The other two times I ran this race, I made the mistake of believing the downhill would coast me to a PR without really trying. Didn't work either time...fool me once and all that. I was ready this time. I had put in the kilometers and had even been fairly consistent with hill and speed work. On my training runs through the last month, I tried to mimic the downhill first half/flat second half by running a loop from home to Lake Ontario and back.
|What's not to like about this elevation change?|
This race is particularly well organized. Package pick-up on Friday was a breeze, with the unexpected delight of being able to choose among four different colours of race shirts. I don't remember ever having a choice before, much less that many options. The busing to the start line from the parking was painless, and we were able to wait in the toasty warm community centre at the start line. It was even held on the weekend that daylight savings time ended, giving us an extra hour to sleep.
The line-up for the women's washroom was ridiculously long, but aren't they always? The choice was to wait inside and potentially not get to the front in time for the race or wait outside in -1C for a porta potty. I chose the former and was just in under the wire! Whew.
The race is small -- 1750 in the half, 1005 of them women -- and the marathoners went off 15 minutes prior, so the field spread out quite quickly and didn't feel so crowded. The volunteers were extremely friendly and helpful. Again this year the local high schools came out to manage the water stations, which were plentiful, and showed great support.
And I ran it well, not going nutty at the beginning and keeping my effort consistent on the downhll. I prepared myself for the second half and vowed to run the whole thing. As it was fairly chilly, I didn't feel the need to stop for water or Honey Maxx until about 12k in, but I did walk long enough to drink at the last three stops. The low point came at about 15k, when the course goes along the lakefront trail away from the finish line. It felt like it was going on forever and I knew I'd have to turn around and run it again. I fought through the overwhelming desire to walk and pushed through. With about 2k left to go, the marathon winner passed me and I couldn't keep up with him for more than one stride. Crazy. Motivating.
|Instead of foil wraps, they gave out these |
funky disposable jackets. Too cool.
I came in with a huge PR -- 7:21 faster in fact -- at 2:13:49. Still far from getting under 2 hours, which I thought would happen so much sooner when I started running, but that much closer. Woot!