I am so absolutely thrilled with my performance today.
By Krista DuChene
Throughout this season, Coach Rick and I focused on marathon pace for all of my races leading up to my first attempt at the Olympic Standard. I ran that pace in November in the RememberRun 8 km and worked my way up to that pace for the March 1st Chilly Half. In the last month of training, I then gained a lot of fitness, including spending nearly 3 weeks in Texas/Florida. I wasn’t very vocal with this marathon, rather just wanted to somewhat quietly do the work and take a shot at it.
Heading to Rotterdam via Amsterdam, I had great travel with no major jet lag issues, an amazing roommate from Paraguay, and no pressure going into the race. The weather looked decent with good temps and some wind.
Heading into the race,I knew Miranda Boonstra, from the Netherlands wanted to hit her Olympic standard (it was already announced) of 2:28:00. She had two pacers and the four of us stuck together, on pace until 30 km. Unfortunately she started to suffer from bad leg cramps and I was forced to go ahead on my own. At that point, the headwind was nasty and I had to make a decision: aim to continue on my own at that pace, to break 2:28:00, also the Canadian record, and possibly suffer, risking my chance at the Canadian Olympic standard or play it safe, stay strong and consistent, adjusting my effort based on the wind and guarantee myself the standard. With the wind and solo running for the remaining 12 km, I chose the safer option. It was the right choice.
Although it wasn’t a PB (which is 2:28:32 from 2013), it was the best race I ever ran, mentally. I was very calm and relaxed. Every time I felt a physical struggle, I just kept the rhythm and waited for it to pass. And it did. It was the first marathon where I felt, “Wow” rather than “Ugh” when I thought about how many kilometres I had left to go. The crowds were great, especially when I ran with their local, Miranda When I crossed the line and knew with 2:29:38 that I had the (2012) Olympic standard and then was informed I was third woman, well first I vomited, then came the happy tears and smiles.
I ended up taking 2 hrs in doping control to give the required 90 mL sample but had my phone and the company of a few other runners around me, one being Miranda. It was so nice to get to know her. In 2012 when I ran Rotterdam, I was 2 minutes slower than our standard. She was 8 seconds slower in the same race. Today I have our standard but once again, she does not have her standard. Marathoning is incredibly tough. Having a perfect race at this level is rare, I can’t stress that enough. I certainly look up to her, at age 42, continuing to commit and work incredibly hard hoping for success with no guarantee.
At dinner with the Speed River group, I was sled by coach Dave Scott-Thomas what the feeling was for the next for racing, I replied with a smile, “You know, that is a question I am pleased to have no answer!” For now, I am going to do some travelling in Europe for a few days as a mini vacation, where I can eat anything and enjoy the wonderful surroundings, returning home to Brantford on Thursday. It will be great to see the kids and Jonathan, who has been juggling his busy job and their schedules and care since I left.
In addition, I would like to extend a major thank you to everyone who has contributed to the journey, and many more, it simply would not be possible without you!
#TeamDuChene: Jonathan, Micah, Seth, Leah
Coach Rick & Josie Mannen
Sherri, Paul, Patricia: Essential Physiotherapy and Wellnes; Naomi, David, Ashley: Therapeutic Massage Counsel and Sue: stretching and breathing exercises and an active mom I look up to
Maureen, Jeanetta from the Wayne Gretzky Sport Centre’s childcare
Celine, Jonathan’s parents, Uncle Glen & Aunt Joyce and great running friends like James, and Clayton
Eload; Saucony; Liberte and Chariot