So I guess I'm a sucker for punishment. Not sure what was going through my head when I decided back in January that for CAF Running Nationals I would run the marathon. To be honest, the Boston Marathon kind of felt like a set back. Fitness wise I knew that I should be in the low 2:40s yet it didn't materialize in Boston. Yes, there were a lot of factors, particularly the weather. Going into Ottawa, my goal was to run a sub 2:45, but I really wanted to be under 2:40. It's hard racing knowing where you could or should be at and yet realistically you know you just aren't quite there for whatever reason. Perhaps, it's simply just the mental toughness to go into the hurt locker, to go deeper into the hurt locker and just stay there. Mentally, the last eight or nine months have just been tough.
Sunday morning I was up at 0430hrs as I wanted to have my breakfast downrange 2hrs before race start. As soon as I was up, I downed a serving of F2C PharmaGreens with a scoop of F2C UltraDurance. While I let that settle in my stomach, I whipped up my breakfast: couple eggs, a bagel with jam, a banana, a bottle of F2C HydraDurance, and of course a double shot of espresso with cream. We headed out the door and down to City Hall at 0600hrs. Seeing as I was racing in Ottawa, the Maley support crew came out in force (Mom, Dad, Kelly, Julia, Claudia, and the kids). I did a warm-up of 10-15min of easy running and then entered the blue coral to await the start. I was able to line up and mingle with some of the other CAF Athletes which is always great.
When the horn went off at 0700hrs we were off. I had convinced Michael Lucien-Bergeron the day prior to stick with the marathon so I knew I'd have a good running partner for at least the first half of the marathon. I figured, we'd be within a couple minutes of each other. I settled into a good effort and tried to focus on my race. The first km was a little fast (3:33) and over the next couple kilometers I slowly dialed back the effort (3:48, 3:46, 3:50, 3:54). The group Michael and I was running with seemed to be dialing back the effort so I decided to go to the front. Over the next several kilometers instead of holding the intended pace of ~3:50/km the pace continued to increase till I checked the split after km #12 and realized I had just ran a 3:32 km (way too fast). Michael and I had pulled away from the group we had been running with and slowly reeled in a couple more guys on the parkway. I was pretty happy to have pulled these guys in as I was able to sit in for the return stretch on the parkway as the wind seemed to be coming from the NE.
We crossed over into Gatineau and it was at this point that we crossed the half (1:19). I thought this is great...perhaps a little fast but I did not feel overstretched. At this point, one of the runners started to push the pace so I let him go and slowly thereafter Michael went as well. In retrospect I probably should have put a little effort in to stay with Michael. Over the next few kilometers the gap to Michael stayed fairly consistent, but I just couldn't close it. I was happy to run back across the river and see the family cheering at the top. The back half of the course felt like a real struggle and in retrospect I should have checked my watch...I felt like I was running slow. I was in the hurt locker, but I felt like there was probably another level of hurt I could have gone to. I just couldn't convince or push myself to go there.
I was very happy to come up the finishing shoot and see 2:42:XX on the clock. Final chip time was 2:42:39. 2nd in the Cdn Armed Forces, 4th in M35-39, and 33rd Overall.
It was once again a great honour to represent the CAF running the Ottawa Marathon. Congrats to Michael Lucien-Bergeron on the CAF win and a new PB.