*I still don’t know how to write a short race recap. I will probably never learn. I am not sorry about this.
Yesterday morning, I woke everyone up at 7AM to get ready to head to Ajax for Chloe’s 1K run and my half marathon. NO ONE WANTED TO GET UP! Eventually, everyone got in the car and we headed on our way. We got there with plenty of time to spare, but I tend to be overly early for races because I hate rushing in at the last minute and not being able to feel calm before I run!
The kids race was first and Chloe and Boo (my niece–that is her nickname–her parents aren’t insane!) lined up at the start. I headed to the other side to catch them running by and they did–hand in hand. Aww!!
We didn’t have to wait long for the first kid to cross in 3:37. Seriously impressive running by the kids yesterday. I love watching their smiles and lack of caring as they push themselves toward the finish. Shortly after we saw Chloe & Boo headed our way–still holding hands!
They crossed the finish and proudly got their medals. Chloe was so excited to show me her medal and she hasn’t stopped talking about how fun it was.
She wants to sign up for more races now and even told me about a cross country race coming up!
After talking to Chloe about her race for a couple minutes, I ditched my hoodie and headed for the bathrooms. The line was long but I made it with a couple minutes to spare before demanding that Carmy put my phone in my arm band for me and heading for the corral.
I immediately saw the 2:10 pacer and even though I have never tried to run with a pacer in my life (because one was rude to me DURING a race once and turned me off of the concept!), I made the snap decision to try to stay with him. I really didn’t think I could run a 2:10 with the amount of super slow, inconsistent running I have been doing, but when I saw him I just decided I wanted to try. (My PB is 2:07:19 and in reality before race morning I had kinda just been hoping to at least get under 2:15.)
There was just one other guy running with the pacer. We crossed the start and I started my watch. I chatted (probably annoyingly so) and we headed toward the lake. The pacer, whose name I didn’t ask, tried to tell me the course was flat, but I’ve run along most of the lakefront before so I knew better! As we got closer to 5k my watch decided that it should no longer tell me my pace. Instead, I obviously needed to know how many calories I was burning! I had no idea what pace I was running the rest of the race, but just kept checking my total time against the kilometre markers.
I was surprised how decent my legs felt and actually started thinking about the possibility of getting a PB. I knew we were going faster than a 2:10, so I began thinking of how I could hold the pace until about 17k and then start picking it up until the finish. I literally should never think these kinds of thoughts because it usually means a crash and burn is headed my way!
Shortly before 9k I started to get a stitch in my side. It started as a stitch and then turned into a cramp before 10k. I started breathing really slow and loud trying to get it to go away. Then I tried running with one arm over my head. I looked stupid, I’m sure, and it didn’t work. Eventually I started walking because it was really hurting and I was worried it would make me have to come to a complete stop if I didn’t try to get rid of it. That was the first of 5 times I ended up walking during the race. I was frustrated because my legs felt pretty decent, but I couldn’t get the cramp to stay away.
While I was frustrated I was also surprisingly in control on my brain. That sounds ridiculous, but when I hit 14k I realized that I made it that far without having to convince myself to keep going. I was grimacing at my cramping side, but I didn’t feel defeated at all. I knew I was doing the best I could in that moment and somehow, it was enough. THAT ISN’T HOW I THINK!
I kept moving and tried to give a thumbs up or “you’re doing awesome” to everyone I saw; I high fived the little kids standing outside their house and did my best to remember to thank the volunteers. The ones cheering at the exit from the lake almost made me cry. Somehow I felt like they were really cheering for me and that they truly believed in me personally! It was fantastic.
I headed in to the finish and loved seeing the 500m turnaround for the kids race from earlier. I knew I was almost done so I immediately heard Michelle’s voice in my head telling me to lift my knees, so I lifted! As I was almost to the finish I saw the kids, Anson, my sister and my niece. The three girls all came running into the street to me and it was so special! I failed at high fiving Boo as I went by, but I loved seeing them run with me for a little bit with huge smiles on their faces! I heard my name being called (nice touch!) as I crossed the finish with an official time of 2:10:37.
Today wasn’t a PB day except for the fact that it actually was for me! My time doesn’t reflect the mental strength I got from this race. There wasn’t one time that I wanted to give up. There wasn’t one time I said that it didn’t matter how I did. There wasn’t one time I felt unhappy. Sure, I was annoyed by my cramp, but I was still happy while running/walking. So, while I wish I could’ve run faster and felt stronger, part of me is glad that everything didn’t go my way. Running has such a unique way of teaching us about ourselves and this half did exactly that!As with any race, there are pro’s and con’s! Here’s my list to help you decide if you should sign up next year:
- The course: maybe it’s not pancake flat, but it’s gorgeous! I love running near water so this course was not disappointing. The path was well marked and I loved the extra chalk drawings made by the race director’s daughter. Adorable!
- The cost: I think I paid $55 for this race which frankly, is a serious bargain. I’m pretty sure it’s even cheaper if you sign up earlier! I got a bib, a long sleeve New Balance shirt that I will definitely wear, a pair of headphones and a gorgeous medal. The kid’s race is FREE and they got a tshirt, headphones and a medal. Most kid’s races that you pay for don’t even give you a medal–just a ribbon. I loved the huge deal they made about the kids running. It was special for them in a way they won’t forget!
- The extras: There was a ball playhouse thing (I don’t know what it’s called!) for the kids, face painting, a huge amount of snacks, and Starbucks coffee at the start/finish area. They were supposed to have pizza but I honestly didn’t stick around to check! They definitely had a massage tent with a ton of tables and therapists. A lot of races do this, but they have like two people working it and a huge line! They also have free pictures which will be available later. I love free race pics
- It’s a smaller race. To me this isn’t a con, but to some people being in a half with a total of 129 people may not excite them. Easy way to fix this–sign up next year and encourage your friends to do the same!
- This is a super silly thing, and probably just the ignorance of non running volunteers, but water was in the Nuun cups and Nuun in the plain white cups sometimes. After the first accidental Nuun drinking, I just started saying what I wanted before I got to the station so I made sure I got the right thing. Not really a huge deal, though.
I enjoyed this race a lot and would do it again in a heart beat. It was well organized, relaxed and happy. That sounds weird but I really felt like the “vibe” of the race was fun! Huge thanks to every single person who volunteered and organized this race. You did a fantastic job!
Also a massive thanks to the 2:10 pacer who changed my mind about pacers! Thanks for chatting but most of all encouraging me even when I lost you before the turn around. Telling me I could still do it when you passed on the other side was exactly what I needed to hear.
Three weeks to go until Scotiabank. Who knows what will happen there, but for now I’m content to know that I will simply do my best on that day.