Updated: Nov 6, 2020
Just before Christmas last year I made the decision to lose weight and to be healthier. Once I had lost about 40 pounds I decided to take up running in April 2020. I’ve played my fair share of hockey and soccer growing up so I thought running would be pretty easy and started out with a couple of 5k runs (27:07 and 30:34). Well ok that wasn’t bad I thought to myself, so I went out and did a couple 10k runs. They went pretty well I thought (1:11:00 and 58:24) so I set my heights even higher. And that’s how with 30km of running under my belt I thought it’d be wise to tackle a full distance solo marathon through the river valley.
So on May 18th at 6:10 am I set out from my house to run a 21km out and back route through the river valley. I packed a couple granola bars, some Gatorade, and my Camelbak water bladder into my backpack and off I went. My strategy was to jog pretty slow and then walk up any big hills I came across. I foolishly thought I’d take maybe 5 hours to finish. Things started off ok as I was mostly posting splits around the 7:30/km mark. Around 8-10k into my run the skies opened up and soaked me from head to toe. Of course I didn’t have proper running shoes and my feet were now drenched and ready to make blisters, but I pushed on.
I continued to cruise along at my same pace for the next 10k and posted a half marathon of 2:53:42. Now all I had to do was turn around and come back.
Well that’s when things went downhill….fast. Every single bit of my unpreparedness came to fruition as my knees, ankles, hips, and feet all started to rebel against me. With over 20k left to go I was far away from home and I started my hobble jog/limping walk back towards my house. Just look at the difference on my face as my pace per km dropped to around the 10 minute mark.
At least at this point I knew that I was getting closer to my finish line. Unfortunately it was around the 35k mark that my phone battery started to get low so I had to turn off my music so that I would have enough juice to track my progress to the end. There’s no way I was going to do the full distance without having some record of it. Then I ran out of water. My pace dipped even lower (11-12 mins/km) as I struggled to even hobble jog for more than 30 seconds at a time. Thankfully as I had came out of the ravine by my house I was met by a friendly face, Brian Harker, who had come to cheer me on for the last little bit. I limped around my neighbourhood block a couple of times to grind out that last 0.195km and I finally finished!
My dog, Bauer, was happy to celebrate my finishing time of 6:37:26. I was happy to be done.
As I tried to recover over the next couple weeks I found that I had irritated and caused all kinds of issues in my knees and IT band. It took me until the end of July until I was able to finally run again without any pain in my knee. Now I’ve been taking my running a little more seriously and have a much better knowledge base on what is appropriate training. I’m planning on running a 5k time trial on Halloween and hope to keep running all winter to be prepared for some longer distances next summer.