Sunday started out for me with a 5am wakeup call. Well actually it started when I woke up at 1am and 3am and mentally did the math for how much more sleep I was going to get. I guess my mind must have been racing (no pun intended) because I just couldn't sleep soundly but in an effort to stay positive I thought about how good it was that I could still sleep for 4 or 2 more hours rather then only get to sleep for that much time. As I have mentioned before, a postive mindset was key for me going into this event.
Once I was up I felt somewhat sluggish and not at all like I wanted to feel (ie: pumped!). I milled about for almost half an hour, forcing myself to choke down some toast with peanut butter. I had built this day up and was so terrified that I might fail that I contemplated staying home to avoid it. Not the place I wanted to be in my head at all!
As I got out the door at almost 6:15 (nearly 15 minutes later then planned....crap, crap, crap) I realized that I was obviously frazzled. I hadn't drank an ounce of liquid yet or brought water with me and I'd forgotten my camera. This was after almost forgetting both my race chip and my bib. Geez Samantha get it together already!
Luckily all that changed when I got to the race site. The Boyfriend dropped me off so he could head over to the 10k point to see me and I was on my way to find Cynthia when it hit me: I was really and truly about to run a1/2 marathon. And it didn't matter how fast I was going to do it or if I had to walk for most of the freakin' thing because I was there. Every where I looked there were runners, all gearing up for the very same thing and it just felt so inspiring to be in the company of so many of these people. I even saw a few of the Elites warming up and I just knew that no matter what this was going to be an experience that I could hold on to for the rest of my life.
Cynthia and I found our corral (ok, we snuck into the one ahead of ours but we wanted to be near the 2:15 pace bunny) and chatted as we awaited the gun. With no pressure or expectations I was just ready to run for the sake of running. And that felt great!
The race started and we found our pace and for the first time ever I noticed that the kilometres were just ticking by. When Cynthia tapped me to point out the 5k sign my jaw dropped. I felt like we'd just started and already we were at 5? This was going to be a gooooood run for me!!
Watching the other runners and just taking in the experience really helped my mindset and even though I was moving a little slower then usual I knew I was at the right pace for the distance. Everything just felt really in-sync and I didn't need to force positivity because I just genuinely felt that optimistic.
Around the 7k mark Cynthia tapped me to point out that the Elites were already on their way back. As I watched them run in a pack formation with such speed and determination I was in awe. The athleticism and talent is absolutely unbelievable. And because I was feeling so good I began to cheer them on. How could I not show my appreciation for these guys??
The race continued and I knew I was approaching the point that I would be seeing the Boyfriend and was just thinking about how I couldn't wait to give him a thumbs up. I wasn't counting down or dreading the next stretch of the run which I did do in the 10 Miler in July. I was just grateful for something so upbeat to look forward to.
I saw him at around the 11k mark (long before he saw me...apparently I was lost in a sea of female runners with purple shirts!) and barely got a chance to make contact before I was gone again. Seeing him helped a lot though and I was so glad he was there even if it was so brief.
As we looped back and headed down the back half of the course I started to feel fatigue set in. I willed myself to stay strong and to ignore the pain in my foot (blister) and ankle (not sure about that one) and just focus on moving forward. It was at the 14k mark that I made myself the deal that I could now walk if necessary but that it would be at the water stations. That really helped because it broke up the remainder of the race into 2.5k increments rather then "I'm so tired and I still have 7k to go!"
Admittedly I did slip into a little negativity when I lost the pace bunny at around the 18k mark but I tried hard to shake it off and just think about finishing. I was really tired and the thought of 3 more kilometres was weighing on me. I started to doubt that I could do it until I reminded myself that I had already run 18 and 3 more was totally do-able. I was exhausted and sore but I was gonna finish this gosh darn race!!
At the 20k mark I was filled with mixed emotion. In one sense I was so excited to see 20k and know that I had ran that far for the first time in my entire life but on another level I wa so tired that the thought of another 1000 metres seemed daunting. I was definitely ready for that race to be over. And as I ran up Bay street amongst a crowd of cheering spectators I was overcome with the emotion that I had daydreamed about so many times. I was about to finish my first ever 1/2 marathon and I was almost in tears. Crossing the finish line after a speedy sprint for the last 100m filled me with such a sense of accomplishment and relief that I had done it after months of training and hardwork!
As you can see I have not mastered the finish line smile by any means!
Now that's a bit better!
Total time (chip time): 2:16.05. With an unofficial goal of 2:15 (or at least less than 2:30) I am extremely happy with my results.
So there you have it, some of the race recap from the best race I've had to date and if I may dare say the race that convinced me to keep on running. I have more to say on that subject but you'll have to stay tuned because this lady and her stiff and achy legs need some sleep!
So tell me, what made you happy this weekend?