Monday, June 21, 2010

Manitoba Marathon

What a beautiful day Sunday was.
My husband had his knee scoped Friday afternoon, and we weren't sure if he would be able to 'run' after the kids so I held off saying that I would run. As the time drew near I had to confess that I did want to give it a try. I have a great sister-in-law who has a very nice husband who agreed to get up at 5am to give me a ride down to the university so I could be there for 6:15ish. He was here at 5:30am, took me down and then came back to help my husband with the kids. I have a fantastic family!! Of course he then drove back to get me and bring me home, many, many, many hours later.......

I can't believe how nervous I was! Fargo was only a month ago but it seems so unreal that I accomplished a finish, so I thought I should try again. You know, just to make sure it wasn't a fluke. Besides I think, in my mind, I should have three marathons under my belt before I add another four miles to the equation. So Saturday afternoon as I took the kids out to give my husband some rest I found myself at the Manitoba Marathon Expo signing up for the full marathon. Got a few gels, a couple of energy bars, more info on some energy drinks and other neat things. I was really impressed how kid friendly it was, mine went crazy getting their bingo cards signed, probably a bit too crazy, but it kept them somewhat distracted for me to get information at some of the vendors. Each of the vendors were very nice and accommodating as well, and this is not always the case where children are involved. I was nicely impressed, great job guys!

On my way, a quick stop for coffee and a muffin on the way (part of a bribe payment to entice my brother-in-law to get up so early), a planned drop off at the corner of pembina and bison, and a short walk into the university. Along the way I had a few questions about the vibrams from a couple of ladies who had seen my husband at the polar bear run at the zoo earlier this year. They had seem him barefoot along the run. I hope you ladies running the half had a great run. That went well, then a nervous belly drove me straight to the.... enough said.

Finding the beginning of where I should be.... what, there is no 5:30 marker? alright, I will just keep to the very back! Found another runner with great pink headphones, she was looking for about the same time, I found it encouraging. Saw another pair of KSO Vibrams, actually he found me, and gave me a? I think it was like a hand shake but you put your fists together? I'm feeling really old right now, I'm hoping that before I actually post this I can find out what the greeting was called. Running is so awesome just for the camaraderie alone. It doesn't seem to matter where you are, everyone is so friendly, even if they are racing you. I think it could be just a simple matter that we are all racing ourselves more than the others around us? Doesn't really matter, I don't think I've met a really sour runner yet. Maybe I'm lucky?

Then we started..... wow, what a feeling. Excitement, elation, ....fear of what I've yet gotten myself into, again. In the first two miles I met with a lady who was walking in her vibrams. Nice to see yet another pair out there. She had the light blue camo colored KSO style, and looked happy to be out there. I hope you had a great day.

I must be grateful for living in Manitoba, thankfully we don't have crocodiles here! If mosquitoes were crocodiles.... we would have all lost limbs!! But who really cares when we were able to appreciate the parks we ran through, I don't spend a lot of time in the area of the university, but wow! what great parks we have as a city. I was passed by an acquaintance around mile six, but was not able to keep up, and lost him along the way, I have yet to find out if he ran the full or the half? Maybe I'll find out next week. This is all very exciting!

I was passed by a walker around mile 12. We had a short conversation about the vibrams and rocks on the road. This is the most asked question to date I think. The pebbles are not to bad at all, bigger rocks you will feel. But those are the ones that you just try to step around. It does make you aware of you surroundings as you do need to watch where you are placing your feet along the way, especially with a BARE foot.

Which makes me want to back track the the lady running in total BARE FEET! Way to go!!! This was around mile 9-10. I'm not to the point of going that far, totally bare, yet as I'm still getting blood blister under my toes when I do. That is awesome. I hope you had a beautiful day, as you had a great such a fantastic attitude.

2:35 at the halfway point. That is about my average half time, it's warm, I'm halfway there, maybe I will keep a better pace this time in the last half? Time for a gel? Maybe I'll wait a bit longer.

Mile 15 is around where I was hoping to see Gail (my running partner) who was running leg 4 of the relay. Found her waiting patiently, with her husband and daughters. Kinda neat to see people along the way that you know. I told her that I would need her to come by and give me a bit of a pacer along the way cause I was feeling a bit tired in the legs. Not quite two miles later I had the pleasure of a running partner again, for a short time, as I was not able to hold that pace for very long. That is something I admire greatly about G, she can really pick up her pace for shorter distances and slow it down for the long haul. I have not yet figured out the picking it up for a shorter distance yet, but I'm working on it.

