Reflections on a tough race day (#STWM 2013)

STWM 2013 Finish Photo

It has been two days since I completed the #STWM. I have been on a roller coaster of emotions ever since, from sad, to happy, to disappointment, to pride etc. I was once told that the feelings you experience after you finish running a marathon are very similar to the baby blues one may go through after giving birth. Since I have completed two marathons, and given birth I can quite honestly say, yes, yes they are similar. All day Monday I would have moments where I would spontaneously burst into tears, and staring back at me was a very confused 2 ½ year old little boy.

For months I had been training hard to get a Boston Qualifying time – for my age that would be 3:40, which was perfectly doable for me. My training had been going great. Even during the gross heat waves over the summer, I was out every morning training, and doing my long runs early Saturday mornings. When I had any aches or pains, I visited my chiropractor (AKA, the miracle worker) and I would be good to go again. Fast forward to three weeks before race day and there I was in a silly amount of pain down the entire left side of my leg. My Piriformis, IT band, TFL, all of it, was one giant mess of fascia and muscle that was just screaming out in agony. I doubled my chiropractor appointments, I added massage, I rested, I slowed down my pace, and I bought KT Tape! I did everything I could to ensure I was in the best position to succeed on race day without injuries slowing me down.

Race day 6am. I have never woken up so ready on a race day before. I had my usual nerves but I knew that I did everything that I could to prepare myself for this day, so I was ready for the challenge. My husband and I wished each other luck – he ran the half – and went into our corrals. The first 21k felt AMAZING, 21 – 32 felt GOOD, 32 – 42 felt……..CRAP. All my injuries attacked me with a vengeance and I was fighting with my body the rest of the way. I cried and I had to slow to a walk at some points to try and shake it off and I came this close to calling my husband to tell him that I just couldn’t do it. I slowly watched my BQ goal slipping away as the 3:40 pace bunny went speeding past me (I had been way ahead of him until about 34k). I kept thinking, I’m just not strong enough, I’m just not fast enough, and I’m just not good enough. At 37k when a random lady who was cheering on the side told me “Lisa, you’re almost done, you can do this”. Of course I cried some more, but then I thought of my son. I thought if I quit now, what kind of example does that set for him? Mama’s no quitter! So I powered through and hobbled over the finish line at 4:11.

Motivation from my son for 42.2k

Brady drawingsThis was the first race I’ve done where I have turned off my music for the last 500m. I wanted (and needed) to hear the crowds cheering. I heard my name being yelled out at least 20 times from complete strangers, encouraging me right to the end. That is one of the great things about STWM, the support of so many people you have never even met. I can’t put into words the emotion I felt as I neared the end of a race to find huge crowds cheering with the finish line so close. I think I even managed a smile as I crossed the finish line. Weaving my way through the bagels, yogurt and bananas, I found my husband and I cried as he was telling me how proud he was of me. I continued to walk and found a friend who had come out to see me. I fell into her arms and cried even harder and through my sobs I managed to get out that I was upset because of my injuries and I didn’t qualify for Boston. She just hugged me harder and told me how amazing I did.

marathon humankindIf you had asked me after the race on Sunday if I would run another marathon I would have said there was no way. But it is two days later and I have had time to rest (since I can’t really walk all that well) and do a lot of thinking and I will say this; I haven’t reached my Boston goal yet so yes, I will be running #STWM 2014.

In fact once I have healed my training will begin. Am I proud of myself yet? Yes I am. I ran this marathon over an hour faster than my last one, so there’s a new PB 🙂

Overall I have loved every second of my training and race day. I loved being apart of the CRS family and being a Digital Champion. I have had the opportunity to meet some pretty incredible and inspiring runners who kept me going on days I may have just wanted to crawl back under the sheets and sleep.

Thank you Canada Running Series for an amazing race day and an amazing experience overall. 🙂

I know some of you may be wondering about how my husband did after my last post Love and Running with my Husband…….He ran his half in 1:35, a new PB. What does that mean? It means the competition is on and on like Donkey Kong. This girl needs to beat that time! And so the cycle of friendly competition continues. Who knows, maybe one day he’ll step up to the big race!

Did you run the #STWM? How do you feel? Doing it again?

marathon state of mind

5 thoughts on “Reflections on a tough race day (#STWM 2013)

  1. This was a great read. Firstly, sorry to hear that you didn’t make your BQ goal but at the same time I have so much respect as well as would like to congratulate you for fighting through the pain and finishing the entire 42K! That’s amazing.
    I also participated in the #STWM 2013 on Sunday but only did the 5K as this was my first time and also my first, but definitely not last, year doing competitive running.
    Just after the race someone asked me if I would ever do the Full Marathon and I said there’s no way in hell that would ever happen…but after reading this post you’ve motivated me to go for it in the future. I already intend on doing the Half at next year’s STWM!
    All the best in your recovery and training for next year. I’m sure you’ll achieve your BQ goal.


    • Thanks so much for reading and for your kind words. Congratulations on your 5k! You will love the STWM half – and full when you are ready – it is a great course, definitely my favourite. Good luck!

  2. thanks for posting this race report! to some extent i feel your pain – i battled a big disappointment with my last marathon in september (my race report is here: where i felt poised to claim my BQ time. i turned it around (in my head) and am now prepping for the hamilton road2hope marathon in 10 days’ time, and honestly i feel even better about nailing that spot for 2014. i hope that at your next race you’ll do the same!

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