But let's start at the beginning, shall we?
I spent all Saturday hydrating and preparing for a good night's sleep (AKA- no caffeine!). I also went for a short 15 minute "shake it out" run in the early morning, which was beneficial mostly for testing my chosen race outfit as both mornings were around the freezing mark and I has no idea how to dress (I ended up going with leggings, Tshirt, and arm warmers). After my run I went to the marathon expo to get my bib and Tshirt, but mostly it was a lazy day. I watched the Jay's game with Cam and then crawled into bed to read for a bit at 9:30pm. I actually fell asleep OK, but I woke up a LOT during the night and was awake for many long periods. I guess I was just too excited!
I woke up around 7:00am before my alarm went off and got dressed, ate my usual pre-run PB bagel and drank some green tea. I was all set to go at 8:00am!
|My mug says "Hakuna Matata"|
At the start I ate a banana, took a last minute potty break, and then got ready to roll! I had moved up corrals to Yellow at the expo, which was the sub- 2:00hr group so I was off around 8:55am!
I listened to an audiobook the whole run (Jenny Lawson's Furiously Happy- I am loving it. I have a signed copy of her previous book too). I felt like I went out a little strong, but I was cold and wanted to warm up! I actually had fairly even splits every mile, which makes me pretty happy.
About 30 minutes in I saw the 2:00 hr pace bunny for the run 10, walk 1 group and I got really mad that she was ahead of me because I was running sub- 9:00 miles! So the next time they stopped to walk, I motored on by and never saw her again!! woohoo!! And get this:
I NEVER WALKED ONCE!
I ran that whole race and I couldn't be more proud!!!! I first decided to evaluate whether I needed a 1 minute walk at 30 minutes in, but I felt good (and that was around the pace bunny incident). Then I was like "Ok, let's go for 7 miles. I've run 7 miles straight before". So I did. And at 7 miles I basically thought "well, made it this far...let's see if I can run the whole thing". So I did :)
The course is actually really nice and flat, and once we got out of downtown and down to the Lakeshore it was sunny and I was warmed up and ditched my arm-warmers (volunteers collect all discarded clothing, but I wonder if anyone would like mutilated socks?).
The next part of the race passed pretty easily. I was enjoying my book, it was sunny and pleasant out, the minutes seemed to pass quickly, I liked seeing all the spectators and reading their funny motivational signs, and I was enjoying myself and feeling good about my pace, which was holding pretty steady around 8:30 minutes per mile.
With about 5km to go, I was done. I was so tired. But I knew my legs had some strength in them still so I kept on motoring. You can see my pace started to slow a little there!! I basically went into beast mode and took in nothing of my surroundings. My eye was on the prize, which was the turn up back into downtown, where we split from the marathoners.
Finally the turn came and I kept motoring. My breaths were getting pretty laboured but clearly I wasn't going to stop now. I kept my eyes peeled for my mom who was coming by GO train right around the time I was running by Union Station. Apparently she JUST saw me fly by, but I didn't see her. The sign for the last 500 meters came and I swear that 500 meters felt longer than the entire race- but I made it!! I crossed the finish line in 1:55:18!! My phone time was a little off since I started just before the start and struggled to unlock it to stop the race after I finished. I am not sure if I actually ran 13.84 miles instead of 13.1 miles- could be I did a lot of weaving, or it could be the signal got a little distorted downtown. However 1:55:18 is my official chip time! I couldn't be happier. My goal was to run it in under 2 hours, and I vaguely had 1:58 as a goal in my mind, so I am ecstatic!
I met my mom at the finish line (fun fact- we were wearing the exact same shoes), and she so nicely brought me a fuzzy warm sweater and gloves. I got so cold real fast!
We didn't stay for any of the post-race food or festivities- I wasn't hungry yet and I really wanted a hot shower (though I wasn't really sweaty- too cold out for that I guess!). We walked back to my place and after I was all cleaned up we went out for a victory brunch! And I busted out my new Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half-Marathon technical shirt! I had earned the right to wear it now!
And then I went home and took a 2 hour nap :)
All in all I had a fantastic race and I am so proud of myself for sticking to my training plan! For the record, I followed the Sub 2:30 Half Marathon training plan in the RunKeeper app, which is all free and I highly recommend. I followed it almost perfectly. Of course, I learned a few weeks in that I should have picked a faster plan (they have sub 2:15 and sub 2:00 as well), but I just ignored the suggested paces it gave it and followed the distances and whether I should run slow, steady, or fast. Clearly it all worked out for the best!!