On Sunday, I completed my first 21.1k Half Marathon. Initially, I was going to run, but some health issues got in the way and I walked it instead.
Saturday, we dropped the kiddies of at their Nana and Papa's and headed down to the city to pick up our race kits! The Expo was small, but it was nice to see so many familiar faces and talk to some amazing friends I don't normally get to see - Martine from new Balance and Bill from Mizuno - are two that come to mind. I also got a nice pat from Sylvia Ruegger. Overall it was calming for me to see people that believed that I was going to succeed.
The alarm went off at 5:00am and we were up. Both Colin and I got the BEST nights sleep in ages, considering that we didn't have the kids. By 5:30 we were out the door and on the way to the race.
Colin found parking just north of Dundas at the bus station. It is just a two minute walk to City Hall. As we approached the race site, I started to get really nervous again. I mean, could I really do this?
Colin checked our bag, and I talked with one of my Running Room work mates (Helena) while I waited. She was also running the 1/2 so I knew there were a lot of people that I was going to know on route.
On our way to the corral, I stopped and got a much needed hug from John Stanton. He has always been so supportive of his staff and it actually calmed my nerves considerably. Then it was off to the purple corral to await the start of the race.
Colin started in the same corral as me, as we waited patiently for the gun. About two minutes before the gun, we were asked to move up, which pushed me RIGHT into the Green Corral! Colin felt good, but I really started to get nervous. But of course, I saw our friend Dave who gave us a nice shout out, and my nerves calmed AGAIN.
The gun went off and in two minutes Colin and I crossed the start line. A quick kiss from him and he was off! Just as I was rounding the first corner, I saw Diane and Jen, some walking friends from work! High fives all around and I kept going. Dave passed me about five minutes later and gave me another good luck call. It was great having these people around, since it really gave me the motivation to keep going.
The first 5k were pretty uneventful. LOTS of runners were passing and I just tried to stay out of the way. Once we hit the 6k mark, the 1/2 marathon leaders were ALREADY coming back. Records were on their way to being smashed for sure.
5-10k were the most difficult. I don't use a Garmin (GPS and I think I might be asking for one for my birthday) so I really had no idea how fast my pace was. Just before 8K I heard my name being called from the 1/2 marathoners on their way back. IT WAS COLIN. I was so happy to see him and the smile on my face stayed for the rest of the race.
At 10k another shout out from Pete and Candice, who were also on their way back. All these people telling me to keep going was so motivating. At 10k I also got my first split time. It was 1:41:16! I was so happy. But I also new I had to slow it down. At the 12.2k, my time was 2:01:56.
Once I hit the 13k I really stared to get excited. I was over half way there and I new I was going to make it. At 15k I grabbed some water and really ramped up the pace. The handful of M&M's I had helped too.
At 20k we join up with the marathoners and make our way up to the finish. The streets were lined with people cheering and screaming. Having my name on my bid certainly helps, and hearing people call out to me made me feel great.
With 150m to go, Diane and Jen were there cheering me on! More high fives all around.
With just 50m left I saw Colin. He was screaming at me to finish. All our friends were there. It was great. I crossed at 3:31:46.5. My chip time was 3:27:45.1. My pace was 10:03. My goal was to finish under 3:30. So I was really pleased. I collected my medal and headed back to the finish line to watch Marlene finish her first marathon!
Over all it was a great experience. My feet are in pretty bad shape, but I already have another 1/2 lined up and am trying to see what next year has in store!
If you made it this far, thanks for reading!