Well after 4 months of training I finally ran my first half marathon. It was as physically difficult as I thought it was going to be but maybe even a little harder mentally than I thought it was going to be. I was happy with my prep leading up the race, I ate what I was told to do. I rested when I could, did my taper program from Frontrunners half marathon run clinic. I was ready to go!
My day started great, I had a great sleep, I ate my breakfast and got ready. I wasn’t consumed with nerves, which was awesome. We drove downtown, found parking and then headed to the start area. My family and friends were doing the 8km so I said goodbye to them so I could go meet up with my run clinic friends in the Frontrunners VIP room in the Grand Pacific hotel that Frontrunners had booked for all their runners. It was awesome to have a place to get warmed up, store our stuff and access to washrooms. 🙂
We headed over to the start line. I found myself a bit back from the 2:20 pace bunny but I figured I would catch up to her and then stick with her, this would give me a sub 2:20 time as she crossed the start line a minute or so before me. The race started, my breathing was a bit tight so really focused on calming down, the crowd at the start was so thick it took a bit to get a good pace going through the congestion. I eventually got settled into a 6:20-6:30min/km which is what I wanted but needed to maintain a 6:35min/km so I constantly trying to pull back. I caught up to the 2:20 pace bunny and tried to stick with her. It was confusing to me, I found myself trying to keep up to her but I knew that 6:25min/km was too fast so I had to let her go. This was mentally hard but I knew I had to run my own run. I would have thought she would have been holding a 6:37min/km pace to do a 2:20 time. I would be interested in knowing what her time was at the end because I didn’t see her again for my race.
I had an awesome first 14km, I felt awesome, I had a perm-a-grin and was high-fiving my friends as we went past each other. I really took it all in and tried to enjoy this amazing accomplishment. My split for the first 10km was 1:04, oh oh, might have went out a bit too fast for me. By 16km my legs were exploding, I felt like I was still going fast but I would look at my watch and I was barely able to maintain 7:00min/km. Shit, I did what I tried not to do, I went out too fast. But honestly, I was pulling back so much on the first 10km, I don’t know that I could have pulled back any more without feeling like I wasn’t racing. As I struggled to keep going through those last 5km I had a conversation with myself. I told myself, you are not stopping to walk, you have come way too far to give up. You have lost 197lbs, if you can do that then you can finish this race strong. I told myself that I needed to be patient with myself, this is your first half marathon. I told myself it didn’t matter at the end of the race if I didn’t get the time I dreamed to get, all that mattered is that I complete my race so I needed to pace myself to ensure I crossed that finish line. I told myself that no one cares what my time is, they think it’s awesome that I am doing a first half marathon. I reminded myself that in the very same location a year ago I had to walk the majority of the 8km race so if I have run a slower pace to finish 21.1km race than that is what I am going to do!
As I approached the 20km mark I saw my son Mitchell and my nephews, they started running beside me. I could hear my son yelling at me over my music “go mom go”…. I couldn’t even look at him, if I did I would have started to cry and it would get even uglier for me. As I rounded the last corner before the straight stretch to the finish, I saw my brother and his wife Jane. Again, I couldn’t even look at them, I was barely holding on to myself and didn’t want to get emotional. My brother has been a huge inspiration to me and he and his family have been there for every race they can to support me. My son and nephews continued to run along side of me until I lost them with the crowd closer to the finish line which really helped me try to pick it up for the finish.
My friend Tamara came out on the road and gave me my last high-five for this run, it was so awesome. I had seen her a couple times during my race, which really helped motivate me. She captured this great photo after I ran past her to the finish.
I gave a last push for the finish and finished with a 2:20:58. As soon as I crossed the line I heard my family and friends calling me. They were all there waiting for me, right by the finish line. My mom and my aunt had driven down from Nanaimo to watch me finish. My daughters were there, my husband and all my friends that had come out stayed to watch me complete my first half marathon. I was super emotional and feeling very exhausted. I headed down the line to get my medal and food. My friend Katie ran up to me crying and gave me the biggest hug. This is a girl who I have gotten to know through running, she ran the half that day to be there for me if I needed her and she stood and waited for me to finish so she could take it all in with me. She is so awesome! We had a good cry then proceeded to get food. When I came out of the fencing my daughter Brooke was the first one to get to me. I gave her the biggest hug and had a cry with her. By the time I had an opportunity to hug and thank everyone that took the time to come watch me, I had cried a lot and so had they. It was an awesome ending to an awesome first half marathon! I was so proud of my friends and family that also did the 8km, sounds like everyone had great times. My nephews even place 2nd-5th in their age groups. My daughter Taylor did a sub hour 8km which is awesome considering she hasn’t been able to train much between school and work.
I love this running community, so many people there to congratulate me on my first half. In fact, I have decided to also join the Frontrunners Athletic Club (FAC) so that I continue to train on Wednesday nights with these same people. Wednesday nights are speed work and hills so this is exactly what I need to help get my second half of that 21.1km stronger! I am now focusing on keeping up with my training for the Vancouver Island Running Series, which will have another half-marathon for me to do in the spring.
Today is also a big day for my Weight Watchers. I officially changed my Weight Watchers membership from online to the monthly pass for the next 6 months. I still plan to live in my online world in Weight Watchers but I am going to attend my first meeting this weekend so that I can weigh in and eventually get my lifetime membership when I hit my goal weight. I am currently 181lbs when I weigh in at home so we will see what I am on Sunday when I weigh in with their scale. My goal weight is 174lbs so I have 7lbs to go before I hit that. I am feeling a bit nervous about attending meetings. I have made a point throughout this journey to control all aspects of it, I am hoping this change was the right decision for me. I will continue to weigh in on Friday’s at home but I will also weigh in on Sunday mornings at the Weight Watcher’s meetings that happen at Royal Roads University Recenter.
My goal is to now start to incorporate some cross training to compliment my running and hopefully take my physical conditioning to the next level.
A year in review! Look at me go!