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Beginner's Luck? The Jocelyn Denomme Story

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Beginner's Luck? At Croquet, Maybe, But The Marathon?...Not A Chance!

The following is a submission by one of our new clients this past season, who trained extremely well (often on her own), and executed her race plan expertly, defying the oppressive conditions of her chosen race (Waterfront Marathon), to such a degree that she was chosen as this season's MDI "Rookie of the Year". Enjoy!

Itís 4:00 am Sunday morning, one hour before my alarm is to sound and I am lying awake listening to my 10 month old daughter calling to me. Why Charlotte on this day of all days do you decide to wake so early? Please, donít wake your big sister. I am starting to feel excited about my first marathon race. A beautiful day, perfect temperature, I feel great physically ... this might actually be a good day!

I feel surprised by this given the weeks leading to the marathon. I was doing great with the MDI customized training plan, meeting my paces in speed work, doing the distances and I felt strong in mid August with the 18 mile mara pace run but since then it had been a mixture of challenges with blisters (very BIG blisters), returning to work after maternity leave, a hectic schedule with 2 small kids under 3 and a bout of the flu last week that had left me feeling less than prepared for this run. The runs I usually so enjoy started to become a burden and babysitting costs were escalating due to my husbands hectic schedule and frequent travel.

So here I am on race day, feeling very happy and excited to be completing this journey despite the rough patch I had hit in recent weeks. Maybe I can achieve this goal of 3:45?

I cross the start line and engage the Garmin monitor, oh, and the iron man watch too. The first km is apparently slow so I am expecting a slower 1st km split. It turns out to be a faster than I should be running 1st km split. The crowd disperses quickly and there is lots of room to move. I realize I need to slow it down a notch. I try to settle into my race pace but seem to be thinking about every single step. Is it too fast ? Too slow? My splits remain a little fast as I run by the 2nd and 3rd km. Slow down Jocelyn the last thing you need is a repeat of the Ottawa Ĺ marathon a decent time but so painful because I started too fast.

I am jolted by a familiar sound of the garmin monitor dinging off. Oh, oh, I look at mine wondering what the heck is this thing doing ? I realize that I am also drawing attention to the fact that I even have one; something I am self-conscious about. With relief, I realize it is in fact not my monitor but someone else has set theirs up to bleep every time they are off pace. I run beside this person we talk a bit about the Garmin we run at the same pace for a while ... his is reading 4:20 mine is reading 4:55. Hmm, glad I didn't become super dependant on this thing I think to myself. The poor guy doesn't know how to get his to stop dinging. Thankfully, he runs ahead.

Gradually, I lose the need to check my splits at every km. When I do check, I am slightly faster than what the pace band dictates. This is ok I tell myself. I am feeling good.

21 km. Time is 1:46:42. Half way. Still a little fast but I'm feeling so good. Just past the 21 km mark something hits my legs then I hear a clunk. Goodbye gel tube. There is no way I'm going back for it; knowing me I'll strain my quads squatting to get it but when is the next power gel station?

Hit a water station. No gel. Better take some Gatorade. I think this is potentially a stupid idea but I would rather have some digestive discomfort than an energy crash. I drink the syrupy concoction. I hate it but my intuition tells me this is the right thing to do.

25 km. Where is my family? Did I bring the car keys by mistake and now Yves is stuck at home with the kids without a car to come and watch? There they are! "Go mommy go!" Kate is cheering me on; Charlotte is looking less then impressed in the baby jogger. So good to see them.

My mind wanders back to pace. I am very consistently running about a 5:06 pace and it feels good. Is it too fast though? I think back to the program. To the last page. The conservative, the ideal and optimistic race times. According to all the training and all the work my body can and is trained to run a 3:30 pace. It was right there in the MDI customized training program. In writing. I can do this. I am doing this! I can do this speed. It is achievable. My training tells me so. My body is telling me so. I followed the program and I met my paces so this makes sense!

It's getting hot out. My pace remains consistent. Getting close to the longest run mark of 36 km and I'm still feeling good. See Michael Brennan. He calls my name, cheers me on. 37 km ... only 5 km to go! I'm waiting for 38 km marker. Where the heck is it? Look at my watch. Ok. Clearly I have missed the 38 k marker. This is awesome; almost at 39km. Pass 39 km; look at my split ... it reads 3:17. It sinks in that I am going to reach my goal and then some! At this moment a bystander yells to me "keep your head up!" I figure he's a physiotherapist (like myself) who can't resist helping out and he did. My posture always goes to hell when I'm tired. I try to keep my head up.

A mixture of emotions ... happiness, disbelief and excitement. Where was the infamous wall? How did I escape the suffering I was so dreading? I see the finish and pick up the pace. What an unbelievably luck day for me. I realize that I although I did the training so much depends on the day. Anything can happen ... cramping, indigestion, the weather.

I cross the line with a time of 3:33:56. It was a great day for me and I am so thankful. I took off my shoes and socks and hobbled barefoot to baggage check to get my phone and re-unite with my little family.

Thank you to Kevin Smith and the Marathon Dynamics team for helping me achieve my goals! Thank you to my husband for all your support. I look forward to the next step ... training for Boston. Just one thing ... Does the program have to include hill training?

Jocelyn Denomme