Late race report

The race report might be late, but I’m still feeling the last couple weeks in my legs!

Mike, the Exceeding Expectations group, and I did the Highland half marathon January 25th. With the run focus these last couple months (ok it was done mainly because I love running) I was eager to see how I could do. My current best half marathon time was a 1:55:59 in the Muskoka 70.3 – a hard, hilly course in the rain. So I did have hopes for this race. Until I woke up. You know that explody-head feeling, complete with stuffy nose? Where it is enough that you feel like staying in bed would be nice, but not enough that you feel justified in doing so? Ugg. I’ve been battling a bit of a cold or something for a while now, and it was defintely present that morning.

Hearing how I was feeling, Mike asked me if I thought I should do the 10k. “Yes,” I answered. “But I’m not going to.” I am a bit stubborn, after all… and I am a fan of the snot rocket so it should be ok. Just maybe not the super day I had hoped for. We got up, dressed, and headed to the race. Helped some kids get ready, chatted with some of my also-racing coworkers, and soon were on the line. And it was time to go.

The first turn, and it was uphill. I knew the course was hilly, having biked parts of it many times. But I really felt the difference in the hills on foot as compared to on the bike. Check out the elevation:

race elevation profile

So it was up and some little downs, and then a really steep downhill just to make sure your quads were feeling the first 2 miles. And then the steady climb that lasted forever. And now I know why on a bike that section is so speedy 😉 About mile 5 I caught up to Miguel (one of the EE kids). Damn it, he is supposed to be fast. But made a stupid shoe choice, and although I ran much of the middle with him, I did tell him that it better be the LAST TIME I can catch up to him. And yes, after the race we did get better shoes onto his feet (and over the blisters his Chuck Taylors had caused).

I was definitely feeling the course already, but my stupid brain believed me each time I said it was only another 8 miles, only 7, etc. A steep uphill to the turn around (I’d never looked at that road that direction – it was worse than I was ready for). I counted women after the turn, and it looked like I was in 5th! Awesome. Now to hold on… and the downhill began. Balancing how nice it was to not climb with what I could actually sustain. Miguel and I did some back and forth for a couple miles, but in the end his blisters won around mile 11 and I didn’t see him again til the end. Also around mile 11 I saw Josh (another EE’er) pull to the side of the road — I asked if he was ok, but didn’t stop. He was at a controlled intersection, and I knew there were people to take care of him. Honesetly, I did question this in my head, but figured it would be what EE would agree with. And later I did check, and it was the case.

A couple guys went by me on the downhill, and I passed a couple of them. I didn’t see any women though, and soon I focus on the end. Only that last little bit to go, and yup, you can see it above, a turn for some more climbing. Heading up my legs were ready to be done, but my watch was telling me I was close to a sub-1:50! So I had to go for it. Damian, one of the EE kids that did the 10k and who I joke around with, stepped out in front of me in the road and went to my side as I came to the turn for the finish line. “If you get in my way I will punch you in the face” (or something along those lines) was my reaction. I was close to my goal, and it was all I could do to keep going, and it was not the time for joking around. I got to the line, and crossed at 1:48:44. Aweome… sub-1:50 and a bit!

I was wobbly, but pleased. Mike found me, and it turns out Damian had just wanted to run in with me. So I felt bad, and made sure I let him know later why I’d said it. He knew I hadn’t meant it in a mean way, but also understood when I said I was going for a PR and didn’t want to just barely miss it. So we are cool 😉 Writing this though I realize how much I was reaching for that PR, and I am a bit ashamed. Yes, I didn’t need to stop for Josh (as I confirmed later), and Miguel made it home shortly after me, and I said what I did to Damian in a joking manner. But it is just a time, and no feelings are worth that. Sometimes tired minds don’t make clear comments/jokes, so I will watch that.

End result for me: 5th place overall woman, and 1st in my age group. Mike was 5th overall, but second in his AG — so for the first time my placing was (sorta) better than his. It is good to see all my run work paying off, even on days when I don’t feel completely on.

And the kids? Josh ended up pulling out with his leg cramp, Miguel made it home blistered, Isi puked so opted for the 10k, Marlene finally beat her mentor to the line, and many of the new kids had a successful day. And we did all have fun… at least once it was over 😉

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