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Race Report: Johnny Miles Advocate Half Marathon

Posted Jun 26 2012 7:34am
Date: June 17, 2012
Distance: Half Marathon (13.1 miles)
Time since last race:  2 weeks
Weather: About 20*C and Sunny
Time: 2:00:18 *New PB!

I had decided back in February that this race would be my redeeming race after I had a disappointing race at the JJ McDermott Long John Jaunt (though I suppose looking back, 17 minutes off my previous half marathon time from 4.5 months prior was a pretty solid improvement!)

Johnny Miles Race Route (Garmin/ Bing Maps)
At the start line, I saw a lady who had written "NO PAIN" on one shoulder, and "NO GAIN" on the other. Sounds silly, but it was kind of the reminder I needed to snap me out of my self-pity and frustration over the back problems I was having that morning, and it reminded to suck it up and run on... Sometimes things worth doing hurt, c'est la vie!

The race itself was gorgeous. The half marathon course was two laps of the same loop course. You leave from the start across a bridge and along the roadway (which was closed off to traffic), then to a turnaround and back along a crushed rock tree-lined path alongside the ocean, then back along the same path a second time. It was one of the prettiest courses I've ever run!

Even though I felt truly awful that day because of my back and neck pain, it was hard to get caught up in it - there was always something gorgeous to look at as you ran and the scenery never got boring.
Isn't the trail gorgeous?!
The course was fairly flat and there was excellent support. 

Lots of water stops (I'd say every 2 km there was a water stop) with water and Gatorade, and there was lots of local support for the race. Lots of spectators cheered the runners on; people were out with their garden hoses and offering jelly beans and orange slices to runners. 

This is my all time favourite race picture. Like, ever. This was the moment I
saw the timer and realized that I had reached my goal time!
The energy at the finish line was unreal! There was a huge crowd at the finish line (impressive when you consider that New Glasgow, Nova Scotia is a small, small town!) and your name was announced as you crossed the finish line. I LOVE when they do that, you feel like a rockstar when they yell out your name and where you're from as you run through the finish line!

Race stuff laid out the night before
The weather was beautiful, sunny and warm (though not too warm!) on race day. I wore my new Lululemon Run: Stuff Your Bra tank (I will do a full review of this one soon - but in short, I LOVED it. The million pockets in the boobs, which I sniffed at when it was uploaded, were so useful and functional in a race and the tank was light and breathable); a Lululemon Run: Speed Skirt ( read my review here ); my new Saucony Kinvaras (yeah, I know. New sneakers in a half marathon = dumb. But they didn't give me any trouble!); and a Chickband (SO obsessed. I now have 5 of these... and want more). 

For hydration I used my Amphipod Handheld Thermal Lite 20oz bottle ( review here ). I adore this bottle. I was able to carry all the things that I didn't stuff in the boob part of my tank top in the hand strap pocket, and I love always having quick access to my favourite trusty blue Gatorade. 

The race itself cost $65 to register - not terrible as far as half marathons go, though it's still pricy. However, the value for the race was pretty awesome. The entry fee included:

  • Race entry with chip timing; 
  • Pasta dinner the night before
  • Breakfast foods pre-race (bananas & muffins)
  • Water and Gatorade at the water stops; 
  • Packed brown-bag lunches to go for after the race (included wraps, bananas, yogurt)
  • Chocolate milk, juice, bottled water, coffee, donuts and bagels post-race
  • Foil blankets post-race
Daisy-Pants like to wear race medals sometimes, because dammit, you
gotta THINK like a champion to become one!
  • Finishers Medals
  • Bags
  • Hats
  • Tech long sleeve shirts

Post-race, myself, Erin and Corey all went for our ritual post-race burgers... though I kind of cheated and had post-race nuggets instead... 

Tee hee! He kind of looks unimpressed (yet deeply saddened) that
I ate his foot... His delicious foot :)
... and this loveable cookie/ gingerbread tiger who I named Tony. A lesson: don't be a 4-year old like me and name your food, it's infinitely harder to eat it and you become attached it it when it has a name. 

My Overall Thoughts

Anyway, before I go off on my loopie tangents! My overall thoughts on the race - wonderfully done. The course was gorgeous. It's pretty flat (ideal for a PB!) and even though the half involved 2 laps of the same course, it was so pretty that you didn't mind. I could see it getting a little monotonous for the full marathon though, 4 laps could have been excessive! 

The only other complaint I have was that the Expo was pretty sparse. I really love Expos and wandering the booths, but it isn't as much fun when there are only 6 or 8 booths! Give me somewhere to burn some guilt-free money, dammit!

The support was great and I loved how the entire community seemed to be involved. Everything ran very smoothly and was very well organized. The course was well marked, there were tons of water stops and the value for the money was outstanding. I'd rate this one a 9.6/10 - fantastic. I'd highly recommend it and I'll be doing it again next year. 

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