As relieved as I was to be off my bike, I was less than thrilled at the thought of running a half marathon. It was mid-day, warm and sunny (though thankfully the temperature only got up to around 24C/75F) and I was tired. But, there was only one thing to do: run!
There had been some changes to the course due to construction, which meant they had to add a short out and back at the very beginning; I was glad they decided to have us do this first and not at the end!
We were running primarily on paved park paths along the canal and the route was a double out-and-back, which was great for people-watching and also helped break up the run nicely. There was also shade for the majority of the route and a light breeze in one direction, which helped keep the mid-day run more comfortable.
I chatted with people occasionally when passing and being passed. I was excited when I caught up to Geo (who had crushed the bike!) although I came up beside him and mumbled “Too tired for talking.” Apparently his presence gave me a second wind, because I proceeded to chat his ear off for a couple of minutes. So much for too tired! I eventually wished him well and had to get on my way, but looked forward to seeing him again at the turn-around. It’s amazing what a boost I get from seeing a familiar, smiling face.
My pace slowed in the second half of the run, but I was pretty sure I was still within my goal range. I had not allowed myself to pay any attention to overall time (nor had I been doing the math in my head) because I wanted to focus on one thing at a time. With 5K to go, I decided to scroll to the next screen on my Garmin for a peak. It read 4:44 and I was shocked. I couldn’t believe I was on track for a sub-5:15. It was a struggle to keep moving at this point (and I had started sneaking in a short walk break here and there), but keeping this number in the back of my mind helped me find some mojo to hold on.
With 3 or 4K to go I ended up running with a guy whom I’d been leap-frogging for most of my second loop (he was on his first). He recognized my foot steps coming up behind him and asked, “Is that Pink Tank Top again?” We ran side by side for a while and started chatting. This kept me going through a tough stretch, and prevented me from walking. I made a deal with myself that I could walk once he made the turn-around to head off for the second loop (which was around 19K for me). He slowed down for the water table shortly before so we wished each other well and I carried on… and slowed for a brief walk. Then from behind me I heard: “You’re almost there! Get going, girl!” Ha! I was busted, but it was just what I needed. No more walking – on to the finish line!
I could hear the crowds before I could see the finish, but I knew I was so close. A few hundred metres later, I spotted (and heard!) Erin and Hailey cheering like crazy and I was actually in disbelief that I was done, and that I was seeing 5:13:XX on the clock ahead. I hollered “That was so hard!” as I ran by.
21.1 KM (13.1 mi) – 1:54:16 – 5:25/KM (8:43/mi)
8/15 F30-34, 155/403 overall
Post-race reflections to follow…