Oh, Ottawa. Marathon #2 is done.

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Well, that wasn’t fun.

The good: The first 18k and last 400 metres.

The bad: Everything in between.

A combination of factors came together to make this race the toughest one I’ve ever run. First, it got hot in the second half. It was cooler than forecasts called for, but hot enough I could feel it. Second, my lungs felt full – but not full of air. I had bronchitis in December, which resulted in a hacking cough after every long run. I got sick again in April and I haven’t fully recovered from it. I’ve been in denial about this, but it was evident today. And, finally, knee pain decided to show up and not go away. In order to manage the pain, I had to slow my pace and walk a lot in the second half. It was so frustrating because I felt like I could run faster, that my muscles could do more. And they probably could. But I got frustrated. And that made me run slower and walk more.

I think if it had been two out of the three, I wouldn’t have let myself get so defeated. I still PBed – by one entire minute – but this was a wholly different marathon experience than my first one. I crossed the finish line of the Blue Nose knowing I left everything out on that course. I crossed the finish line in Ottawa knowing I can do better. That was held me back today is manageable. That I beat myself today. The amount of energy I had during the last 400 metres proved it.

I probably learned more about myself and about running today than if I had had an amazing race. I need to get mentally tougher. I need to foam roll my IT bands more. I need to push harder in training. Important lessons.

I can only get better from here.