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!
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!
21.3KM = 13.2mi
5:32/KM = 8:54/mi
21.1KM = 13.1mi
5:34/KM = 8:58/mi
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.
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!