“How to train for a half marathon by only running your LSDs”… that is what this post should be called. A close second was “Why can’t I fit my runs in”. Tough Call. This is what I decided to go with instead… Ready?
My first half. (By MJ aka BeMightyLegsMegs)
I have three goals going into this race.
1) to finish
2) to run sub 2:15
3) to run sub 10 min miles
Last Saturday I stayed up far too late, as we typically do in my household by way of milking every last waking moment of our pack time that we were starved of during the week. But this night, differed ever so slightly. I methodically sought out my dress for the next morning. Double layer run tights, Columbia thermal long sleeve, Merino socks, a light fleece, windbreaker and of course – run gloves, toque and neck warmer. This is after all my first “Hypothermic Half”, in addition to it being my longest race YTD.
I slept well, for a few hours. And I awoke to a quiet household. Just me, 5am and my race prep. I downed two egg bakes made the night before and a glass of water, I shove two gels in my vest, filled a water bottle and headed out the door. Despite support, I chose to do this first race alone. I had only time for my LSDs since October on a consistent basis but I needed to take this in, this first race, for me. I earned this gift of solitude with the countless repetitive laps at the field house (remember the 100… [insert PTSD here]), the physio appointments, the pep talks. And I needed to prove to myself I was doing this for me. That I was strong enough to do it – just for me.
When I arrived at the race site it were as though I had been there a thousand times before. I was not nervous at all it was simply familiar.
It was pleasantly cool for the Hypothermic race that earned it’s name in the years prior. It was also icy as sin calling for my first test of the cleats I picked up the night before, but overall pleasant. Warm even. So warm that 5 minutes before the race began I made the last minute decision to dump my fleece. When the sun woke later this turned out to be a very good decision. Always dress like it is 10 to 20 degrees warmer – this is a good rule of thumb.
The race began with a count down and a flurry of runners. The energy so comforting with volunteers cheering everyone on that, to my shock, my eyes actually welled up with tears. And then, I blinked them away and ran. Just that. I ran.
Easy and comfortable. That was my pace. Stay Zone 2/Zone 3 the majority of the race and try to have enough left in me to walk afterwards.Full Contact Runner provided me a tip about nose breathing and as such this became my strategy for the first 11km before I opened myself up. The nose breathing seemed to ensure I stayed in active recovery mode. A gel at 7km, and another at 14 – and I kept running. I never over thought anything, I just paced myself to the beat of Vampire Weekend playing on my Ipod until I realized I was on pace for a 2:10 race despite my sub 2:30 training plan. Sweeeeet.
Though I slowed ever so slight in the back 10 my triumph was in the 1 km sprint I made for the finish. I was apparently so lighting fast that (according to the volunteers) they could not believe I just ran the half. This was nice of them to say but my sprint energy just made me realize I had more I could have put out there much earlier. Disappointed? No. I was not disappointed. How could I be? It was by now 10:15 on a Sunday morning and I just ran 21.1km as I watched the sun rise over my humbly beautiful city.
As my race finished with a finisher metal placed around my neck I turned around and awaited the next runner behind me. I cheered her in before I joined the other finishers for brunch. I sat, I ate, and I visited with an incredible mix of people who were all there for different reasons. Somehow though, in that moment, we were all the same.
I did not meet all of my goals, but I think I met the most important one. I showed up… I did what I said I was going to do. Offical race time 2:12.57.
I can’t wait to run my next mile.
Next half is one week from Sunday.