Saturday, March 26, 2011

Race Report: Run for L'Arche Half Marathon

The day dawned like every other day this week - grey with fluffy rain falling from the sky.  When I let the dogs out, the wind that hit me felt much colder than the -6C the thermometer was saying.  But, I have run in much worse this winter and I knew it wouldn't be so bad once I was on the race course.   I'd have JS by my side and we were sure to rock this half (even if we WERE slightly undertrained for it).

I dressed in my go-to race day outfit (winter tights, lulu tank, nike long sleeve) and then threw on my black jacket (which turned out to be overkill)

I met up with her at Eau Claire around 9:15am and we hit the bathrooms a few times before heading to the start line.  J was coming out as our on-course support team and C was going to run us in from the 18K point.   With JS's hubby as our photographer - we had the best support team ever!   J was going to meet us before but at 15 mins to start time, she still hadn't arrived.  I ran to my car to check my phone and, sure enough, she had left a message telling us where to expect her.  Without her at the start line, I had to make a call on whether to wear or ditch my fuel belt...I decided to wear it (though by the second km, I realized it was MUCH too big for me and should have left it)

C showed up right before we lined up and then we were off!   The first kilometres flew under our feet.   We were running 15 and 1's and were trying our damndest to stick to the one minute walks so we could have some consistency.  While we both said that there was no real time goal for this race, having consulted the Runner's World finish time calculator with our 10K time from 2 weeks ago had us expecting to come in between 2:15 and 2:20.   Our pace was really good and we were concentrating on keeping to it and not letting it get away from us in the early stages of the race.   We hit the first water station at 5K and then pushed onward toward Edworthy Park.  By Crowchild, I was swelteringly hot and JS and I were planning how I could unpin my bib, shed my jacket, and get back together in a one minute walk break.  I ended up doing all of the shedding on the run and then just re-pinning as we walked!  I was going to be so happy to ditch the belt and the jacket when we met up with J.  As we were approaching the washrooms (I needed a pitstop) - J was there, jumping up and down on a park bench.   She jumped down and ran right out with waterbottles.  Running along with us in her winter coat and boots, we suddenly happened on an official race photog!  I think he caught all 3 of us in a shot so I can't wait to see it!

After my pitstop (fastest pee ever LOL - the washroom was completely vacant!), J headed for her car with my belt and jacket and pledged to meet us at the turnaround.   Feeling much better, I was ready to go and we hurried on our way to Shouldice Park.   As we entered the park and turned onto the gravel road, we discovered that a) it was glaringly bright from the fresh snow and b) it was super loose.  We really had to watch our footing (imagine running through sand - it was almost like that).  Luckily, we didn't have far to go

When we were coming up to the turnaround, J was there again and she had discovered my camera in my belt so took on the role of our personal race photog!

And then we hit the turnaround at about 1:08 - definitely on pace for a new Half PR for me!

I downed some shot blox and some Nuun and then we took off again.  Not long after that, I heard someone say "Great job, Cori!"  and it was Susan (a bloggy friend who had come to the city to race).  It took me a moment to place her and by then we were out of earshot (Sorry, Susan - I waited back at Eau Claire, but I didn't see you again - I'd hoped to meet in person).  Back across the blinding and loose snow - boy, were we ever happy to hit the pathway again!  Of course, by this point, the wind was blowing right into us. I'm still amazed that we maintained that pace through the wind!

Before long, we were back at Edworthy and J was there, cheering and ready with water again.   At this point, we were starting to feel a bit rubbery in the legs, but still holding strong.

J met us again as we left Edworthy and then she was gone to honk her way back to Eau Claire and the finish line.   My shot blox were not agreeing with me and my stomach was doing a funny dance but I pushed through the weirdness and tried to ignore it.  I shouldn't have had them - my tummy hasn't liked them all winter.  My shoe them started to rub wrong on my heel so I stopped to tighten the laces.  A couple mins later, I stopped again to loosen it (I have a bruise now from the tightening - oops)

At the 16K mark, we hit another water station and geared up for the last 5K to the finish.   At the 4K mark, we saw one of our TNT team mates who was there to cheer on another friend, but had a cheer for us too :)  Thanks Libbey! 

When we crossed over the bridge again at 10th street, we knew we were almost home.   My right knee started to complain a bit, but I felt otherwise quite great!   Our pace was slowing by this point, though nowhere near as much as it has slowed in past half marathons for me.   C met up with us, shortly after the bridge and helped motivate us to the finish.  When we came across the suspension bridge over the river, JS's hubby was there to take our photos on the way in (See? FANTASTIC on-course support for us this race!)

My knee was REALLY complaining by then, but we were so close so I pushed through it and headed for the finish.  As we came around the last corner and saw the finish line, I could see J there with my camera.  C left us and we headed for the finish.  Not much of a finishing kick in us, but we did it and we did it undertrained and in a GREAT time!  And I didn't drool on the guy who handed me my medal - so that's progress in itself!

Finish line video that J took (we're the 2nd couple to cross):

My Garmin said 2:18:58, but I knew it had paused when I had to stop to adjust my shoe a couple of times.

Official Time: 2:19:18

(a new half marathon PR for me by 4 seconds shy of 12 minutes)

Two runners who rocked a half marathon today:

Our fabulous runner girls who supported us through our craziness (J even trained through the winter with us, even though she wasn't running it)
J, Me, JS, and C

The newest bling for the medal whore in me:

The Garmin proof:

So, how do I feel now?  Pretty good, actually.  I did another crazy runner thing today and had my very first ice bath.  It wasn't nearly as bad as I'd thought it would be.  If it helps, I'll be doing them for all of my long runs in marathon training this summer!

My knee is quite sore, but I have barely any muscle soreness.  That will probably change by tomorrow, but in the past I wouldn't be able to walk normally by this point in the day so that's more progress :)

Now, for the fun fact of the day....I found out yesterday that the people in the 1K fun run/walk also got the same medal as the people in the half.  Good thing we were using it as motivation or I might be ticked for not knowing that and training so hard in -28C LOL

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