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Milton, Ontario, Canada

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Milton Half Marathon Race Report

My Town.

My Race.

My Way.

That was the goal for today, the second edition of the  Milton Half Marathon.

Things went well; they could have gone worst, but the most definitely could have gone better. At the end of the day, I'm happy with the way I ran this race and know what I need to work on for the Scotia Half Marathon.

I met up with a lot of wonderful people right at the start, including Roxane, AlanRobin, Phil, and Bela, all of whom were racing. Peter came to watch and cheer for us. We milled around, used the washrooms and lined up. I said Hi to the 1:50 pacer, who I wanted to start with and then the gun went and we were off. I was feeling great!

KM1-7. What is with that right calf!

I started off strong, slightly in front of the 1:50 pacer. I was fine with that. I wanted to run this race alone and just be by myself. I knew there would be effort required from me and I didn't want to waste anything talking or chatting. In the first few KM, I let the 1:40 and 1:45 pacers put some distance between me and let Phil and his friend James edge in front of me too. Like I said, I wanted an insular run. Things were okay, but my right calf was super tight. I had the same feeling in the first 8k of the Mississauga Marathon and the calf finally loosed up with a gel. I remembered that, but I had only brought one gel with me and didn't want to take it so early. I was also running without any fluid at all; the day was cool (about 10c or 50f) and I knew I could rely on the water stations. At the 4k mark, I took a glass of Gatorade and it did NOT sit well with my stomach at all. No worries, just keep on keeping on and then we were making the turn at 7k onto Louis St. Laurent.

5:12-5:09-5:02-5:10-5:03-5:16-5:15, Total: 36:07, Pace band (1:49:00): 36:09

KM8-14. Headwind. Family. Headwind.

I pretty much don't need to write anymore about this split. LOL. We hit Louis St. Laurent and hit the headwind. I knew it was coming because I run this street all the time, but it still took a lot out of me. By this time, I had a group of ladies I was following (Conner's Runner, 2012 ATB shirt, Annoyingly bouncy braid-pony-tail) and we were pacing very well off of each other. Just after 9k, I told them all to stay on the sidewalk once they crossed over Thompson as there was bad gravel on the multi-use path and we all did. I didn't see one person falter despite the less then ideal conditions of the path and we continued on. Into the wind. 

The 10k water station was right where it was supposed to be (and I knew it would be because I drove by it on my way to the race start) and so I dug out my gel and ate it. I realized at this point that my calf had given up its protesting. Likely because my stomach had taken over. My stomach obviously did not get the memo that we used the washroom already this morning. Still, because I was racing at a hard effort, despite the risk of a port-a-potty visit or worst, I downed the gel and headed onward to where my family would be at 12k.

I turned down Farmstead and knew that this was it! The best part of the race. Before long, I saw my cluster of peeps with the signs I had made and was shocked to see my friend Jenn and her son. I grabbed hugs from the boys and headed on the way. Jenn yelled after me: "How are you feeling?" I responded with eloquence I'm known for: "UGG"
My dad made the green sign as a surprise.
This is my 30th race and the first my folks have attended.
Back on down the road and I could feel my adrenaline leaving me in droves. It wasn't a good feeling! I decided to walk through the next water station to shake it off and starting running strong again. Take that headwind! We're done with you. To which Mother-Nature said, "Oh ya?!" and put her hands on her hips and blew and blew. 

5:11-5:11-5:11-5:25 (stop for hugs from the kids!)-5:19-5:27 (walk with water)-5:06, split: 36:50, total: 1:12:57, pace band: 1:12:19

KM15-21.1. Countdown and God Bless all the Pacers, Everywhere!

So I'm away now and realize that, Holy Crap, I'm at 15k! I had been spending so much time just putting in the miles until I saw my peeps and then just running through the stomach UGGS that I didn't realize how much of the race was actually left. This is good! I get up the hill on Laurier and I know the route like the back of my hand. Right around here, John, the 1:50 pacer finally catches me. I knew he would and I didn't mind. Less thinking for me now. Just stay with him and still get a PB. Maybe even pull out a 1:49:xx. I tell him as much and he's all for it. He only has one person with him so I'm sure he's happy to pick me up. I know the DM peeps are going to be at 16.5k when we cross over Thompson and I see them as Phil runs by because he's slightly ahead of me now. They are cheering like crazy. And taking photos!

Hey girls! I feel like crap, but I'm still gonna #runnerd for you!
Okay, past these ladies, on to 17k and only 4k left. I actually say to myself, "You wouldn't even get DRESSED to run 4k. Let's go!" Thank goodness for John the pacer. I just have to stick with him and I'm all good. I walk through the water station because I just have to, but I keep him in my sights and see him glance back every so often, least he's lost me. I catch him up again on the back half of the Tupper loop (in the headwind) and we run on. Then, we're crossing Thompson again and the DM gals have crossed the road:

Despite everything (and my stomach is KILLING me at this point),

So. Over the road and the turn onto Coxe. "Coxe. Childs. Thompson. Underpass. End." John's impressed and I manage to tell him I've run the route the past two weekends. He speeds up just a bit around 19k as the other guy starts to leave him, but once the other guy is well on his way, he slows to catch me again. John. My angel. He's chatting away and encouraging me and I'm kinda listening and kinda not and trying not to fart least the Worst. Thing. Ever. happens and I crap my pants. I see the 20k sign and move over to hit it. I think John likes me. "That's it. 1k left. You've got this."

