Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Onward Again. Reflections after the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon.

Proverbs 16:9
We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.

I've been up since 4:15 am and am finally nearing the end of a long day. Once again, I sit at my computer writing about another marathon. I've been here before, sharing the downs instead of the ups, after a disappointing day. I think the last time I wrote about a big marathon disappointment was when I had my first (and only) DNF at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow due to heat exhaustion. The weather certainly wasn't an issue today. In fact, the conditions were really good as was the pace group, course, training, and my overall health. Usually I can fairly quickly put my thoughts together after a poor performance but today it took quite a while. I will debrief with Dave and Trent upon my return but for now I can summarize with a few points:
I likely paid the consequence for the slightly quick start (~2:27:00 pace at 10 km). I'm more of a metronome runner.
I disconnected from the pace group at the 10 km fluid station and was solo for the remainder of the race. With the women's only start, you don't have men to settle in with.
My bottle/gel was not on the 30 km table. Every bottle and gel is important.
My heel became more than just a niggle. It started in September, between my Rio and Toronto marathons.
Lastly, I succumbed to every marathoner's nightmare; GI troubles. Never in my 14 marathons in nearly 15 years have I ever had to stop (and multiple times). I hope this was my first and last experience! Not fun.
BUT I won't allow these to be excuses. The bottom line is that I physically disconnected early in the race. My goal was to get a personal best and now that I've had some time to think more about it, I may have also mentally disconnected at that 10 km point due to an all or nothing mentality. This race wasn't about making a national team or breaking records, it was about what Krista DuChene could do on April 23, 2017. And it didn't happen. I had no pressure, no home crowd, no national title or team selection criteria to fight for that was fierce among the Brits. THEN it got ugly and really just became a matter of finishing. I really just wanted it to end. It was one of these races where one could easily DNF but that was not an option. Sometimes you just have to finish what you started even if it's terribly humbling and race results become part of your permanent record.
After the race and throughout the rest of the day I limped around and continued to make frequent trips to the washroom but that didn't stop me from moving on with my day. I met my friend Paul, who I met in Iten while training in March, and his girlfriend, Emily for a lunch of fish n' chips with mushy peas. It was so nice to see a familiar face and have a good cry. They are lovely people. Shortly after that I made my way to the tube to visit Platform 9 3/4 at King's Cross. My kids are big Harry Potter fans and thought it would be neat to see where the characters disappear on route to Hogwarts school. I wasn't sure I would be able to but because it was so close to the Tower Bridge where I was staying, I decided to go. Once I got back I got ready to go to the London Marathon after party and awards celebration. I enjoyed the awards ceremony and a lovely meal while sitting with several from the Netherlands.
I will meet Alan Brookes again for breakfast in the morning then make my way home from Paddington Station to Heathrow airport to Pearson airport. What's next? Well, since London was my third marathon in eight months, definitely some rest and relaxation. I have several speaking engagements and life with the kids will continue to keep me busy. Jonathan has been dad-extrodanaire since March so I'm sure our Team DuChene will appreciate just the normal day to day routine.
Thank you for your love, prayers and support both before and after the race. There have been some really special messages sent to me that I hold dear to my heart.
Down but not out.
Onward again!

Pre-race interview: here.
Post-race interview (at bottom): here.

Virgin Money London Marathon Media Guide with everything you would need to know, and more!

Spectacular finish. Something I chose to embrace despite the outcome.

Fuel station.
Abel Kirui sat next to me on the bus to the start. Very friendly, humble and personable man. You'd never know he has one Olympic (silver) and two World Championship (gold) medals. He won 2016 Chicago, 2008 Vienna, and was second at 2007 Berlin. We chatted and shared pictures of our families from our phones over the course of nearly 1.5 hrs.  He went on to place 4th.
Finally fish n' chips with mushy peas.
Thanks for helping me through my post-race tears, Paul and Emily.
On route to Hogwarts from Platform 9 3/4!
Always a post-race favourite.
Wonderful dinner with the Netherlands people (athletes, agents, coaches), including male winner Daniel Wanjiru (in background).  
And another classic - Sunday roast (well, close enough). The mashed potatoes had horseradish, which paired well with the beef. 

It was such an honour to meet GB's marathon mom and 5-time Olympian, Jo Pavey. What a lovely woman.
Thanks for the breakfasts together, Alan. And sorry for all the photo bombing! See you back at home.