On Sunday Warren and I took part in the Comox Valley RV Half Marathon and it was the sixth race in the VIRA series. I wasn’t sure how this run was going to go because the longest I had run since December was almost 18k a week ago this past Saturday. During run club Cindy had asked if I wanted to running with her and I figured it would be a good idea so my body wasn’t too shocked on race day. I was wiped by the time we finished so I was questioning how the race was going to go.
We left the house at 7:00am because we thought we had a three-hour drive to get to the race and we wanted to be there by 10:00am. I had set the alarm for 5:00am just in case we didn’t wake and for the first time in a while our alarm woke us up. Why is it on a day when you don’t need to get up that you are wide awake early but on a day when you need to get up your body wants to stay in bed?
Before we left the house I made us steel-cut oats with blueberries, nuts and dried cranberries. I also put a tablespoon of peanut butter in mine because I love how it makes it so creamy and tasty. I packed us a banana and an english muffin with peanut butter for the road because I knew we would need more to eat before the run. I also wasn’t going to have that tired feeling like I did with the 5k race or so I hoped.
It was a nice day for a drive and as we drove along certain parts of the Malahat you could see the sun rising behind the mountains. It was so pretty but I was driving at the time so wasn’t able to capture it on my camera. What I saw though was a pink glow in the sky and the mountains looked like a shadow in front of the pink. It is just one of the many reasons I love mornings.
We arrived at the race at 9:30am which was too early for my liking but it turned out all good. We chatted with some of the other runners and Warren registered for the run. He had been uncertain if he was going to run it or not because half marathons are not his favorite race. A little before the starts we did our warm up and got ourselves ready to go. We shed our extra layers and gloves because they weren’t needed. It was warm enough to wear a t-shirt or in Warren’s case a singlet. It was a perfect running day.
At the start line Warren and I were next to each other and were for the first ten feet and then Warren was gone. I knew better than try to keep up to him because his goal was to run the race in 1:30. I was hoping to run it between 1:36-1:40 if I was lucky but getting through it was the main goal. I have a personal best on the course in 2012 of 1:34:48 but I knew that wasn’t going to happen.
I ran my first two kilometers at a pace of 4:32 and that seemed good to me. I was hoping I would be able to keep that pace but wasn’t certain. The next kilometer slowed a bit but I was running up a gradual hill so I thought that could be why. I wasn’t discouraged and didn’t try to pick up my pace to balance it out because I still had 18k left to run. I noticed after a few kilometers that I slowed in my pace again. It was time for me to just run how I felt so I ran along with the two men who I started out running with and I stopped looking at my watch. As we reached the 9k mark we climbed a little hill and they fell back so I ran solo.
The race was an out and back so around the 8k mark I started to see people headed to the finish. I saw my friend Ann just pass the 10k mark and she looked strong. Warren wasn’t too far behind her and he looked good as well. I was happy for that because I had been worried about him running the race. His body in the past has not enjoyed running half marathons and enjoys the distance of 15-17k better.
As I rounded the marker at 11k I was happy to be headed back. Sure I still had 10k but I was at the turn around and that was what mattered. I got out my Gu’s and had a bit of it. I didn’t take the whole thing at once because I wanted to save it for a little pick me up along the way. I know that isn’t how they are meant to be taken but I thought it might help me get some energy at various points on the way back as I was starting to fade. It seemed to do the trick because at one point I had run a 4:15km. WHAT? That wasn’t supposed to happen mid race.
I could see some runners in front of me and a girl in a pink shirt that tried to focus on. She was my carrot since Mae wasn’t running in this race. Mae has been my carrot in the past for races but she and just had a baby boy roughly two weeks ago so she wasn’t running.
I eventually lost sight of that girl and then found I was surrounded by some of the runners I had passed earlier. That wasn’t a good sign I realized. That meant I was slowing down if they had caught up. I kept pace with them for a couple of kilometers and then they pulled ahead about the 16k mark. The 17k and 18k portion of the race take part on two roads that are long and you can see how far you have to run. I am not a fan of those kind of stretches in a race.
I shook out my shoulders and arms to loosen up a bit. I could feel the tension starting in my right shoulder. I cycled my legs a bit differently because they were feeling heavy. I could also start to feel some friction/burning in my right foot which I wasn’t liking and my IT band on my right leg wasn’t too happy with me either. My heal was feeling OK but it was soon ready to be done as well. I talked my way through my body like my friend Kerry once told me to do so I could try to distract myself from the parts that didn’t feel good. It sort of worked.
As I made my way to the finish line there were two ladies in front of me. One of them I knew wasn’t in my age group and the other one I wasn’t sure. Either way I was bound and determined to pass them. I laid it all out…well what was left and passed one lady JUST before she crossed. I was done. Phew! I moved away from the finish line and put my hands on my knees, even though I know you are supposed to keep moving. My body just didn’t want to move any more. Warren came over to me and told me about his race. He crossed in 1:30:24 and had reached his goal…my superstar.
We grabbed some food and then showers before the awards ceremony. I ended up placing 9th in my age group and crossed the line in 1:37:55. I am happy with that. When we got home I finished the #ATWRBR2014 post that I had started in the car on the drive back, we had some food, I put ice on my heel and then had an Epsom salt bath. It had been a good day.
How was your Sunday? Do you enjoy a half marathon distance?