Monday, 5 May 2014

My Defining Moment at the Vancouver Marathon

SPOILER!! To my surprise I did PB my marathon time!!

Passing kilometre 37 of the Vancouver Marathon, the rain not letting up once the entire race, wind blowing harder and colder. I can nearly see the end of Stanley Park. I felt so defeated and demoralized, the marathon was laughing at me.  I came all the way to Vancouver to run this marathon I was not leaving without a medal.

My legs and body were betraying me. I replayed the last 2 days and back to the last few months of my training, where did I go wrong, did I not fuel properly, maybe I'm really not  made for the marathon.

The final 5k of the race were the most agonizing and painful 5k I have ever run, taking nearly an hour to complete.

By the time I could see the finish line 250 metres away, the longest 250 metres I have ever witnessed. I was numb, unaware of my surroundings, I no longer felt the pain I just kept reminding my legs to keep going.

As soon as I crossed that finish line and left the finishing chute I bent over with my hands on my knees gasping for air. Eyes welled with tears asking myself, what am I doing, promising myself to never put myself through this type of physical and mental anguish.

I had been training for a 4 hour marathon but had a very rough winter training from weather to injury. I reassessed and believed a 4:15-4:25 marathon time was attainable. I was on track, I had gas left in my tank, I was feeling strong and confident but so quickly all that came crumbling down.

Running is suppose to be fun, suppose to keep us fit and healthy. After this experience I think running is actually hurting me. I'm sitting here typing and every muscle in my body hurts, walking up or down stairs hurts even more. Running should leave us feeling good, so why doesn't it?

Perhaps I'm pushing too hard, setting expectations too high. I know I'm never going to win a race or even come close to ever making money from running. I run because I love it, yet after many races I curse racing and say never again yet 1 month later sign up for another race.

When I first started running I never obsessed about my pace or time I just ran because it felt right and I enjoyed it. Now my eyes are glued to my watch, checking my pace deciding if I can push a little harder without pushing over the edge.

Running shouldn't be something I stress about, my friend Catherine always reminds me "running is a gift". It really is, we are very lucky we are able to lace on our shoes and run, whether it's for 10 minutes or 5 hours.

I want to go back to enjoying running, I don't want to feel defeated or left feeling like I got hit by a truck after a race. Running my first marathon last fall, not worrying about a time just going out there and having fun, I want to go back to that. I was really having fun, smiling and laughing after 42.2km run.

Every good tale has a defining moment, the Vancouver marathon was my defining moment. Perhaps pushing my body to the ultimate edge is not what I want. I no longer want to race marathons but I will certainly run more marathons.


  1. Take care of yourself Alyssa! Look forward to running with you soon :)

  2. Did you and Alex have this conversation because I am pretty sure some of those same words came out of his mouth in regards to why you guys run, and how it is supposed to be fun and not painful.

    Awesome job on pushing through the race, girl!!

    1. Yeah! He was actually he first person I texted, he happened to have texted me asking how the race went as soon as I finished.

  3. @jennapettinato6 May 2014 at 09:53

    You are amazing Alyssa. I came to a similar conclusion this winter after my crazy mid-run allergy attack and I wholeheartedly agree that running is a gift, and most of the time is should be FUN. Popcorn and smiles at your next finish line, ok?

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  5. Next week i will buy shoes for running and try my first marathon. Hope it will be easy, cuz i'm a crossfitter:) Definitely it is cool combination running+crossfit! Thx for sharing!