I was trying to be very realistic with my goals and set myself up for success, so I went into the race hoping for a time between 2 and 2:30. I really didn't know what to expect for a few reasons:
- I didn't train nearly as much as I would have normally. Most weeks I ran twice, once on Tuesdays with the Tech Shop running group, and a weekend long run. Sometimes I got another run or two in, but not every week.
- I did ALL my long runs while pushing Zoey in the stroller. It is much harder to run with her, thus my times were quite a bit slower than I was used to. As the weeks went on, I decided this could work to my advantage mentally and physically. (If I pushed her for long runs, my race would feel easier running without her; if I did a long run without her and it royally sucked, I would be mentally dreading the race.)
- In the past two weeks, I ran the Mother's day race, and then one more 2.5 km run. That's it
- My longest long run was 16 km.
Sunday morning rolled in and I was jittery, but not as nervous as I normally am for races because I had a little less pressure on me. I knew that I just wanted to finish with a smile and not hate running while I was racing. I am happy to say I didn't hate it, and it actually went by "quicker" than any other half I've done. Maybe it was because I was very familiar with the areas I was running, or that I knew no one had any real expectations so I was free to just run.
|Waiting to start!|
I LOVED the start, since we were in the Stampede grounds, (a nice, wide area) so I actually didn't dodge around people at all. I also may have actually for once started in the appropriate "pace" spot for me, so I didn't waste any energy running in and out of people. I wore my arm warmers over my garmin because I expected to take them off during the race and didn't want to have to fiddle around with taking it off, and then try to put it on again, so as I was running, I couldn't see the screen. (I ended up keeping them on the whole race... It was chilly!) As the first few kms went by, I decided I wouldn't look at it until 10 km. I was running at a comfortable pace, and I didn't want to let any times mess with my head. At 10 km, I'd look, see where I was at, and decide to push it or just survive at that point. I ran all 10 & 1's (with the exception of the first "one" which I skipped) so I just listened for my beeps, took my walk breaks, and ran happily to 10 km. When I got there, I was happy to see my garmin said 58:something. I thought "oh, ok, I'm not totally out of it", but I also knew that I had run 10 km lots and lots during my training, and the second half would be harder for me. I decided to "survive" for the next 5, see how I felt and go re-evaluate from there.
About 1 km later, my right hip started hurting. I don't know exactly where the pain was, but it seemed like it was in the joint where my leg stops and my hip begins. Running hurt. I wasn't super pleased. At every walk break, I tried to take big steps, lunged a little, and was so thankful to see an aid station (I walk for a few seconds at each aid station so that I can sip without choking). (Side note: I felt very pleased with myself that I thought to take my gu out of my belt early so that when I saw the aid station up ahead, I could choke it down while running and then get the water to sip it down and I wouldn't waste any extra time. I don't think I've ever remembered to do that.) I couldn't physically run up any hills at that point due to my hip, so I was thankful there was only one little one that I had to walk up. I wasn't the happiest, but I remembered that I was supposed to be smiling so I plastered one on my face and kept going. My saving grace was that running faster didn't make my hip hurt any less, so I tried my hardest to keep up my pace. Each walk break gave me a little respite and my hip would just gradually start to hurt as I ran, so I only REALLY suffered that last few minutes of every interval. As the kms kept ticking by, I got excited thinking about the finish and seeing Matt and Zoey. My mum rode her bike along the back side of the Stampede grounds so I saw her at 20 km. I waved up to her and she cheered. I told her I was in a little pain and she just laughed and rode over to the finish.
As I ran into the grandstand I picked up my pace, thinking that the faster I ran in, the faster I could STOP RUNNING, and I was pissed when a lady cut me off running around the last corner walked. I then turned my head to see Matt getting his phone out of his pocked and yelled "HEY!" and he looked up and was visibly surprised to see me! Zoey was fast asleep in the ergo and I think he yelled something. I booked it to the finish and stopped my garmin right on the finish line. It said 2:06:16.
I got a medal, which was HEAVY, and wandered into the clusterf&%$ that was the grandstand. Why oh why would they pile all the finish line food and festivities INSIDE when the Stampede Grounds is literally parking lot?!?!?! It was so chaotic and it took me a good 20 minutes to get water, a banana and walk out front to meet Matt, Zoey and my mum. At that point, the winner of the Marathon was crossing the line, and I think he got the fastest time ever for a Calgary race! Good for him! (Another side note: I saw the guy who won my 70.3 running this race, though I don't know if it was a half or the full. He has long dreads so it's easy to recognize him.)
So all in all I am very happy with this race. My lack of training took it's physical toll, but it felt good to know I had enough cardio to get me through and I do believe had my hip not gotten angry, I had a few more minutes to shave off. It felt great to know that 7.5 months after having Zoey I could still manage a pretty good time (for me) and that my running life didn't end after having a baby. This was my 6th half marathon, and I do believe my 3rd best time. (7th if you count the 70.3, but I don't really.)
Probably my favourite part of the day, other than finishing my own strong race was seeing Kaitlin finish her marathon. I was tearing up while we were waiting for her to round the corner, and when we saw her I couldn't contain my excitement. I screamed and yelled and cried. It was amazing. She has worked very hard and she wasn't really sure what to expect. She ran in around 4:44 I believe (actually it was 4:41!), with her goal being 4:30-5:30, so she was super pleased. She felt great, and we are so proud of her!
So another race is under my belt, and more to come. I just have to decide which ones!