My Garmin tells me I've run exactly 1,396.3 km in the last 12 months. Remove a couple bicycle rides that were entered as runs, and add some winter treadmill runs and the odd time I ran sans GPS, I'm guessing the number is closer to 1,600km or 1,000 miles.
November was pretty quiet, but as December rolled in, I started getting the itch... Santa must have guessed what was on my mind because I found these in my stocking:
It did not take me long to sign up for another marathon!
I had once decided that I would not run the same marathon twice, the reason being I was not going to run that many marathons in my lifetime, so, why not take the opportunity to see new places? Hmmm... interesting concept, but one which could get expensive when running more than one per year. So I decided to sign up for the Fredericton Marathon, for the second time in two years. And here is my late marathon report, from May 7, 2016.
Race Report - Fredericton Marathon
What's not to love about the Fredericton Marathon? It's a great course that mostly takes place on a flat crushed gravel trail, along the Nashwaak River. It is mostly an out-and-back course which you do twice.
The race starts at Queen Square Park, a short walk from downtown. It is worth mentioning that there are lots of portable toilets at the start line! We all know how important that is!
The first half starts with a short loop around the downtown core, then you head over the Saint John River on the old railroad bridge. Getting on and off that bridge is pretty much the only "hill" you will encounter. I use quotation marks here, because for all intents and purposes, the route is pancake flat. Then, the course is an out-and-back on a beautiful trail. There are a few roads to cross, but all of them have volunteers directing traffic. Things get tough when you come back from the first half, side by side with the half marathoners. While they enter the finishing chute (same place as the start line) you just run right past it and do a small loop around the park where other runners are congratulating themselves on a job well done. Psychologically, that is pretty hard. And because the small loop around the park is shorter than the one you did at the beginning of the first half, this means the second time you hit the trail, you actually have to go further than the first time around. Some people find it very difficult, others like the fact of knowing where you are going, having done it once. but either way you slice it, 42.2km is 42.2km...
The field is small enough that it is not too crowded and yet, you are never completely alone. The race is well organized, water is plentiful, and all the volunteers are enthusiastic.
My initial goal when I signed up had been to improve on my BQ to increase my chances of getting into Boston. This said, I had not trained as well throughout the winter as I had for the PEI marathon. I completed all of my long runs, but cut corners on some of the shorter runs and neglected the speed training, so I knew the PR was not going to happen. When I showed up on race morning, I was hoping for another BQ (3:55 in my case), or, at the very least, under 4:00.
The weather was perfect, and the legs felt good as I started. I had to make a couple pit stops, but for the most part, I was having a great race and finished the first half in 1:56:01. I held on to that pace for the next 10k or so, but then, it happened. I did not exactly hit the wall - my energy level was actually quite good - but I felt like a couple bricks had decided to attach themselves to my lower legs. Feet were throbbing, ankles weren't working, and I knew the last quarter of the race was going to be painful. That's when a former colleague, a first time marathoner who had listened to people's advice to start slow passed me, barely breaking a sweat. (She ended up finishing 8 minutes ahead of me).
Somehow, I managed to move my heavy feet and make it to the finish line, with a couple extra walking breaks towards the end. I got a bit of a boost just before the end when I saw my middle son waiting to run next to me to run 100m of the last 200m with me, before I went through the finish chute. I did not meet my initial goal - nor my revised one - but I finished in a respectable 4:03:45.
|Blurry picture courtesy of the fog on the camera lens|
It was a tough one, and not my best, but nevertheless a great race. Back home, my husband had my favourite post-marathon meal ready for me: ribs and mashed potatoes. They always go down well after 42.2k.
And that is my Fredericton marathon report, 5 months late.