Saturday, October 5, 2013

Race Report: Harvest Half Marathon 2013

Package pickup for Harvest Half Marathon was a week in advance so I had to make sure I didn't lose any of my stuff before the race day got here.

The shirts this year were awesome.  New Balance and gender specific.
(though it would have been nice if they'd told us the decision to change to gender specific because instead we got our unisex sizes in the gendered shirt...made for more than a few people sizing wrong)

My medium is a bit snug but still not too bad.  It'll be perfect WHEN I lose a bit more weight.

I laid out everything I was going to need before I went to bed. just so I wouldn't forget a thing.

After a night where sick kids kept waking me with their coughing, I still managed to get an okay sleep (thank you hubby for tending them) and was only slightly groggy when 4:30 rolled around and I hauled my arse out of bed.   My tummy was feeling gurgly and gassy, but I didn't think much of it while I was eating breakfast and getting ready.  I tried to chalk it up to nerves.

I was super surprised when I let Cancerhound out that it was much warmer than the 3C that was forecasted - the thermometer here said it was 10C!  Game changer for the race outfit.  So I decided on my magic pants and a tank.

But, after chafing so bad in my ultra-half, I was really nervous to run in the cw-x.  I didn't want a I threw 2 other pairs of capris in the car just in case.

I packed up the car and headed into the city around 6:30 - getting to Midnapore Mall (where I also parked last year) just after 7.  Just walking around my car as I collected all of my race gear, I didn't like the feel of the magic pants so I grabbed a different pair of pants and changed in the passenger seat!  MUCH better.  I was a bit worried about not having the muscle support, but at least I knew these wouldn't chafe.  I pulled on my arm warmers and headed to the start.

It was just a short walk to Mid-Sun Community Centre and the race start.  I hit the porta-potty line since it was a bit long...luckily it moved fast and was my turn in no time.  And just as the door opened for mine - out came my k-100 teammate, Alida (who I ran this race with last year).

Then, when I came out - Leigh was there to take it over!  So funny how small the running community is here.  What are the odds!

I found Tina and Michelle easily enough in their sparkly skirts and we headed back into the line for them.   We took a whole bunch of selfies :)

But since I didn't need to go to the potties again so when I spotted Sue's red hair, I hurried over to hang out with her.  And while we were chatting - Nicole found us.  See - small world.

We headed to the start with just a few minutes to spare before the race started.  Plenty of time for a few more pics...

me and Sue

This race has about 1000 racers and sells out every year so there was a good sized crowd at the start.   I don't know if we were too late for the warmup or if they just didn't do one this year.  I remember it being a decent, runner specific one last year.

Anyway - we were off and, at the first turn, I took this stellar shot of the crowd ahead.  Yeah - blur city...but you can get an idea of the crowds.

I was carrying along at a pretty good clip...under 6min/km and feeling strong and good.  I wasn't trying to hold myself back too much and I wasn't pushing to my limits this early.  I thought this boded well for the race.

I didn't have a run/walk ratio plan was to just try to run by feel as much as possible and hope to meet my goals.   The race starts out with a downhill through Midnapore by St Mary's College and then curves under Macleod on Bannister Road before it starts to climb from 2-5k.

Leigh passed me as we headed onto Bannister and I fell into step a bit behind her to see how long I could keep up.  Turned out to be not long and as soon as we started climbing that hill - I quickly lost her.  I was starting to feel a bit warm, so I took off my arm warmers and figured I would hand them off to Amy when I saw her, since she had offered to hold onto any cast-offs for me.

At around 4k, I felt my shoe go slack and looked down to find the lace on my right shoe untied.  What is UP with my right shoe this year?

Shortly after, I saw Amy who was volunteering as a course marshall.  A quick hug and a photo later - I handed off the arm warmers and carried on.

I took my first walk break at 5k. It was super short because I saw a little girl giving high fives and had to swoop in for one.   Soon after, the course went uphill a bit more, but I knew the downhill into Fish Creek Park was coming.

Not bad for time so far...time to see if I could keep it up...

It is always so pretty when you descend into this park - especially in the fall when the colours are out in full force.

As we wove through the trees, I started to keep an eye out for Keith, who was coming to cheer.  and he was right where I expected him to be at 7k.  I don't think he saw me right away so I shouted out "Hey!  I know that guy!" and went in for a hug and a pic.

and then I carried on.  At around 8k there was a hill and I decided it was a good opportunity to take a gel and fuel the next portion of the run.

At 10k, I was still holding strong on the pace...this 2:15 goal might just be possible as long as I kept it up.

Next thing I knew, I was running into Glennfield and through my forest!


My tummy gurgles were troubling me.  I just wanted to belch or fart or something and clear it all up but none of that was happening.   I hit halfway a bit off pace and then at 12k, decided I needed a pitstop.  The first washroom I passed was closed for the season, but I remembered some park washrooms had been open last year so I held out hope there would be one soon.   Yep - soon there were "Washroom ahead" signs and I could have that pitstop.  Unfortunately both stalls were occupied so I ended up with a bit of a delay there...about 3 mins.  But totally necessary, even if they didn't solve my issue.

