Monday, September 26, 2011

Marathon Oasis de Montréal - race report :)

“Victory is sweetest when you've known defeat.”
Malcolm S. Forbes 

After twice having to drop down to the half-marathon, yesterday I finally did it and became a full-fledged marathoner. Here's how my day went...

I started with the breakfast of champions.
I actually managed to sleep relatively well the night before. I believe I remained pretty much in denial until I was actually on the bridge. This probably helped me get breakfast down too. 

I then got down to the business of preparing. A little body glide here, some diaper rash cream there, an anti-inflammatory cream on the foot...thank goodness I had put second skin on the blister-sensitive areas of my toes the night before. Once I'm sure I have done everything I can to be comfortable and that I have everything I need, we are off.

Waiting for the metro, which took us to Île Ste-Hélène, which is where we get to the bridge.
The ride in was extremely smooth. We had bought our metro tickets the night before, so no waiting in line.

Ran into a DailyMile friend, Claire, on the island.

These port-a-potties were actually on the bridge - so one last time before heading for the start.

And we're off - Claire and I started the race together and stayed not too far from each other throughout.

Note that we are wearing sleeveless tops - the forecast was for high humidity and 25°C/77°F (BUT, the expected "feels like" temp was 31°C/88°F) so we knew it might get very warm.

No pictures yet of the first 38Km - but, here's how it went. From the start, the foot felt a little tight, as it always does, but the longer I went, the better it felt. I could tell that my walk breaks were good for stretching the foot too. Overall, the foot actually behaved quite well. A bit of tightness once in a while, but nothing unbearable. Of course, that could be because of the unexpected extreme pain I was feeling in my left knee. You know the joke about if you want to get rid of pain in your foot, hit your finger with a hammer :) Yeah. The knee hurt quite a bit and probably made the foot seem pretty mild in comparison. My guess is that I was unconsciously compensating for the right foot pain, which led to pain in the opposite knee. Classic. The first 19K were quite smooth, but I was getting little pokes of pain in the left knee once in a while. By 20K, I realized the pain was becoming more constant and worsening. Of course, this worried me as I still had more than half the distance to go. This is where mental toughness comes in, mixed in with a little wisdom :). At this point I was easily on target for a 4h55m-5h marathon, but I decided to let that go and not even think about time. I was still pretty much able to maintain a 5/1 ratio, but I walked through more water points as I had to refill my bottles quite often. 

By 30K, I made the decision to take the anti-inflammatory that I had brought along just in case. I knew that I had to be careful and keep drinking water regularly, but I went ahead. Although I definitely continued to feel pain, I did manage to keep going. Basically, after a walk break, it was really hard to get the legs running again, but once I was running, I would be "relatively" okay for anywhere between 3 to 5 minutes, usually closer to 4 minutes, before the pain became less bearable and I would take another walk break, along with another sip of water. Then I'd start the whole thing over again.

At 38K, there was a group of DailyMile friends who had converged to encourage us, and my little sister and my god-daughter were there with them. This was so encouraging and to be honest, I was really glad that when I went by there, I was on a running stretch :) Here are a few pics taken by Sylvie when I came by.
I know, so classy :)

Big happy to see them.

And I'm off - note the pompoms they had!

Here I am at 39K - Happy to see Uber H waiting to run with me :)

We walked up the crazy hill and then we ran for a while, then walked a bit and then near 41K, I tried to run and got a major stab in the knee, so I walked a little more. 

"Oh well" 

But then the finish line was approaching and there was no way I was going to walk it in. So I just got the adrenaline going and pushed off...

Woohoo - arms up, big smile...I was so excited!

Running it in with a smile and tears in my eyes :)

I'll take it with a smile :)

I am a marathoner in this picture :)
With my little sister and my god-daughter, note the pretty flowers they gave me! 
It was wonderful to have them there with me.

 With Uber H, my bro and my Super SIL who all ran the half - we had just finished a group hug, with happy tears from everyone. I'm so lucky to have such great support from my family!

We could actually take a shower on the premises - so this is post shower, eating a snack and texting family...yes, I was happy :)

One final picture in front of the Olympic Stadium!

My thoughts: Yes, I would have preferred to not have to deal with knee pain, but I realize that this is also part of the experience. There are risks involved in running a marathon. There were tons of runners hobbling by 30K, some stopping to stretch, some limping along or walking most of the rest of the way. Dealing with the unexpected is part of what makes running a marathon exceptional. The good thing, is that the high humidity did not affect me, I felt fine and I gather that because I ended up walking more, I was actually not worn out by the end and I never saw the wall. 

I'm excited by the fact that I know I can do better if I'm not in pain and I aim to try. Yes, right after crossing the finish line, I knew I wanted to try at least one more time with more experience and training.

My Super SIL will be celebrating her 50th birthday in 2013 and she would love to run the Marathon de Paris with her family. So, that may be my next attempt. Two years from now in cool would that be :)

Thanks to each and every one of you for your support and encouragement throughout this journey. I thought of you all as I took it all in and G I thought of you particularly as I smiled at photographers and thanked the spectators. Thank you for sharing your experience with me and for making this an even more wonderful experience, despite the fact that it was not perfect.



Marlene said...

Excellent report!!! You demonstrated so much strength to work through the pain AND the conditions (ick!) and now you're a marathoner!!! Congratulations! So so so happy for you!


Love this recap! It's amazing to have watch you transform yourself into a marathoner. All of the hurdles you've faced have been worth it! Congrats!

Carla said...

Congratulations! You are one tough chick! Thank you for the detailed recap--it's very inspiring.

Paul said...

SUPER!!! Congratulations Marathoner!

Glad you worked though the knee issue ok.

When is the next one? 8)

Gaspegirl said...

