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Journey to Ironman: Part 2 of 4

I was so determined to keep the momentum going – literally. I got home, had a shower and a quick snack and within 30 minutes of walking through my door I had signed up for my first Calgary marathon – go big or go home I thought.

I was nervous and excited at the same time. I had only five weeks to prepare myself, which I would later find out is not a lot of time to prepare yourself physically and mentally.

I continued with my endurance program that I had made up in my head, the more the better I thought. I would go to a spin class at 6 a.m., sometimes I’d even go back at lunch for a second round, and then run 10 to 20 km, five days a week. Looking back at my made-up program, I am not sure how safe it was considering there was no time for rest or recovery, no proper hydration or nutrition, no real stretching, no consideration for heart rate, improper running shoes, it was just all a shot in the dark. I did feel stronger and fit, however; overdoing it would catch up with me quickly.

Two weeks before the event I started to develop Plantar Fasciitis, which is the result of inflammation of the plantar fascia, a tissue that connects the heel to the ball of your foot. Once the plantar becomes inflamed, it is very hard to walk or even stand. It’s a painful injury all around, but the mornings are definitely the worst. The band in your foot has had time to rest and reset during the night, and when you get out of bed and begin to walk, the stretching causes intense pain. I continued with my plan focusing on the stretching of the calf and heel to help heal the stubborn plantar. At that point I felt reasonably fit enough to get to the starting line.

May 30, 2019 was here, my first marathon – a bagel for breakfast, a lot of water and that was it. Off I went and headed to the stampede grounds. I lined up with 2,000 others ready for the 7 a.m. start; off we went.

I had a good idea of the course as I had previewed it prior; it does not look that far on a map! I had a tracker on the back of my bib # so my family knew approximately,  where I was. It was so good to see them twice on the course, just a smile and a wave from loved ones gives you an incredible boost. The first 25  km went really well, nice and steady. I was hydrating from the drinks at the aid stations and had a few gummies in my pocket. The next 15 km was tough though, more of a mental slog. The runners started to spread out and it felt like the aid stations seemed to get farther apart. It also felt quite lonely, I think that is just a mental part of your game you have to ignore and push on.

I knew where the finish was, the last two km were a breeze. I am sure I ran those last two km’s quicker than any others. The adrenaline was pumping, you start to see more spectators, live music, DJ’s, volunteers cheering you on, I cannot explain it, it is a real buzz.

The last corner came about, there it was the finish line. My friends and family were there at the end, cheering me on. I felt so accomplished, my goal was reached. I finished in four hours and 44 minutes, not too bad at all. You cross that line, and the organizers do such a good job of making sure you are safe. There are medics, food stations, volunteers all making sure you are in a good state of mind and health to continue your journey home. Thank you to all of you.

The next morning came and I couldn’t move, my quads were so tight I could barely sit down, and if I did I needed help getting out of the chair. I was in rough shape for three or four days after. I was moving around, but it was gingerly. I was thinking to myself “is this how people feel after this? How could they do this at the end of every event and feel like this. I think it’s time to get some advice and guidance from the professionals – time to hit the Running Room.”

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