I had a BLAST today - I enjoyed every moment of the day. First off, I decided that the most important part of today is not how fast I run, but rather a celebration of the fact that I am healthy and fit enough to do a half marathon! I was amazed at how much simpler it was to pack and prepare for a running race, than a triathlon and how "un-nervous" I was feeling. in fact, I never really got nervous at all until I was actually standing in the road, waiting for the gun to sound.
There were 6800 people registered in the Half Marathon so the street was packed. Erik's 8km race started at 7:15 and by the time we parked and got to the race area, it was already 7:00 and we didn't have much time to go check our bags. I had really wanted to watch Erik set off on his run but I still had to go to the bathroom (long lines) so I wished him good luck and he headed off on his own while I got in line for the porto-potties and then took the bag back to the car. I was at my race start at 7:25, ready to run.
I stood about 20 metres back from the 2:15 pace sign. I was supposed to meet from internet friends beside the 2:30 sign but there was no such sign and the area was SO packed with people that I didn't even bother to try to find anyone.
The plan was to try to stick as close to a 10:45 mile as possible which is about a 6:40-6:45/km. I had a hard time keeping my pace that slow for the first 4 km but eventually was able to settle in once the rolling hills started. Here are my splits for the first 7km.
1 km 6:24
2 km 6:22
3 km 6:30
4 km 6:25
5 km 6:42
6 km 6:47
7 km 7:03
Around the 6 km mark, I started to get that familiar tightness in my left knee. "NO" my brain screamed, and I tried to relax and run loose and continue to use good form. "I am feeling GREAT, do NOT let my ITB tighten up right now. I haven't had a SINGLE ITB issue since Oliver, please don't let it happen now."
But tighten it did, so I quickly pulled over and did two 30 second stretches to loosen it up, and got back on the road. It felt better. I ran for a little while and then it began to tighten again. I tried to switching up my pace, lifting my heels up a little more, trying not to land too hard etc etc. But no - it was getting painful and starting to lock up. I kept on running but I was starting to slow down a little. Over the next 7 km, I had to stop and stretch my ITB about 5-6 times, each time losing about a minute of time. When I ran, I was able to keep a good pace but overall, I was slowing down. Several times, my knee locked to the point that I had sharp stabbing pain and/or it would buckle when I put weight on it. For awhile I opted to do a Terry Fox kind of hop thing and put a lot of weight on my right leg so I could swing my left leg without bending it very much and take the pressure off my knee. However, I could only do that for awhile before my right quad started to cramp up with all the extra work it was doing. Argh.... Here are my splits for the next 7 km
8 km 6:42
9 km 6:54
10 km 7:32
11 km 7:11
12 km 6:54
13 km 7:57
14 km 6:51
You can easily see the places where I stopped to stretch. Luckily, because I had gone out a little fast for my first 4 km, my overall avg pace was still around 6:50 which wasn't too far off my goal.
Then suddenly, around the 15th km, my knee finally settled down and let me run. I worked hard at my form and staying loose, and I don't know if it just went numb by that time or what, but I was happy. I started running a little faster, knowing that I wasn't far from meeting up with Carlos at the 4km and finishing up.
15 km 6:44
16 km 6:40
17 km 6:55 (one last stretch after a hill)
18 km 6:40
19 km 6:19 (kicked it up now)
20 km 6:16
21.2 km 6:01
By the last 3 km, I was feeling great and felt like I could really push to the end. Don't get me wrong, my knee still hurt and both hips are stiff and sore, but this was pain I could live with. I was SO happy that I could have enough in the engine to run hard at the end, I was grinning as I crossed the finish line, and other than my stupid knee, I felt like I could have run a marathon today. It was great to see Erik there at the finish, huge smile on his face! He had good news for his race too.
Thanks to everyone for all your good wishes and support through my running struggles. I loved this race SO much today. It felt so much less stressful than doing a tri - maybe I should change my name to Kelownagurl Runs? lol, just kidding...
In the meantime, here's some video that Carlos, the Jackal, recorded when he ran with me today. Thanks Carlos!!
So - my overall time was only about 2 minutes slower than my goal and I figure if I hadn't had to stop to stretch, I could easily have come in 2:15. Next time. :)
After the race, they gave me a plastic sheet to wrap around my shoulders and I got in line for the food. After a few minutes, I realized it would be a long time before I would reach the tables, so I decided to by pass and go meet up with Erik and Carlos. We took a few pictures and I started to get chilled. I was shivering uncontrollably and needed to get some food and into a warm bath so Carlos headed home and we walked back to the car. We stopped at Starbucks to get a coffee and I bought a snack and then we headed back to the B&B. My legs were really starting to stiffen up by the time we got back and I could barely get up the stairs to our room. I iced my knee for a little while and then had a hot epsom salts bath and ate some crackers and cheese. Later, we went out for a walk and wandered over to the Penny Farthing Pub in Oak Bay where we sat drinking beer and wine with a few internet friends for the next few hours.
I was high on endorphins for the rest of the day for sure! I LOVED this race. LOVED it! I can't imagine how cool it must be to actually run a race without having some sort of injury issue - it must be awesome and I can't wait until my next one. :)
Other stats and gear:
Temp: 13C 55F
Weather: mostly overcast, strong headwind along the water on the last 5 km.
* Sugoi Fizz tank
* Long sleeved tech shirt (Yellow Club Fat Ass shirt ;)
* Tri shorts
* Newton Motion Performance Trainer
* Sugoi Zap vest that I took off and rolled up onto my pack after the first 3 k
* Oliver Half Iron running cap
* North Face Women's Hydration Pack with 2 litres of water, 3 scoops of Carbo Pro (336 cals),
and 3 Citrus Nuun tablets.
Gun time: 2:27:53
Chip time: 2:24:04
I was 208/384 women in my age group.
Goal time: 42:00 minutes
Race time: 42:08!
11/53 in his age group which I think is AWESOME!!