Monday, October 16, 2006

I DID IT! I AM A MARATHONER!!!
PART 2: The RACE!

I was really quiet on the way to Mel Lastman Square, I was nervous and trying to concentrate on the run I was about to start. We arrived about 45 mins before gun time. I pinned my number on my shirt, attached 5 gels to my pants and stretched my legs. We were there to see the half-marathoners leaving, there was so many of them! It was like the never ending start line! My dad went outside to cheer them up and look for Amanda. I stayed inside continued stretching as I was not ready to go in the cold out yet....

With 10 mins before the start of the marathon we all went outside and make our way to the starting line. That's when my dad in the excitement of the start of the race lost 1 glove... he was going to go back on his steps and try to find it... but we were getting so close to the start!! I couldn't stay in place and while he was doing that, I walked to the end of the starting line with Flashy. I was really emotional at that moment, I started crying I couldn't believe I was actually there, about to race a marathon, it almost felt unreal even though I have been training for months for that....

Flashy hugged me and she was a little teary helself, she said good luck and then we saw my dad holding the big "Go Sonia" sign so he was there! He made it for the beginning of the race! No time to hug him, the gun went off, but I knew he was going to be there along the way. Garmin was working nicely at the beginning and I pace myself at 10:45-11 min/mile. For the first 10.5 miles (17 km), there was only a few people cheering (during that square around Mel Lastmen Square) but as soon as we hit Yonge there was plenty of people and they were all very supportive. It was awesome! The only thing I remember about that first part of the race is how many small hills we had to clim to then go down just after! I was on the auto pilot, my legs were moving without me having to think about it. I was just smiling and enjoying the race and thinking about what a great achievement this is! About 1h55 minute into the race, I first saw my Dad at Finch and I had time to tell him that I was feeling great and the race was going really well, we clapped hands and I was gone. I saw him just a little after that at York Mills and I was still feeling strong there. He was so cute with his sign and waving at me. I passed the half-marathon mark at 2:22:46 and was ready to tackle the giant hill of the marathon course. I slowly ran it all the way up, no walking! I finished at the top at the same time as a brother and sister from Danmark and we were all happy we made it to the top! Cheering each others =)

I was still feeling great at that half way mark. I was told by one marathoner that after that big hill, it would be all downhill from there.... I don't know if it's because Windsor is so damn flat but I saw and felt hills everywhere even after that! It was like never ending! And the wind was in our face all the way along Yonge, it was hard but I kept smiling and thinking this is awesome! I'm doing this! I was so greatful for all the people cheering for us. I was looking at them along the sidewalk and I said "thanks" to everyone of them for all their encouragements. People were really surprise when I was thanking them and they cheered me even more! Shouting my name and yelling: "keep going", "you're doing great", "looking strong". It was awesome!

I was always on the lookout for my dad and I saw him again at Eglington where I was starting to slow down the pace but I was still in good form. That was just before the 25 km mark (15.5 miles) and we were leaving Yonge to do a loop over on Spadina. It started getting really hard after that when I reached and passed the highest mileage I had done in training (16 miles). Around the 30-31 km (19 miles) mark people were giving pieces of bananas to runners and that was simply great. The gels were working well for me (I forgot to mention I had 1 gel every 50-55 mins) but I was getting a little hungry! Just after that we passed a corner where a bunch of people were doing the wave for runners and shouting your name. It was so great, it really gave me a boost of energy!

