Oakville Half Marathon(+) Race Report

On Monday morning we woke up to a perfect day for running: overcast with a chance of showers and around 13C/55F. It was an early start to the day as we hit the road by 4:30AM. We arrived in Oakville and made a quick stop to use the port-o-potties at the race site before finding parking just down the road. Event organizers seemed to be starting to work on final preparations as we set out for our extended “warm-up.” We decided to stick to an out-and-back along the tail end of the race course so I would have a good idea of what to expect in those final miles. (Hubs had run this race previously, while I hadn’t.) It was dark and eerily quiet as we made our way along the streets, checking out the kilometre markers and aid station tables as we went. We kept the pace nice and slow, saving our legs for the main event up next.

The sky slowly started to lighted up and we enjoyed the most spectacular red sunset over Lake Ontario; I wished I had my camera!

“Warm Up”:

We stopped by the washrooms at the start/finish area before heading back to the car for a wardrobe change. It ended up taking me a lot longer than I anticipated to get changed and organized, and we soon found ourselves scrambling to get back to the start on time. I managed to squeeze in one more quick pit stop before we lined up.

We stood together until the gun went off, and then went on our separate ways. I hoped to run as close to goal marathon pace as possible. The first several kilometres ticked by pretty easily. I was slightly fast on a few splits, but reeled it in when I needed to. I was feeling decent and mentally breaking the race into thirds.

I was carrying my handheld and didn’t need to slow down through the water stations. My plan was to take short walks with Gu at 7K and 14K.

The majority of the route was pretty boring, so I was grateful for the handful of people who had come out to cheer (including one guy dressed as a Ninja Turtle!). I started getting really bored around the half way point. I was glad to have music, but I found myself staring at my Garmin constantly.

Shortly before my second planned walk/Gu, my legs suddenly felt extremely heavy and tired. I tried to ignore it, but I wanted to walk so badly! I let myself stop and took a quick break around 13K. I didn’t feel any better once I got going again and found myself counting down to 14K when I took another walk break and swallowed my Gu. I was really not feeling it at this point and decided that I would walk through the water stations for the remainder of the race. There were two (15K and 18K) and I managed to keep running in between, though my pace had slowed.

I watched my average pace gradually slip out of the imaginary buffer zone I had in mind, but I just couldn’t pull it together. I found myself justifying it by adding the earlier mileage in my head, and constantly thinking ‘Well, I’ve actually run 31K so far this morning – I should be tired.’ That may be true, but in hindsight I realize that I had more of a mental breakdown during this section than anything else. Physically, I know I could have held on because I was able to pick it back up for the final 3K after the last aid station with my last kilometre being the fastest.

Finally, the finish was around the corner. I spotted hubs (who had finished long before me in 1:38!) and crossed those mats as fast as my legs would carry me. I was so happy to be finished!

Garmin Stats:
21.3KM = 13.2mi
5:32/KM = 8:54/mi

Official Stats:
21.1KM = 13.1mi
5:34/KM = 8:58/mi
Overall: 274/534
Women: 72/241
F25-29: 10/20

Looking back, I’m slightly disappointed and frustrated that I didn’t have the mental strength to push through this one. That being said, I still ran 35K/22mi including a respectable half marathon. If this half marathon pace turns out to be my marathon pace in October, I’d be quite happy with that.

Overall Stats:
35.3KM = 21.94mi
5:45/KM = 9:15/mi

After the race we walked down to the beach and I went straight into freeeeeezing cold Lake Ontario, running shoes and all. My legs were numb immediately and it felt great. We should have had the camera for that too!


50 thoughts on “Oakville Half Marathon(+) Race Report

  1. I think you did a great job…it's very hard to motivate when you are on really tired legs. This one will really pay off for the marathon. And I'm so jealous that you got to go get into the lake after the race–perfect recovery tool!

  2. Wow..2miles including a HM! not a bad morning!! Keeping the mind going is always so much tougher isn't it?!! Congrats on another great race!And wow…you Hubs is speedy!!

  3. Awesome half marathon +! You did great! I totally know what you are talking about with the mental breakdown – I have had that a lot and it is so hard to fight. We all have those days and races! Great job on the mileage!

  4. You got through it which is the bottom line. Nice work on pushing through!I was told that going into the water around that area will cause you to grow an extra leg. Maybe that will help next time? πŸ˜› πŸ˜› πŸ˜› ahaha jk πŸ˜›

  5. Mental breakdown or not, you still held a great pace considering you had already done ~9 miles before! Be proud that your body pushes through and meets the demands as you ask it to πŸ™‚ Congrats on another race!Definitely bring a camera next time – that lake picture would've been priceless πŸ˜‰ heh

  6. First off, I loved the cold lake bath after! After my last ultra there was a river and I got in. That is the first and closest I have ever come to an ice bath. It was amazing!Second. Will you just adopt me?Last. You are amazing and so hard on yourself! You ran an 8.7 miles (sorry can't get used to k's) BEFORE the race. Hello!? Most people run the 'extra' distance AFTER the main event. Girl, I seriously think you are super! (and Hubbs too. He did great!)

  7. Some races are just like that!! You don't have to love every one or feel elated while you're out there. I felt that way during my last half. I just didn't want to be there, running. Good for you for pushing through!!

  8. 14K warm-up??? I thought that was crazy, but actually going in Lake Ontario??? Are you insane?Way to go on getting yourself through the mental battle to a strong finish at the end of a long run!

  9. you do so many fun races! and what a good idea to turn it into your 20+ miler. those long training runs can be pretty rough, so having others running/cheering/providing support really makes a difference. Even with the mental battle, what an impressive strong long run! good work!

  10. I think the pictures are great, don't get down on yourself one little bit!!! You are training so smart and well. That is an excellent time you posted, plus you even learned you could suffer more!!!! I am excited for the days ahead for you!

  11. I think we've all had those mental break down moments and sabotaged ourselves. This is why every run/race is a lesson and helps us become better runners. You still did great, sub 2 woot!!! Not to mention after already running!!! Great job chica!!!

  12. i think you totally stayed in the game…that is an awesome pace. Congrats on a great race and a great 22 miler. i'd call that some great training!! not looking forward to mine in a couple weeks.

  13. Marlene you did great! I think it's in our nature to be tough on ourself and we all have those mental breakdowns every so often. Despite everything you were feeling and the fact you ran 22 miles that is a fantastic pace! Congrats on another race!

  14. Well done! That’s certainly not a half marathon time to be disappointed about after a 14k warmup. You did great and will be very comfortable in your marathon.

  15. Betteur to leaurn how to handle those mental demons now and not later! They get the best of us sometimes, but I know you'll use this to get strongeur. Great action shots! How come you always have 759362 race photos?

  16. That's pretty awesome. I've done warm down mileage after half marathons (like last year's Scotia when I ran into you) but before is another story.. very good pace run after the 14K

  17. I don't know how you do it… 14k warm-up + a half marathon race! you'll kick ass in the next full marathon! I think I saw your hubby (in the same yellow tank top?) for the first 3k ahead of 1:45 bunny, of course I couldn't keep up πŸ™‚ but I had a good PB race.

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