have you ever been bored or lonely and thought to yourself, ‘I should have a baby’… and then you get pregnant and you are like ‘oh my word, what have I done’…

similar to getting a puppy…  you are having an ‘off’ day and decide a puppy will fix it…  then you spend most of your spring/summer taking your three dogs to the vet to get porcupine quills removed… and your morning ritual is scooping poop and watching your grass and flower beds fall into ruin…

this is how I stumbled into running

it all started with a little bout of post-pardum depression after having my second son Ethan…  which is odd, because if you know the temperaments of my two sons, you would have put your money on the first go around at motherhood to be the fall into depression, not the second…

but depression is a tricky thing…  you never know when, where or why it shows up and bam… you decide running will fix it…

and running did help with the overall chaos and tribulations of early motherhood…  just to clarify, by running I mean I would head out for perhaps a 2 mile jog and follow it up with ice cream as a reward for my efforts…

as it is with any worthwhile addiction, you begin to not be happy with 2 mile runs followed by ice cream and you start to need more…

10 years later I find myself just completing my second half marathon, then a full marathon and less than a month away from a 50 km trail race…

right smack dab in the middle of harvest…

the fun part I’ve found about races, is signing up for them…  I love plugging them into my calendar and feeling like I have something important going on in my life…

the terrible thing about races is running them… this I found out during the 3 hours,48 minutes and 18 seconds it took me to complete my first marathon in Edmonton yesterday…

my son Ethan – the one that sent me into depression and thus running – thought that I should take his Go-Pro and document my adventures during the race… seeings how this is my third race ever, I didn’t think I was qualified to be videoing myself…

instead I’ll try to give a quick recap on my experience with running my first marathon…

  1. having 10 weeks of training (after running the half/marathon) and only 300 miles under my belt, I felt I should dive into a marathon as part of my training schedule – so I signed up on Monday to run the race on Sunday and booked my flight to my brother’s house
  2. I arrived in Edmonton and blessed my sister-in-law by breaking up her Saturday night plans and allowing her the pleasure of coming and grabbing me at the airport instead
  3. no time for chit-chat, I took over my 16 year old nephew’s bedroom, demanding fresh linens and a fan, and headed off to sleep at 9:30 pm
  4. I awoke, confused at 2:45 am, then again at 3:50, followed by 4:20 and then finally at 5:15 at which time I made sure my brother was up to make me coffee (it was his last day to sleep in before work started up again for him on Monday… but I could sense he was more excited about my race than sleep)
  5. I told my brother how important it was for runners to have a bowel movement before running a marathon…  he was thrilled to know this information…
  6. at 6:15 am we got in his car and drove to downtown Edmonton and the race began
  7. following the race, I only had time for a quick shower before my brother had to rush me back to the airport and tell me it was great that I came to town for a visit… I told him – you are welcome – and we parted ways the way we always do… without hugging… 
  8. I really never asked them if they wanted to do anything else on their weekend… I was too busy preparing for the race, racing and recovering from it… which makes you wonder if runners are narcissists as well as depressed

  1. Start of Race – the announcer had everyone who was running their first marathon  hold up their hand…  I did along with a few others and then I proceeded to tell a few runners around me that if they wanted to stick close to me I could pace them…  I feel like their laughter was more nervous and polite than sincere…
  2. Mile 6 – I felt wonderful for these first miles…  like my feet were barely touching the ground and the early morning light was so lovely…  I had settled into a comfortable 8:00/mile pace and was grouped behind two Oriental couples and another older couple (not sure what race… I was pretending they were German)… I thought it was wise to surround myself with older people who perhaps knew what they were doing due to the fact that if they didn’t, they might die out there…
  3. Mile 13.1 – we had looped back and were running past where the race had began…  at this point I was holding an 8:20/mile pace and was thinking to myself… ‘wouldn’t mind ending the race right now… half marathons seem like the smarter way to go’
  4. Mile 18 – my hips had started to go…  my pace had slowed to 8:44/mile and I was starting to look around at other runners to see if they looked like they were in as much pain as I was… I was only walking at the water stations (mostly because I can’t drink and run at the same time) but every time I stopped to drink it was a mental game to get my legs running again… also, I had never run longer than 18 miles in my training so I was fearful what my legs/body were going to do after this mark
  5. Mile 22 – the craziest thing had happened…  my pace had slowed again to 9:08/mile but I had felt for the first time in the latter part of the race what some might call a ‘runner’s high’…  (which, to my understanding, means you are in so much pain your mind separates from your body and you feel like you are in a state of bliss… while you permanently damage your knees and hips) I believe part of this ‘high’ was due to the playlist the farmer had made for me…  it was a streak of 6 songs that were excellent to run to…  I was all smiles to the crowds on the side, encouraging other runners, even a few high fives were thrown around…
  6. Mile 24 – the good music had ended and my hips, knees and feet hurt so much I actually contemplated either walking the rest of the way or quitting… the smiles and high fives were a distant memory and looks of pain and contempt had replaced them…  all I could think at this point was ‘marathons are a test of who can endure the most pain’… every step took all of my mental power to get my legs to do it…  I was looking down and willing myself to keep moving forwards through the pain…  I looked up to see a guy dressed as a TeleTubby with a sign that read ‘3 km to go’ and I almost cried…
  7. Mile 26.2 – when I saw the finish line, it was like someone had picked me up and was carrying me to it…  the crowd was cheering and probably thinking how awful it looks to run a marathon…  all I could think was if I get there, I can stop running

 

a few things I learnt from running my first marathon:

watching countless YouTube videos on running ultra’s and marathon’s does not translate into running them well…

I think you get better the older you get and the more you do – I could not believe the amount of older people rocking the marathon…

you should not wear your trail running shoes to run 26.2 miles on pavement

if you are used to running on gravel and dirt roads, the pavement is going to hurt your body in ways you never dreamt it could…

don’t be offended if your brother and his family bring you an extra change of clothes because they were truly worried you would soil yourself while running and they were not about to let you get in their vehicle with poopy shorts on…

you will claim after finishing that you will never do that again in your life…  but similarly to babies and puppies, you will find yourself a few weeks later on the internet, looking up races and thinking it’s a great idea to get another race booked on your calendar…