I just realized that I kind of left you hanging after that pre-race post!
So first, I’m alive….clearly. And well, actually!
Race morning was COLD. I woke up at 6:30 and put on the kettle to boil. Meanwhile I drank a huge glass of water and a smoothie that I had blended up the night before. I made myself a mug of coffee (using my beautiful pour-over stand from jm&sons) and took it with me while Kaylee and I went for a walk. It was so cold out!
I wore my parka, toque and mitts and only feel like I was being sliiiiightly dramatic. There are few things I dislike more than being cold. Being hungry actually might be the only other thing that is sure to cause me as much misery.
My friend Meghan and I had plans to meet up at the starting line, and as soon as I got back inside I definitely texted her saying that it was too cold and I was going back to bed until April. Given the cold weather and my general apprehension about the race, I seriously considered not doing it. Why the heck would I want to go (maybe) run for 13.1 miles when it was zero degrees out?!
Sigh. Because I’m stubborn. Right.
By this point it was about 7:30. I drank some more water, did a few sun salutations and dynamic stretches, foam rolled my IT bands and hamstrings and used a lacrosse ball to roll out my feet. Then it was time to head out. I made a piece of peanut butter toast (my pre-race ritual!) and headed out the door around 8. I was walking over to the starting line, and gun time was 8:45.
It was COLD waiting around. I had worn a throw away hoodie and toque and was still freezing. Thankfully the huge crowd made for a bit of extra body heat! More than 25,000 people were registered to run this year! Since I was in one of the mid-time corrals, it took an extra 13 minutes after the gun to cross the start line. And then just before 9am we were off!
I spent the first few miles just waiting for the crowd to thin out, trying not to get frustrated (like I always do) with the sheer volume of people. Around 5km, everyone had pretty much settled into their pace and I was starting to get hot! I ditched my sweater and toque at the first water station, which I always walk through anyway. I was surprised at how good my foot was feeling, and had to hold myself back from picking up the pace. I was purposely staying right around 9:15/mile which felt slow but again, I hadn’t run anything longer than 10km in two whole years and didn’t want to push it.
Around 10km, I could feel my calves starting to get really tight. After the 12km water station I kept walking for a couple minutes, then completely stopped to do some stretching. Getting my legs moving again after that was tough, but they felt so much better. For about 2km. I could feel the tightness in my right calf starting to pull on my knee and started to get nervous that this would be another “limp to the finish line in tears” race (yes, that’s happened before). So more stretching, more walking. I told myself that I would do this every 2km until the end of the race. At 18km during one of my walking stints, I was having a really hard time talking myself into running again. I knew I wouldn’t finish in under 2:00, which had kind of secretly been my wish, and thought that just maybe I’d walk to the end since we were going to be waiting for my friend who was doing the full marathon anyway. Then I saw Meghan run past me, and it lit a fire under my ass. If she was still going (doing her first half, btw!) then so could I!
I ended up crossing at 2:05:57 and was so proud of myself for pushing through when it got so tough mentally. Having Meghan on the course really helped too!
Meg’s boyfriend was waiting at the finish line for us with warm sweaters and some celebratory champagne!
Post-race we went for a well-deserved brunch and spent the rest of the day being rather lazy. My poor calves were sore for almost a full week after, but I’m happy to report that the bit of pain in my knee disappeared after a day and that my foot feels great! And of course we’re already talking about signing up for the spring…..