Waiting in line for the 11 o’clock ferry to sail across the Georgia Strait to Victoria. Drizzle. Rain before a marathon gives me a minor panic attack. Skies clear on the eventful ferry ride – orca sighting on the port side of the ship!
After the ‘whale’ excitement wears off, my usual anxiety before the race (even though it’s my 11th) sets in. I struggle to picture the first step of the 42 kms in my mind – do I remember how to run?
Thinking about eating the right food, wearing the right outfit. Need to buy new socks – back of the heel has worn threadbare (see I’ve trained enough). Don’t need to get a blister at 37 km – my least favourite kilometre.
Beautiful race day in Victoria – great temperature 9 degrees, cloudy with the sun peaking through (no rain!)
And I remember how to run – feeling strong.
I take in the stunning scenery: ocean view, stylish houses, friendly cheerleaders. And a deer at 11 kms through beautiful Beacon Hill Park.
Then… at 30 kms things start to fall apart.
The positive course features are overshadowed by: how am I going to finish?
Walking (I don’t usually), but I keep moving … is it the last hill? There have been soooo many! I don’t care if I finish or not. I hate it! Please be the end.
Hills, hills and more hills – why didn’t I study the route more? Why didn’t I do more hill training? Too confident? Yes.
I notice a guy in blue ahead of me – then behind me – then ahead – we’re running at the same pace. I don’t acknowledge him until the 38 kms mark. I’m walking again and so is he.
‘If you get to the top of the next hill it’s downhill from there.’
‘Really? I don’t believe it. The hills are killing me.’
‘I’m walking to the top – see that woman in white – up to her.’
‘Ok. Can I stick with you?’
We walk up the decent sized hill (they all seem like mountains now).
‘Three, two, one – go.’ We start running together.’
Do I have it in me – where’s my will, my passion to finish with my head held high. I had lost that conviction. I… DIDN’T … CARE. That’s the death of running a marathon – you have to care!
500 metres to go. The longest, stupidest, ugliest metres I’ve ever run – it felt like a never-ending amount of metres – the distance seemed to be getting longer – I was on a treadmill going nowhere.
Turn the corner – I can see the FINISH line. OMG – I’ve got this. 100 metres out, the announcer says: ‘and Dr. Janet Green is finishing her 400th marathon!’ What? 400?!@! A humbling/motivating moment – I will finish my 11th.
At the last 10 metres, I find my burst of speed and pass my new partner, then he passes me. I finish just behind him, feeling powerful.
My big disappointment: betrayed by my mind. It made me think that there wasn’t a finish line – that I’d be running forever…
So, I have to do another.
Not that I’ll finish 400 marathons, but I will train better. I’ll focus my mind more and do hill training until I can’t bear it, even if it’s for the flattest course ever!