The venue took place at the sports complex with hot drinks and even live music. I got my bib and started to prepare for the race. Standing at the front line of the start line I got a good vision of the road ahead of me. 3…2…1 and we all set our bodies into motion. The time has come to kick some French ass. As always I’ve come with a plan.
- 13 miles at pace 7:50-8:00 /mi.
- 9 miles at 7:45 /mi.
- 4.6 miles as fast as I can, depending on conditions.
In fact I felt really strong during the first 13 miles, running at 7:30-7:33 /mi, 20 seconds faster than planned😬. I was constantly reminding myself to slow down, however 30 minutes into the race I stopped resisting and made a decision to continue with a faster pace. Bad decision.
I will begin from saying that I totally failed it, not just on the race day, but a week leading to the race. For breakfast I had approximately 200g of brown rice, 1.5 scoops of whey protein shake, 1 grapefruit and banana. On the course I brought 3 hummer gels (~ 70g of carbs in 300 calories), and two 200 ml bottles with BCAA mixed with creatine (no calories here). Throughout the course there were 7 fueling stations, serving !potato chips!, dark chocolate, oranges, pure cubed table sugar, orange juice, coke and water. My body is familiar only with bananas and coke, therefore I decided not to experiment and ate approximately 1 banana, flushing it down with 2 gulps of coke (~40-50g of carbs). Shortly after I passed the halfway point, I realized it wasn’t nearly enough to keep up with a faster pace I chose to stick with. Poor nutrition, undereating few day prior to the race, sleep deprivation did it’s nasty job. It’s an “F” Sasha. Lessons learned.
Remaining 13.6 miles I felt pain in the liver and excruciating pain throughout my legs, making it more and more difficult to keep up with the pacing strategy. Right leg T-band and quadriceps on the left one, became sources of burning pain making the race more fun than I could handle. The second half was a 100% mental race. I became the main actor of my own movie called “50 Shades of Pain”, battling rapidly raising fatigue and exhaustion. It was really painful experience, maybe the most painful I ever had. Instead of running a negative split, as I usually do, I found myself getting slower and slower with a creeping thought of not finishing.
“It’s all good mental training” as mantra I kept on repeat in my head. I did not walk. I finished running! In just two months of hard training I broke my PR by 15 minutes since Toronto Waterfront Marathon.
I really enjoyed French nature while running through wide opened fields and forests. I am grateful for the warm and dry weather and appropriate choice of clothing I did for the race. I am grateful for the mind and body that allow me to take on this not only physical, but for the most part mental challenge. Thank you for not failing on me.
I am grateful for people that supported and believed in me.
Renee, thank you for smart, structured and personalized training plan and the words of wisdom I got from you. You are not only my coach, but a mentor to me.
Alysa I am grateful for your support. You know me better than anyone else. You have the power to ground me in times of deep crisis. You find the right words and approaches to break my armor and get me out of the mental prison I put myself into.
Mom, thank you for accepting my decision and cheering up for me from Ukraine. This is not how I imagined our vacation. Knowing that you had no hard feelings, took a huge weight of my chest and let me focus on the race.
Dad, thank you for always being honest WITH me, FOR me. I highly value your advices regards my physical and mental health. Thank you for giving me freedom to make my own mistakes.
Stepan, I am grateful for having you by my side, cheering up for me and forgiving my unpatience and short fuse. At the start line, you was worried for me more than I was for myself. You didn’t judge my decision to continue with a trip, pursuing my personal goals.
Another goal of mine got achieved setting me up for the next, greater challenges. I hit the PAUSE button for marathons and shift my focus to something greater. New 2019 year is going to be challenging and exciting year as I’ll spend it under the IRONMAN flags around the world 🌎