SO, my brother-in-law, Alex, dropped me off at DAWN so I could go pick up my race kit, check my baggage and shuttle to the start line. I was originally supposed to run this race with a friend, and possibly my sister and Alex, but none of them had trained much and they all decided against it. I was on my own until the finish line!
Before the race I had the opportunity to meet the lovely Ali of Running with Spatulas ! Unfortunately we were both totally nervous and failed to take a picture to prove it, hah. It was Ali’s first half and she totally killed it! Read about it here.
At this point I can’t even remember what I had for breakfast but I CAN remember eating an entire bag of cherry blasters before I even made it to the start….woops.
This race was pretty small so there weren’t any time corrals, just one big group of runners all starting at once. I tried to squeeze myself into the middle of the pack somewhere, and hoped I wouldn’t get caught up running too much slower or faster than I wanted. I had my Garmin queued up, and Fit Radio playing on my iPhone. I love the atmosphere of a race day start line, everyone is so excited and energetic, it’s totally contagious. Chest pain or not, I intended on sticking to my goal pace to hit my goal time of sub 1:55. If I had to drop out, so be it, I just wanted the best shot I could get at my goal.
The gun sounded and eventually I crossed the started like and we headed up the road. Space was tight and I was definitely being slowed down. I made my way to the outside of the pack where it was less congested and I was able to pick up the pace and get into the zone. I was chest pain free for the first couple kilometres but wasn’t yet convinced I was in the clear, since the pain had last appeared later into a run.
By the end of the 5th kilometre I knew I was good to go because it was something like 6 or 7km DOWNHILL. Just a smooth, gradual descent and an excellent chance to pick up some speed! I had heard that some people gun it too fast on the downhill, only to have shot quads by kilometre 15 or 16. I had already decided I wasn’t going to hold back, I was going to do what felt fine, and running fast downhill felt awesome!
Much to my surprise, part of the race actually took place on trails. I sure felt the sting of some sharp rocks on my feet in my new VFFs, but I tried to keep the pace up as much as possible. There were some tiny rolling hills around these part and I was certainly slowing down but still feeling great.
Eventually the route took us to the waterfront, which is where I had to step up my mental game. It was a small city pathway where we were running directly alongside the people going the other direction– already on their way to the finish. It was hard to run with no sign of the path’s end! Mind you, it felt great being on the other side watching all the other people who still had to hit the turn around point
I kept a close eye on my watch at this point and just. kept. running. I had a total of 2 carb boom energy gels over the course of the race, as I was feeling like eating them was expending more energy than I was getting in return. This seemed to work! Also, my Fit Radio app crashed approximately 6-8 times and every time it made me furious– I would have to take out my iPhone, close it, restart it, and put it away, all while attempting to keep up my pace. This sounds simple but you runners know how much energy this takes! The people at Fit Radio owe me at least 30 seconds off my time
For the majority of the race I was smiling away because I couldn’t believe how great I felt. I couldn’t believe my goals (both of them) were in my sights. I hung on to this DECIDED I was going to do it. I had to.
As I approached the finish line (around a corner and up a hill) I was in a daze, I looked at my watch and it read 1:54– because of the way I had my display set up, I couldn’t see the seconds. I knew that I had AT MOST, 59 seconds to cross that finish line and make my goal. I tried to pick up the pace as best I could but I was feeling pretty nauseous so I couldn’t motor as much as I would have liked. When I crossed the finish line, I tried to compose myself (read: not toss my cookies) and went and sat on a curb. I was smiling all alone like a big idiot because I knew that even if I hadn’t made my sub 1:55 goal– I had PR’d! What more can a runner ask for?
Yes, I do everything in pearls.
I made my way to the food tent where I had zero appetite, but I filled a bag with snacks anyway. Whoever planned this race and the SOUP STATION in the tent was a genius, because I was FREEZING (and nauseous), and the soup was such an easy way for me to get warm and get some salt in my body fast. I felt much better in no time.
As I sat waiting for my ride home I decided to check and see if my results were posted online yet. I was pretty sure this race didn’t have instant results but thought maybe I could at least see my 10k split time. It was much to my surprise when I saw that results were posted and I had an official time of 1:54:59!!!
Yup, consider that goal smashed by ONE SECOND. Hah, didn’t want to overwork myself now.
Another race, another lesson. Don’t look to others to decide whether or not you’re ready for something and whether or not your body can handle it. No one is more in tune with your body than you are. Go with your gut. Always. ALWAYS. It never lets me down. To think I went into this race wondering if I would finish and came out with a PR is pretty mind-boggling for me. But there is no feeling like it, and I’m so glad I took this chance. THANK YOU HAMILTON DOWNHILLS. I am also happy to report I have only felt the chest pains a total of 3 more times and each time only for a few seconds. I hasn’t lingered since the night before the race.
Now I have taken a couple weeks off running and am getting ready to get back in the game this week. I have a 30km race to train for, after all