On June 25th we headed to Oro-Medonte to race the MEC Barrie Half Marathon. I originally hoped to target a 1:45, but re-adjusted after seeing the (hot, hot, hot) forecast. I ended up going to the race with an “A” goal of 1:50, realizing it was probably a stretch. At the very least, I hoped to beat my Chilly Half time of 1:55:23.
It was already warm and sunny by the 8am start on the old rail trail. It was a flat out-and-back route (my favourite!) on a crushed gravel path with a few road crossings that were marshaled, though open to traffic.
There were only 65 people running the half (5K and 10K started later) and we spread out quickly, so it was pretty lonely on the course. Even so, I kept finding myself stuck behind a guy running with a stroller which was slightly annoying only because he was making it look too easy.
I knew I wanted to keep a very controlled effort from the start and just ride it out for a few kilometres to see how it felt. I seemed to be hitting paces on target for ~1:50 but it was taking a bit more effort than I would have liked. That being said, sometimes it takes a while longer to settle in, so I kept plugging along.
KM 1 – 5: 5:17, 5:19, 5:17, 5:15, 5:18
It was getting a lot warmer and harder to keep pace as I got closer to the turn-around. I started wondering if the trail might have had a slight uphill grade on the way out. I was looking out for Mark and Andy coming back in the opposite direction, hoping someone would give me a sign that it was going to be easier on the way back… they did not.
KM 6 – 10: 5:07, 5:24 (gel), 5:23, 5:23, 5:16
It felt good to be running back toward the finish after making the turn, even if it wasn’t getting any easier. It was quite hot by this point and my short 10-step walks through the water stations were getting a bit longer each time as I drank a cup and dumped another over my head. I was hot, tired, slowing and just trying to distract myself by smiling and waving at runners who were still heading for the turn-around.
KM 11 – 15: 5:30, 5:26, 5:33, 5:29 (gel), 5:46
With 5K to go, I joined the flow of 10K runners and tried to find people to chase after. I was still getting progressively slower, but at least it kept me moving forward. Finally there was a noticeable (though slight) downhill for the final 2K. I found some energy to pick it up, even passing a few people. It was a nice surprise to see Andy waiting for me in the final KM, and he jumped in with me to give me a final push toward the finish. With a few hundred metres to go, he pointed out a girl up ahead and told me to catch her. After an audible “do I have to?” moan, I tore off and passed her.
KM 16 – 21: 5:36, 5:48, 6:00, 5:55, 5:16, 4:46