Canadian Running Magazine Article

12 11 2016

Thanks so much to Tim an amazing writer at Canadian Running Magazine for writing this flattering article on my first marathon experience;

A 2:29 debut marathon off a 70-80K per week build


Road to Hope Marathon: A first but not a last.

7 11 2016

Having run for almost 20 years the decision to enter a marathon race was a long time in the making. The idea was implanted in my head on my very first run. My friends dad was heading out the door for a run. I asked him how long he was running for and why and he said 2 hours because he was getting ready for a marathon. At first I thought he was nuts, but then I just became curious. That curiosity led to my asking him if I could join him on one of these runs. Equipped with basketball shorts, shoes and a t-shirt(in the Canadian winter) we departed for my first run. We went slow and rested when we needed to rest. I felt so free. The scenery was beautiful. The pounding of the pavement. the sights. The sounds. I was hooked immediately. To me running was a gift from God (probably a bigger gift to my folks as I was now out of the house for 2 hours on Sundays). I joined my friends dad (Arend) for these runs every week until eventually he said, I should start to train with a track club since I am so passionate about running.

Flash forward: As a student heading into the final term of Massage Therapy School as well as operating as Head Coach of, I had to be ok with the reality that marathon specific training would take a back seat. This simply meant adjusting the goal of my first marathon to ‘finishing’ and gaining ‘valuable experience’ for the future.

Running 70-80km/week with one beefy long run was the framework of the 12 week build for the Road to Hope Marathon. This made me nervous but not so much so that I didn’t think I could finish the 42.2km distance. Ideally, a mix of higher/lower weeks, 20-24 weeks in length reaching a maximum of 150-160/km a week would have had me feeling a bit more confident going in. Again, I reminded myself of the goal ‘to finish’. A few weeks back this goal was flipped on its head to ‘just start’.

Gearing up for one of my beefy long runs on a rainy Saturday morning I slipped on a puddle of mud which twisted my ankle. I took a minute or two to assess and it felt totally fine, so off I went on the run. The next day I could barely walk. The not so official diagnosis after seeing many health professionals with varying opinions was a ligament sprain (I thought this made the most sense).  I don’t think I realized how badly I wanted to try the marathon until this injury. Now, I was dead set on rehabilitating and running Road to Hope Marathon, even if it wasn’t going to be sexy.

After a week of rehab and a few modifications to my footwear (Thank heavens for the Skechers Forzas) I could ease into gentle running. Skipping forward, 2 weeks prior to Road to Hope, Team Fastisfun competed at the RunWaterloo Fall 5k Classic. It was an amazing day as not only did Team Fastisfun run the fastest team time in the history of the event but I finished in 3rd overall behind Ontario 10km Champ Evan Esselink and Olympian Alex Genest, and most importantly in one piece. This foot test left me feeling that Road to Hope Marathon was again a possibility.

Race day arrived, and speedster runner Stephaney Hortian traded in her running gear for a bicycle, gels and numerous bottles/potions that had been carefully measured prior. Stephaney biked 42.2km ensuring I was hydrated every step of the way and for that I was so grateful. Before the gun went off I kept reminding myself that marathons aren’t conquered by running a fast first km. The leaders an Ethiopian and Kenyan runner went out blazing fast, so fast that I had to ask a fellow competitor if they decided to combine the marathon and half marathon after all.  When I caught up to the leaders we were about 3km into the race and then the games began. A surge here and a surge there followed by slowing down again. I resisted every temptation to go with these surges as it didn’t fit with my race plan.

By 6km all the surging had caught up to my racemates and I started pulling away by running even splits…3:23/3:23/3:23/3:24….etc etc. At 6km there was Stephaney with bottles and liquids ready. Every 6km she had a treat for me. I felt great, so much so that I started to worry when I hit 25km and I felt relaxed. This lasted until I hit a narrow dirt trail path with a sewer grate and a big hill. It was anarchy on that trail with people scattered everywhere and it really broke my rhythm. I rebounded well enough but by 34-35km those earlier mental miles cost me and the wall had found me…she was nasty. Through 35km on 2:24 pace with ease I dropped from 3:20’s to 4:20’s per km for those final 7km. This brought my final time to 2:29. I placed 1st overall.

This experience was amazing and memorable but it has left me with a hunger for redemption. When I meet the marathon again I will be better prepared.