We turn onto Thompson and I KNOW that the underpass is there. I put all kinds of effort into getting down with speed to help me climb it again. I see Phil in front of me and I know I'm going to catch him on the upside of the hill. I shout out to him and John's excited because he's picked up a few people now. I make the turn onto Main street and see the cheering section including a kid with a 400m sign. Oh my God, that finish might as well be 20k away. I have no kick, but I do have John. John telling me that I've got it. To go for it. To finish strong. So I put everything I have into the last 100m and cross the line with a nice PB.

5:22-5:11-5:21-5:04-5:12-5:09-4:51-1:25 (300m per Garmin, 4:42/km pace), split: 36:10 for 7k, 37:35 for 7.3k, total: 1:50:32, paceband: 1:49:00.

Gun: 1:50:40
Chip: 1:50:30 <---1:24 div="" pb="">
30/116 Females
9/34 F35-39


I cross the line and just kinda stop dead and put my hands on my knees. Someone on the sidelines actually asks me if I'm okay. Instead of truthfully telling them that I'm just trying not to crap my pants, I say I'm fine. I get my medal and a volunteer asks if I want a recovery bar, "Ya think?" I ask and we both laugh. I see Phil, his friend James and we talk about the race. We cheer in Alan and I chat with him for a while too. My stomach is not doing well though. I find John and try to let him know that I only held on because of him and he wishes me luck for the rest of the Fall. Peter finds us to say good job and so does Robin and we find Bela together. I really want to stay to see Roxane finish but my stomach just has other ideas so I pack it in and head it home. I DO see Roxane coming up the final hill to the end after the underpass and honk at her like a crazy person and yell out the window to her. I come home and find this note in my bathroom (which I rush to) and I know that despite not meeting my goal, nothing else matters except for this note:

Another race done and done as well as I could. I'm happy. Next up is the County Half Marathon on October 6th which will be a training run, the last push before the big show on October 20th. I'm excited to see how much I can improve between now and then.

I will leave you with my favorite ever running quote:

Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it.
Oprah Winfrey 


  1. Nicely done Nicole! Even with the stomach upset. Nice to run a local race. Your photos great as usual!

  2. Is that a new record for time from race to race report? Because that is awesome :) Great race, congrats on the PB, and also a great job showing us all how to do race photos the right way :) (and I am cracking up at the pacer's expression in that one photo).

  3. As always, a really well-written race report, and a delight to read. I have to agree with you about the annoyingly bouncy ponytail thing - I was plagued by a few of those too. And I'm sorry about your stomach (OK, not really your stomach) issues. Sometime, I'll try to convert you to my eating program. But not now - right now, you deserve to bask in a well-deserved victory.


  4. Soooo what you're saying is I should run races with my hair in a bun rather than the ponytail that looks awesome in photos? LOL Amazing effort today Nicole! I hope that Oakville is half as good to me and I still say we should take some colon cleanse before Scotia! LOL Love the pics! Love the note even more. :o)

  5. I'm so glad that you went for that PB! I think it's a great confidence booster and gives you an idea of how far or close you are from your ultimate goal. When I got my super PB at the 1/2 I carried my drinks to remove all risks. Something you may want to consider as you may not want to stop!

  6. Sam, we NEED to get Nicole on the simple hydration bottle already! Make her carry one the next time you run together!

    1. I will not penis bottle. I have a hand-held, thank-you-very-much.

  7. Aww, I love the #1 mom and that your parents came to watch you race for the first time!!

    Congratulations on the PR!!!

  8. 30th race! Wow, congrats and a great race report!

  9. Hi Nicole! This is John...your angel lol. Once again, huge congratulations for being able to dig deep on the final stretch and having such a strong finish! You rocked it!!

    I noticed your Garmin has a distance reading of 21.3 km's and a time of 1:50:31 (1:50:30 chip time). This puts you 200m over the half marathon distance of 21.1km. At the average pace you were running, it was taking roughly 31 seconds for each 100m. So, your true half marathon (distance) time would have been around 1:49:29! You are now able to run a sub 1:50 half marathon distance!!

    Because you're using the County Half Marathon as a training run, try and focus on following the tangent lines as much as possible in order to keep the distance at, or closer to, 21.1km. Good luck at the Scotiabank Half!

    1. John! Thanks for commenting and taking the time to read. I really only held on because of you. Having you catch me was the Best. Thing. Ever. Because I didn't have to look at my watch ever again, I just had to stay with you (Obvs, I knew you were locked in on pace by that point). Funny about hugging the tangents - I tried this time much more than usual to do so because, as I said, I know the route really well. I think the County Half is pretty much a straight line, but I will try to do the same there and at Scotia. You are a rare gem - a great pacer and encourager. Congrats on doing an amazing job and thank you so much for helping me to the end! I hope to be able to do the same for people the next time I pace a race. Good luck with your future running/fitness plans.

    2. Thank you so much for the kind words. I know how much of a physical/mental battle the last stretch of any race can be so I was extremely happy you were able to hang on and overcome/block any of those negative feelings.

      Wishing you a future of PB's! All the best!

  10. Very inspiring as always Nicole. What do you mean you didn't meet your goal? "Don't crap your pants" is always on that list, and it seems you passed!


  11. Congrats on not pooping yourself!


Thanks for joining in the conversation!