As bad as my tummy was feeling, my legs were strong and I was feeling otherwise great.   So I ran with it.  I was going to run as strong as I could for as long as I could.  I promised myself if I ran to the 17k hill, I could power walk it and take another gel.  I just had to get there first.

The course beyond Glennfield and Sikome is fairly flat and meanders through the valley.  I was so happy it was overcast so I could just run and not stare at the sun and soon I had caught up to the people I had been running near before my pitstop.  I picked off a few of them and carried on.  The hill was drawing near.

and then we came around the corner to Sikome Lake and it was there.  It doesn't look like much in the picture below, but this hill is probably about half a km long AND somebody thought it was a good idea to put it at 17k in a half!

So I walked and cracked jokes with the other runners and slurped back a gel.    And then I was ejected out onto Sun Valley Blvd and the finish line was within reach.

I told myself at this point that I was super close.  I also reminded myself that it's a half marathon - it's not supposed to be easy and it would be over soon.  Sooner than I could even know.  I knew this from last year.  So I tired to step it up a bit.   That didn't mean much at this point, because I was feeling really tired and so were my feet.  My legs, though, were feeling fine.  It was weird.

Before long we turned into Midnapore again and the pathway was there and I could taste the finish line.  At 20k, I was at 2:13 and knew my A goal of a 2:15 finish was out of reach unless the course was shorter than last year.   I was ok with that...on to the B goal of a PB.  It would be tight if it was even possible...

The pathway meandered behind the houses of Midnapore and then I saw the hill ahead and knew that the path ran around it and then the finish would be RIGHT THERE!

As I was approaching the hill, I saw Sue's hubby, Kevin, and he cheered me in.   I crossed the finish line and stopped my Garmin.

2:21 (Garmin time...official results aren't up yet)

I collected my medal

and then headed back to Kevin to cheer my friends in.
Tina and Michelle

Sue (she may or may not have had some quips
about how many middle fingers to give the race... totally
allowed since she is still in Marathon recovery)

Nicole - finishing strong with baby on board
Medal shot from medalwhore me...

Same as last year but the back is engraved "2013 Finisher"

Garmin Geekery

Yep - SEE...if I'd had no stops - my moving time was totally a PB!

It wasn't my A goal or my B goal...but I beat my C goal by 5 mins!  And I felt really REALLY good about the time.  If I hadn't had the potty break - I would have PB'd, but this doesn't distract form the fact that I still had a really strong race despite battling tummy issue the whole way.  This is a race to be proud of!  I'm very proud of my pace and relative consistency and of my lack of walk breaks. Practicing continuous 10ks this summer really paid off where my lack of hill training killed me.

I do love this race.  So many of the wonderful people I have met since my running journey began were there and it is truly beautiful way to cap off a pretty incredible race season.  I have a feeling I'll be back again next year!

And after - we had a little bloggy meetup at Starbucks that I could totally see becoming a tradition.  The time flew by as we chatted!
L-R: Michelle, Tara (Tina's friend), Tina, Me, Keith, Kevin, Sue


  1. Great job! Next weekend is my last hectic one so let's plan coffee very soon so I can get your arm warmers back to you :)

  2. The running community definitely is small but a great one at that! Glad I could be your pace bunny for a little bit :) You will hit your goal time next race!

  3. Aww love your blogger meetup! I didn't meet my A, B or C goals in my last race either but you ran a good race despite that it seems. Not much you can do about that darn tummy! Hair looked great though so I'd say the day was a win! Congrats!

    1. LOL - you shoulda seen the super awesome spikes that formed above my right ear by the end of the race. I had to move my little clippy bow over to that side to hold them down for the meetup HA!

  4. Congratulations!!! You ran an awesome race! I was checking social media in the morning to find out what you were wearing since the change in temperature left me even more confused!

    I'm so glad that I was able to see you before the race and right as I finished!

    I love this race too! Even with the rolling hills and evil 17K hill it's awesome. I'll be back next year for sure.

    PS I should have asked you about your hydration pack before I bought mine. Yours looks way better! I need a pocket in the front! I also found out the hard way that the chest strap/shoulder straps chafe my shirts so a couple of my technical shirts have awful chafe marks on them now :(

    Sorry to miss the blogger meet up. Too many places to be at once.

    1. My pack is an Ultraspire Spry race vest. I love all the pockets and it has a different bite valve on it - you sorta bite and pull and then suck instead of trying to bite and suck (which I am apparently not co-ordinated enough to do). I love it. And it's never chafed me or damaged any of my tops...I've been wearing it all summer. They sell them at Gords and Tech Shop.

      We'll have to have another meetup soon...there were quite a few people who couldn't make it to this one.

  5. You may not have PR'd but you ran a strong race when you had lots of obstacles in your way, that alone is worthy of a ton of celebration. I hate tummy troubles and shoes that untie. It looks like it was a beautiful race though.

  6. I really love the idea of having multiple goals going into a race, since you never know what that day is going to bring you. I think you did fantastic all things considered. Nothing is worse than fighting with an unhappy tummy when all you're trying to do is run fast!

    Congrats on a strong finish, and not letting the pit stop ruin your race!


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