off 9:00 minute miles and complained every 154 m that I felt so sick, he stuck with me… and this is a sub-7 minute mile guy. Thanks Shawn!
Even though I had a rough experience on the course, look how incredibly awesome these belt buckle/medals are. They are HUGE.
We went back to my Auntie’s place to lay on the grass and stretch, shower, and rehydrate before we hit the road to head back home. I felt sick all day so just drank water, ate watermelon, and mixed up some electrolytes.
I wasn’t hungry until about 6:00 pm… only 13 hours after I had eaten my last solid food, yikes. I wasn’t craving anything all day even though I really wanted to be craving french fries or something that I would normally never eat. Just as we were arriving home I decided that nachos is what I wanted and my mom agreed that nachos sounded awesome. Salty tortilla chips, a bit of greasy cheese, and some salsa. It hit the spot. We both felt sick again within half an hour of eating them but whatever, they were good 😉
What an overwhelming experience. If you made it to the end of this post congratulations… if you scrolled really quickly through this post just to see what I had to say in the end… I understand. I had a horrible race, felt sicker than I ever have in my life, but I RAN A MARATHON. If I can get through that marathon, I am excited to see how great I can do in future races. And hey, if I had run a ridiculously great time for marathon #1, how would I ever improve on it? It was actually my secret plan all along to run a painfully slow (for me) marathon pace just so that I had room to PR in the future 😉 Thanks Calgary for an interesting first marathon experience… I will probably be back for revenge in the future.