Cornwall Marathon: Finishing Strong

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3:10:53, runner’s high definitely present during and after the race.

You would think that running a marathon in that time would be the highlight of the race and that all of you could think of is how ecstatic you are about achieving such a result on your first marathon.

You are right, it is a great achievement but running the Cornwall Marathon was about so much more than just about the result … it was about the experience and discovery of something new.

Going with the flow, zero expectations, trusting your guts, breathing, relaxing, observing, letting go.

I first expected that I was going to be on my own, sleep at a hotel and just do my own thing and see how it goes.

What happened is that I ended up skipping the hotel, having a meal with an awesome group of guys, sleeping at my friend’s place and planning race day as if I was part of a team. I felt at home in a stress-free environment, disconnected to both technology and my overwhelming schedule for 24 hours. It is very interesting what happens when you let go … you start living in the moment and laughing more.

Starting slow … but not as slow as I thought … learning to trust your training.

On race day, I felt relaxed and at peace from the moment I got up.

I arrived at the starting line and saw my friend. I asked what time he was aiming for. 4:35/km he said, for the first half and then his goal was to slow down just a bit on the second half.

I knew that was a reasonable goal for me since it is not a hard pace for me to keep up so I told him he now had a running partner. Half of the race (21.1k) went by and 4:33/km we were averaging. It felt awesome. I still had a lot of energy.

Enough energy to goof around and truly appreciate how much fun I was having so I kept going on… I was in the zone and could not believe how easy it was.

The Next 10.7 Kilometres 

Once we started hitting the rolling hills, I was alone and I remembered an advice that my friend told me about taking it easy in a section to avoid “killing my legs”. I listened to him and did not try hard to go up those steep short hills.

I was slowing down going up a bit and allowing myself to speed the downhills. Typical me, I cannot deny the love I have for running downhill. The goal was to be relaxed and energy efficient in this section. The average pacing ended up being 4:35/km during that split.

The last 10.4 kilometres: expecting a negative split and getting a burst of energy

It’s interesting how connected to your body you can become when you take care of it. You start to really know yourself and you start to truly believe in what you can achieve.

My mind shifted. Instead of keeping a pace I then chased people down with the knowledge that I had enough energy in the tank to do so … a very sensational sensation.

I went from conservative to audacious. As my target approached, my energy increased and I no longer felt fatigue even after running 30 kilometres. I knew what I had to do and I knew that I could get it done. What seemed crazy in the beginning became closer and closer to reality.

Three Kilometres From the Finish

I then started having stitch. Interestingly enough, that did not worry me, I slowed down, focused on my breath for 300 metres and then it got away, which allowed me to go faster and have a really strong finish, winning my category, getting a second overall place in women and achieving my negative split goal.

What I enjoyed the most of the marathon is how much of a mind game it was.

I learned a few things on the way that will stick with me:

  1. How important my environment is before, during and after the race.
  2. How the state of mind is important on race day.
  3. As much as I am proud of the result of my first marathon, I feel disconnected to it. I feel so much more connected to the journey and the fun that I had with my new and old friends.
  4. Fully experience all of the sensations that are going through your mind, body and spirit in everything that you do.
  5. The notion of time is irrelevant when you are truly in the zone.

  6. I truly enjoy doing marathons.

 

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