Now there was a very helpful medical aid person on a bike around mile 19-20. Told me a story about his friend being pulled off the course when they had to close the course many, many years ago. I had mentioned it was my second marathon, as it had been her second at the time. Wow, that hadn't occurred to me. So I'm once more grateful for an awesomely fantastic day that was NOT 36 degrees out! Only about 6.2 left to go and again my time is around the 4:15 mark. This is paralleling Fargo's' timing.

Legs are getting heavy! lactic acid eh? Guess I haven't moved the threshold enough yet. Guess I got lots to work on. Trying to not walk too much, just through the water stops. Gel only as the water stops are close by to wash them down with, and it all seems to be working well. I took gel at the 15, 20 and 23 mile marks, trying to boost energy at the end, and of course the scary story of possibly being pulled this close to the end....

It was the same nice guy on a bike who found me, and another couple at the orange station. Thank you so much whoever did that!! Incredible!! We got a nice story about how you can tell when someones brain is overheating, they tend to lean to one side, as if they were about to fall over. He is telling us that this is about the time where we should be replenishing our sugar stores and that the oranges will be a help. I have one gel left and I will keep this useful information for the future. The real thing that scared me here is that I don't usually run very straight at all on a normal day. If you asked my running partner or my husband they would laugh and tell you the same, so here I'm thinking about keeping my eyes on the road and trying not to look to out of it. I'm still not breathing hard at this point, but I think someone added more ankle weights while I was thinking about running in a straight line!

Mile 24. Run into the lady I started beside, I hope you had a great day at this point you looked great. I'm almost there..... mile 25, Gotta love the hair! The volunteer had a great wig afro, did I was great, along with the good news that we only had a mile to go, and the good news that we had already finished 25 miles! Thanks for the enthusiasm, you made me smile.
Then I seemed like I was on my own, around a corner, see a split, keep to my side, full marathon....another corner, a little while later see someone on the other side and follow.... apparently the wrong side of the road. Not sure how I missed that but I'm at the start area and there isn't much further to go, get on the proper side, find a water station, thanks to the military guys! almost missed another turn, but the stretcher guys know where I want to go and are nice enough to give out the directions. Yes this looks familiar, I did run a half one year out here. See the guy on the bike again and say thank you... all the time thinking "just run straight, just run straight!"

Mile 26. Not far to go.... and my phone rings. What to do, what to do? So I chose to ignore it and think that whoever it is probably wouldn't mind my finishing that last .2 miles before I call them back. Besides, I'm not entirely sure what the etiquette is for answering your phone as you are heading into the stadium on the last leg of a marathon. I'm also praying that it isn't an emergency with the kids. Which gives me the incentive to giver to the end.....

And I finish. Nice. 5:42:34 according to chip time. 2 seconds faster than Fargo. Not sure what to make of that, but I'm not gonna over analyze this too much. (not now anyway)

There is someone asking me how I feel? I feel great! My legs are really heavy, the medal is pretty, the Popsicle is just what I could use! Oh yeah, there's a t-shirt too! Now I'm thinking.... "just keep walking, just keep walking, walking, walking,....." there is a little chant from 'Finding Nemo' stuck in my head here.

Thanks to all the volunteers. You are great! I'm hoping everyone out there had at least as awesome a day as I did. No matter what, we all learn something about ourselves and things from those we have around us, and that makes it all worthwhile.

On another, note I must mention a passage which I found encouraging. It is a very popular verse, Philippians 4:13 "I have strength for all things in Christ who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency]. (amplified version) I like this version.....

Enjoy the week off....... at least a day or two? Have a great one!



  1. Congratulations Nicole. You found all the goodness in the marathon and chose to ignore the ugly bits. Good for you and your attitude. I can't believe you actually shaved a couple of seconds off your Fargo time! That's amazing. Good post; thanks for sharing. Mike PS.. it's a fist-bump :>) Mike

  2. Somebody remembered me from the Polar Bear Run??? You didn't mention anything about that to me before. Anyway, as always very proud of you, and next marathon (by the way), I will be running as well? Have to get this knee working again so I can be ready for the end of July and beyond.