You are a woman of great strength! Congratulations, you are one of my biggest inspirations!

Make it a great day!

bobbi said...

You are outstanding! So happy for you - CONGRATS!

Jamoosh said...

Woo hoo! I knew you could do this. You have overcome so much! Most excellent!

Claire said...

Bravo Anne!!!! Tellement bravo!!!! Premièrement, partager le pont avec toi avant le départ m'a permis d'éviter la nervosité, on rigolait et c'était très bien!!! Tout le long du parcours, je te voyais devant moi et ça m'encourageait! Je suis bien désolée que tes douleurs se soient manifestées, mais avec Paris, ça ne t'empêche pas de vouloir recommencer! Tu as fait une course magnifique!!! Félicitation chère marathonienne!!!!

Sonia said...

Toutes mes félicitations, Anne! Un superbe accomplissement et une belle victoire sur les blessures. Tu as su bien gérer la difficulté et j'admire ta persévérance. Bravo!

Tricia said...

So proud of you Anne. You've accomplished so much, overcome so much, super inspiring!

Teamarcia said...

Anne I am THRILLED for you! You overcame the obstacles and prevailed. Congrats MARATHONER!
Paris 2013 would be AMAZING!

kilax said...

Congrats congrats congrats marathoner! You really toughed it out with the knee pain! I hope it goes away right away - but that you take some time to relax too.

I love all the pics. You look so happy and strong. And you kicked butt in those temps/humidity!

ajh said...

Again congratulations! I came to this first tonight. I am so pleased for you. You did so well with the mental toughness. You look so good in every picture. I hope you are still on a race high and continue to be for a few more days yet. Nothing makes it better than the thrill of having those we love watch us accomplish it!

Caroline said...

Anne....this is the best report..! Great pics, great ending and you did it! You should be so so proud! Quelles belles photos en plus! moi j'ai un faible pour les photos du Quebec!! ha ha!!!! Felicitations encore une fois!!! Paris devrais mettre ca a mon agenda..ahh si j'etais pas si loin!!!

Kate said...

Sooo happy for you!! :)

I had the same issue in my marathon. Went in worried about my foot, and it was my knee that caused me problems. Go figure. But we did it. And look at that HUGE smile on your face!! There's a similar one on mine reading through your triumph. Awesome!

Anne said...

Welcome to the world of marathoning. I'm so glad you made it to the finish, and lookin' good as you did. Great job, Anne!!

Carl said...

Je t'AI-ME ! xxxxx

MomRunningFromCancer said...

Such a great race report! It makes me want to run another marathon!
You must be flying high and should remain in the clouds for quite some time.
I hope your body recooperates this week.

Darlene said...


Char said...

I really love the photo of you with your medal around your neck in front of the Olympic Stadium. None of us will ever become Olympians but our victories are still hard won and worth celebrating.

Alma said...

I am so happy for you Anne! Glad you made it through the injury, the training, and pushed through the pain to get your first marathon completed. You give me hope, that if I keep at it I will get there too.


Amy said...

Wow! Loved reading your report - I felt like I was there with you. I am so happy for you that in spite of the knee pain, you managed to finish and have a positive experience overall! Congratulations!!!

Black Knight said...

Welcome to the club! Congrats for everything: the marathon, the finishing time, the pictures and the report.

Mijo said...

Avec ce reportage photo, ce récit, on a vraiment l'impression d'être à tes côtés, dans un fauteuil certes mais à tes côtés car l'émotion est super forte en regardant et en lisant.

Et si tu remets le couvert à Paris avec Julie, faites-moi signe, je monte vous voir pour vous applaudir et vous supporter.
Il me reste quoi, environ 6 mois, pour me trouver des supers pompons de cheerlearder !!

Johann said...

Wonderful Anne! Great report! You did so good and handled the pain and problems really well. You are very strong. Paris in tow years sounds awesome. Rest well!

Abby @ Have Dental Floss, Will Travel said...

Sounds like you rocked it! Way to push through some frustrating aches and pains and kick it into the finish. Very excited to hear what's next :)

Claude said...

Bravo!!!ma soeur. Tu l'as fait! Je t'aime xx

Hi! I'm Erin said...

Bummer about the random knee pain, but you're right; marathons are a test of our strengths and you are great at harnessing yours to overcome any weakness! Great job!

Giorgio said...

I really enjoy reading your beautiful report! Great Marathon, Anne!
Sorry for the pain: I hope the knee is already feeling much better.

Jill said...

Oh gosh girl...I have been out of town and dying to read your race report. Read it last night and then I was just so exhausted and didn't want to leave a rambling, incoherent comment. Not that this comment will be any better, cuz I'm never really coherent, but at least I'm awake! :)

I cannot even express to you how freaking proud of you I am. I have followed you for quite some time now and know your ups and downs with medication and illness and this race was not easy for you at all, but you DID IT!!! And I couldn't be smiling any bigger than I am since I heard you finished! The fact you finished and said you wanted to do another just put the cherry on top for me (I love the marathon!).

You ROCK, girl!!

Laura said...

CONGRATS!!! So Happy for you.

momof3 @ Neurosis of the Stay at Home Marathoner said...

I loved this report. Pain is part if the journey. Anyone who pretends running a marathon doesn't hurt is ... pretending. :) Congrats again Anne.

Wifey said...

What a WONDERFUL recap! Congratulations to you! You're such a positive example for us all!

Winks & Smiles,

Anabela (Bela) Neves said...

Congratulations,you did amazingly and you are a true inspiration :)

Beth said...

I'm sorry I'm so late in congratulating you! I'm so happy for you! Great job!! You are a marathoner now and should be so proud of all that you accomplished. So inspiring!