After that, we were about to go on our last loop down Rosedale Valley and my dad was waiting for me at the corner of Yonge and I almost didn't see him! He tried taking pictures but it didn't work, I wasn't in the best form anyway at that point! I really hit a big wall when I reached 35 km (22 miles), there was fewer and fewer people cheering and my legs felt like cement. The front of my thighs were burning, I was plain tired. I had been running for more than 4h at that point. I saw the Danmark people again, the girl was running her first marathon and she said she was feeling it in her legs too. We exchanged cheering words and they passed me, I couldn't keep the fast pace anymore. I kept telling myself: "Un pied en avant de l'autre". One feet in front of the other is the only thing you have to do to finish this! I saw my dad for the last time before the finish line at 38 km (24 miles), he was standing at the top of a small hill near Union station. I started crying when I saw him, telling him I was so tired... he said don't give up you're almost there. That gave me a small (but non negligeable!!) boost of what energy was left and the last 4.2 km didn't seem too bad. When I saw a sign that said "LAST MILE!" I started speeding up again. I was so happy and even though I was going uphill, I had found some hidden energy and passed several people along the way too! It took forever to see the finish line! I thought it was just around the corner but there was a sign saying: "Almost there"... Then I saw my dad who looked so happy and proud! And he started running with me, it was great!! We were going to get to the finish line together but when I finally saw it, I told him: "Papa, j'y vais!" and sprinted my way to the finish line as fast as possible! Leaving him running behind me! I saw Amanda first who was there with her friends to cheer me and then Flashy was there too with her boyfriend. I finally passed the finish line at 5:01:51, hugged Flashy before I was told I should keep moving! My dad finally catch up on me and he hold me while they were removing the timing chip from my shoe. Someone put the medal over my shoulder and I thanked her while I started to cry. I was so happy! I did it, me, the once overweight girl, I just ran a 5h marathon! It's awesome! My dad took pictures of me with my medal and the only thing I could think of was getting a massage for my legs who were killing me... so there I went. My dad was still in the picture taking momentum so he took some pics there (blogger is acting funny so I'll post more pictures later!).

I was on a high for the rest of the day, I proudly wore my medal everywhere I went, even to bed!!! We went for lunch/dinner and then immediately hit the road back to Windsor after that. We stopped every chance we got so I could stretch my legs... I took an epsom salt bath and went to bed but I couldn't sleep, I was thinking about the race and all the wonderful things I felt that day. It's such a mental sport and I knew I could do it. I was, I am so proud of myself and I am already thinking about my next marathon! Oh and I forgot a really important thing, my knee didn't hurt me at ALL, it felt great all race long. =) I never felt the need to pee during this 5h race and if you know me this is truly a miracle! So, I only walked at the water stations while drinking gatorade and water. All the rest was pure running! =)

Thanks for everyone who cheered during the training to this marathon. Whether you left a positive comment on my blog or were a supportive friend or family member, I made it to the finish line because of all your help. So, thank you all..... =)

12 comments:

Arcaner said...

Félicitation! Hurray for you! It's great to see that all of your hard work payed off!

jellypepper said...

Bravo! Great race reports. Congratulations on finishing your first marathon. I'm proud of you.

yumke said...

Great race report! Congrats, you've done something most of us will never do.

Amanda said...

YAY!

Sonia you rock!

It was a great race!

Shelley said...

Hot dog!!!!!!!!! Big congrats to you!!

Anonymous said...

Hooray! I'm glad I was there to see it.

- Flashy's Squeeze

Marty said...

Awesome! Those last few miles are always the toughest:) But well worth it, when you cross the finish line! Way to go!

Marty

Liv said...

Congratulations! You pushed through the tough points and made it your race. 42 k is an awfully long way - I only hope that someday soon I can do as well as you did!

runnergirl said...

Awesome job. Way to go. I'm so happy for you!

Papa Roger said...

Félicitations quel beau récit j'en suis tout ému .Je suis très fier de toi une grande réalisation un surpassement qui est tout a ton honneur. Les melançon on n'a pas juste la tête dur on a aussi le " Hard du MENTAL "

ton papa qui est plus que fier de sa fille !

Ps si possible me faire une copie couleur de cette chronique pour mon album avec les photos.

Running by.... said...

Congratulations! What a great, awesome job!


YAY!!!!

Laurel said...

I know this is an old post, but I just read it and it was so great! I actually started tearing up when you talked about seeing your dad at mile 24 and him cheering you on. I felt like I was there with you!

I can't wait for my first full in October. I'll have to come back and reread this one for motivation.