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Milton, Ontario, Canada

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Chilly Half Marathon Race Report

This race was one of my favorites last year and brought me my half marathon PB of 1:57:10. I was hoping that I'd finally crack the 1:55:00 time in this race and figured that the course would be my best bet to do so.

Pre Race

Well, I had decided to take both Friday and Saturday off running in order to ensure that I was as rested as could be before the race, while still sticking the plan of marathon training. It meant that I ran six days prior to Friday, including a 26k run, but I was okay with that. I had to go into work on Friday for an important meeting so I couldn't even spend the day lounging around the house in sweat pants (the humanity!). Unfortunately my husband and I also had to head to his home town on Friday evening as a friend of his had passed away suddenly and we met up with friends for a remembrance dinner. With everything going on I ended up with 4 hours of sleep on Friday night. 

Saturday was typical with lessons and hockey. I picked up my race kit with Fergus who charmed everyone at the expo except for the dude handing out pace bands (grump). We came home, hosted my best high school friend and her family for lunch and the afternoon (and showed off our new place) before we settled in for a pasta dinner and relaxation. The Leafs weren't playing so I went to bed around 9:30. Oh, I forgot to mention. I was having trouble with the washroom and not to the good. It was feeling like Niagara Falls all over again. I decided I would drink a coffee in the morning and hope for the best.

I got up at 0630, had a shower, had breakfast of toast with peanut butter along with that small coffee and apple juice. That did the trick. Praise the heavens. One last photo opp and I was ready to go and meet my DailyMile friends

KM 1-7. This guy is the best pacer. Ever.

The meet up went off without a hitch and soon, we were heading down to the start. We left Patty, the 2:15 pacer and found Andrew the 1:55 pacer. SamPhil and I lined up together and just before the start, I told Sam (who was aiming for a 1:52 PB): You'll know right away at the end when you see me cross. You'll be able to tell by my face if I've got it. Or maybe I'll be with you. HA-HA. Just remember that. The gun went and so did we. The crowds were crazy. I was in constant fear of being elbowed in the face by a giant in front of me. Our pacer, Andrew was shorter so I kept an eye on him and an eye on those elbows through the out and back behind Joseph Brant and just kept running along. The pace felt easy and fine. The fear of black eyes and bloody noses was more pressing.
5:25-5:26-5:27-5:30-5:26-5:15-5:20 total: 37:49, pace band: 38:09

KM 8-14. It is feeling easy. I guess I'm going.

At 8k, I tapped Andrew on the shoulder and told him: This is my seventh half and my third time trying for this time. You're the best pacer I've ever run with. Thank you. He was appreciative and told me that now was the time to settle in and enjoy the run. He said to control any racing heart rate by keeping calm and focusing on the monotony of this part of the race.  It is good advice really. I totally zoned out and was able to forget all about running as I watched the leaders coming back toward me. I spent so much time looking for Peter that I was hitting the 13k turn around before I knew it. I was ahead of pace and ahead of the pacer. I decided to start to speed up a little with only 8k to go. I was feeling so wonderful that I knew I'd get the 1:55:00 (thank you poo gods!); it was time to try to better that.
5:28-5:20-5:23 (GU)-5:23-5:12-5:23-5:16 split: 37:25, total: 1:15:14, pace band: 1:16:18

KM 15-21.1. A Vision in Pink.

When I made the decision to surge ahead I had no plan really. I figured I'd just run and not check my watch at all. This got through the 15th KM and then I saw something familiar. A small pink runner. Sam. For the first time, I realized that a 1:52 finish was within my grasp (I had no doubts about what she'd do in this race). As the crowds around her cleared, I realized that she was still running with Phil (they had left the 1:55 group in the dust early in the race) and I decided to try to catch them, but to not kill myself in the process. Slowly, slowly I began gaining on them. When we passed the 16k marker, I yelled out: That's it! 10 mile run, 5k race. Here. We Go. By the reaction of the runners around me (including MR. TallOrangePants), I was the only one feeling quite that good. I was still gaining on Phil and Sam and I actually thought to myself, She's like a vision in pink. At just about 18k, I put a spring in my step and caught them, tapping Sam on the shoulder and telling her: Okay guys, pull me in! Can't talk. Too fast. Can't slow down. Just chased you from 16k. I think this put a spring in Sam's step because she kept running right along, but Phil decided to stay back and give the glory to the ladies. When we hit 19k, I told Sam that she had her 1:52 easy, she just had to run two 5:25ish KMs. I told her to get going and not wait for me as I had my PB for sure. She got going. I didn't let her get too far ahead though. At 20k, I SMASHED the sign, I was so freaking happy about this race. I was beaming. I saw my old running room manager walking back along the course and yelled "Hi" to him. He asked how my day was going and I screamed, I'm getting a f&$king PB today! I had looked at my watch and realized that I was within range for the 1:52 as well. I was having a pure adrenalin rush and for once, I totally gave into it and sprinted up the hill on Brant to the end, nailing a time I hadn't even dreamed of:

5:20-5:12-5:16-5:03-4:57-5:05-4:56-0:56 (pace 4:50) split: 36:45,  total: 1:51:59, pace band: 1:55:00

Gun: 1:53:46
Chip: 1:51:54
Place: 904/2833
F35-39: 45/212


After the race, I caught Sam right away who had finished a few seconds ahead of me and Phil who had finished a few seconds behind me. As we were getting water and medals, we saw Peter hanging out to cheer for friends. We chatted, got food and cheered other friends in to their finishes. It was a good mix of PB's, excellent training runs and pacing gigs gone well. We headed to the Queens Head with Peter for our free chili and beer before making the long, cold 1k walk/run back to the cars.

And now? Well, of course I've plugged the results into McMillan. I have lots of time to make a final decision, but this race has likely set up some more aggressive goals for the Mississauga Marathon. For now? Now I just bask in the glory of the AMAZING race executed to perfection.


  1. oh my gosh. CONGRATS!! I'd be bragging about this all day if I were you!!
    Enjoooy :D
    The race pics of you are absolutely amazing! and look at your ranking results too!

    I haven't raced too much, but for the next half, I'm definitely going to try and hang with a pace group!

  2. That's a fantastic race report and result! Huge congratulations! I especially love your smile as you were heading to the end!

  3. Congratulations again, knew you could do it! So glad you had a great race (and great race photos to remember it). Woo hoo.... Next stop, ATB!

  4. Awesome awesome job...CONGRATS!

  5. Yay! I knew you would do it! Congrats.

  6. It's so great that you smashed your previous PB! I did see you once I was coming back from the turn around but was already past before I could say anything. Your pace really ramped up near the end so you really, REALLY wanted to beat 1:55. Congrats again! See you at Around the Bay

  7. wow! huge PR! i am in awe :) way to run smart and strong! all that training certainly paid off.


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