Saturday morning I got up and did an easy 5k before breakfast and the got myself ready to head to Courtenay to run in the Comox Valley Half Marathon on Sunday. It was another race in the Island Running Series. I like to do a little run before race day to get rid of any of the ‘cobwebs’ in my legs.
I had been excited about this little getaway and spending the morning doing some shopping in Nanaimo and then seeing my friend Cynthia, who I grew up playing Ringette with in Nova Scotia. She and her family live in Courtenay so it would be a good time to catch up. But as I got in the car I all of a sudden felt lonely and a bit sad. I was going solo. My husband is still way and I was missing him being with me on this little road trip.
Since I couldn’t change that fact I headed to Nanaimo and stopped at the mall to get some things for myself as well as other friends who put in orders for Bath and Body Works. I wandered the mall but couldn’t get into really looking at anything so decided to leave. I had snacks in the car with me for the trip so I grabbed a coffee at Starbucks and headed on my way.
I arrived in Courtenay around 2:30-3:00pm and checked into the Travelodge. I knew the hotel was going to be very basic but just wanted a place to lay my head for the night and they had a continental breakfast in the morning. Christine, the lady at the front desk told me there was a microwave and fridge in my room and that was something I wasn’t expecting but had hoped there would be.
After I checked in I went to Extreme Runners and picked up my race number and wandered through the shops. I enjoyed myself and could go at my leisure. I ended up getting Warren a few little things that will make him smile when he comes home and I got myself a pair of arm bands from a cool little sock store called Sock Soiree.
I was getting hungry so I headed to the grocery store to buy food like Warren and I had the year before when we had gone up for the race. I ended up buying a pre-cooked turkey breast, broccoli salad and a 7-grain salad. I went back to my room and enjoyed. It was simple but I liked it and knew I would feel better eating that than something at a restaurant. Cynthia had invited me to dinner at her house but felt like sticking to my original plan. After supper I went over to her house and we caught up over tea. It was nice and good to see her.
After our chat I headed back to the room and settled in. I watched a bit of a movie and then off to la la land. I woke a few times during the night but when I woke up I was feeling good. I had some coffee in my room and then headed to get more coffee and breakfast in the dining area off the lobby. They had bagels, bread for toast, hard-boiled eggs, cereal, yogurt, fruit and a waffle maker. I grabbed some food to go and back to the room I went. I made my Comox Half Mara playlist over breaky and just relaxed. It was a good way to start my day before the race.
I checked out a few hours later and then headed to find parking down by the start of the race. When I left the hotel it was spitting rain and I was hoping the weather would cooperate for the run. At the start it was misting a bit but it wasn’t too bad. I put 1:34:48 on my Garmin watch and was hoping to take a few seconds off last years time. I started out feeling good and got carried away with the crowd. I probably started out too fast. At the 5k mark I removed my arm bands because I was getting warmer. Thankfully Gwen, who was riding her bike and being support for her boyfriend Dan while he was running the race and picked them up for me. I had seen her while running and let her know where they were.
As I ran I felt good. I kept an eye on my pace and until about the 6k mark I was ahead of the pace that I should have been. I felt good about that but a bit worried if I could maintain it. I kept my eye on the guys a ways in front of me and I ran solo for most of the race. As I ran I re-checked my form, my legs and tried to maintain my pace. By the time I reached the turn around at the 10k mark I was slower than I should have been but for me, as much as I don’t like out and backs for races, there is something that ‘fires’ me to go again. I talked to myself a bit and told myself I needed to smarten up and I started to pick up the pace. My goal pace was to be 4:30k and I had been running for a bit at 4:35/4:36k. That wasn’t going to get me my time I wanted for the finish. As I ran along my pace became 4:30/4:31k. That was better but that meant I had to start making up for lost time.
I was feeling good and passing people as I went along in the second half of the run. I reached the 18k mark and for me that is the mark where my body starts to tell me to slow down but I was determined to keep my pace and found people to run after. I also remembered at the 18k mark the year before I had seen Warren and that made me run.
As I ran along I thought about Wednesday night’s run club and the 3k repeats we did at half marathon pace. I had help from Rich and Dan to carry me through them so I pretended that they were running in front of me and I had to catch up. As I turned the corner after the bridge I could start to see the finish line and the rain was falling a bit harder and there was a head wind. Lovely, just what you need when you are already tired. I was saying to myself I only have to do this and then I am done for the day. I crossed the finish line in a time of 135:13 and came 7th in my age group. It wasn’t a personal best for this course but I left it all out on the road so I feel good about my race.
Once I was done I walked a little to catch my breath and then headed to get a sweater and my phone. I had tears in my eyes and just needed to call Warren in Halifax. I was feeling very emotional and missing sharing the finish with him. I was happy he was around to support me and make me feel better just by hearing his voice. I am a very lucky girlie to have such a wonderful husband.
After the awards and such I headed back home. I was greeted by our kiddos and they were happy to see me or maybe their cries were really just for food and not attention. Either way I was happy to be home with them.
If you are running your race without a cheering section do you have someone you like to call after the race?