It was a great race for me. It was the first time I finished a marathon without being in a great deal of pain.
I finished in 3:58:44.
My previous four Manitoba marathons were in1986 (20 yrs old) in 3:07:57, in 1987 (21 yrs old) in 3:51:51, in 1999 (33 yrs old) in 4:48:08, in 2000 (34 yrs old) in 3:45: 51.
Normally I can't bend my knees and I'm spent. Not today. When I woke up and put on my heart rate monitor I knew it was going to be a good day because my resting heart rate was in the mid 50's.
The day started well, I woke at 5:30 am without the alarm clock. I got ready with no rush. I took my naproxin for inflammation, and went downstairs to get to the race start line.
Then I realized I forgot my number, then I forgot to put on my timing chip, then I bent the timing chip that they say not to bend, then I tied it to the instep of my shoe, instead of the out side. I was at the start line and not sure if my timing chip would work. So much for a smooth start...
Although, I knew I was hydrated, 3 times before the start, I was going to the washroom.
Standing at the start line was interesting, it was around 5 C, wind, and a slight rain. It was very cool outside. Especially in just shorts and a shirt.
When the race started, my objective was to keep my heart rate aerobic for the first 13 miles or for as long as I could. I figured that the race really begins at mile 13. Plus, I was treating this run as a training run for the ironman and I definitely didn't want to race it and potentially injure myself or burn myself out for the next few weeks and hurt my training.
I finished the first 13.1 in 1:59:52. Running the second half of the marathon faster and giving me negative splits. One thing to note, for a course that was described as flat, it sure was hilly.
My heart rate was great. For the first 15 miles it stayed in the 130's (a few times it went up to low 140's on the hills). After the first 15 miles I decided just to focus on stride and let the heart rate go where it wanted to. I was prepared to run at 155 bpm for the last 10k if I needed to.
Funny thing, I focused on the run and the heart rate did not go over 145bpm. Many times, it keep going below 140. Not until the last 1/2 mile did I go over 150 bpm. I was watching the time, and could see that it was possible to break the 4 hour mark, so I turned it on. It was no trouble, legs were great. It was effortless. (My 19 mile training run a few weeks ago was much harder).
At no time, did I hit the wall or feel exhausted. I keep relaxed the entire race. I walked through every water and Gatorade station. I had 3 gel stops. I ate oranges. I even had a couple of 2 oz beers they were handing out at mile 19 and 21. I felt great. I was so hydrated, that I ended up going to the washroom at least 5 times (I lost count). I even stopped to re-tie my timing chip to be on the outside of the shoe (why do it when I had 50 minutes of wait time at the start line).
I figured I probably used up 5 minutes, drinking, eating, re-tying my timing chip and peeing.
The finish was smooth, legs felt great. I stretched, met up with Alice and Reid and walked back the mile to the hotel.
At the hotel, I stretched some more and Alice and Reid got me two big bags of ice from the machine. I filled the bath with cold water and added the ice, then sat in the bath to reduce any inflammation. It was cold and painful (major shrinkage).
After the 10 minute ice bath, we packed up, I put on my long underwear, and we rushed to the Eagles (vs. Miami) game.
Had fun, Eagles won, and I had a few recovery beers. Then we headed to the world famous Genos for the "authentic" Philly Cheese steak before we left Philly for the drive home.