Monday, October 15, 2012

The day I ran 21k...

So I did it! Yay me!
It was a painful 2:12:52 seconds, but I kept running throughout.
Gary and I decided that we will maintain a 6 min/km run. I fought against it a bit, I wanted to do it under 2:10mins, but Gary was adamant. Probably rightfully so. He had enough energy to speed up for the last kilometer, so his chip time was actually more than a full minute ahead of me. 

I've run up to 18k on my training, so in my head, I knew I could do it, I just needed to run for 18 more mins past my longest run so far. I got tired around the 15k mark. Running with Gary always gets me more tired because we chat and laugh and I'm not focused. So I stopped talking to him after that, it was a lot of grunting and pushing elbows to let him know that I needed him to move to the right or the left or that we needed to pass someone too slow.

Gary and I at the 3k mark

So the last 6k were a drag.
At 19k, I started to feel hungry. That has never happened to me before, but then, I've never actually run long distances first thing in the morning. 
At 20k, a friend was waiting for us by the side of the road and after that, Gary took off. I was on my own for that last kilometer up Bay Street to Nathan Philips Square. Throughout the course, there were people encouraging us, but that final 'ligne droite', there were even more people, with cowbells, flags, posters.
My worse nightmare almost happened right there. Running up on Bay street was the toughest 6 mins of my running life and my biggest fear was that I would succumb to all the muscles in my body screaming for me to stop. In front of all these people. That would have been the ultimate embarrassment for me.

I had to put my 'mind over body' right there. Unfocus on the hordes of people screaming by the side of the road, focus on my legs, bringing me closer to the finish line where I can finally stop.
500m to go. Push a little bit more, another 3 mins at most.
400m, yes, stop screaming at me, I'm getting there, geez!
200m, I know I can do this, I can imagine what 200m looks like on my regular training runs, I can see my building in my mind, imagining it where the finish line is.
100m, there, I can see the finish line!
50m to go, oh, I think I can push for a sprint! Here I go! Oh crap, what is this dude doing in front of me, I won't get a good finish line picture! Slooooowww....he passed the line, wait a second, now I pass the line, YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY I MAY STOP!

Now, where's the food? :P
Only when I met with my friends did I realize that I had a pretty big blister on my left heel. That was gross. A 'war scar' a friend called it. Bah, it will heal, the end result is that I did it! One thing off my bucket list!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

T'was the night before the half...

If someone told me two years ago that I would be running a half marathon, I would have laughed to their faces. But here I am, two years after I first started to run, getting ready for 21 km of non-stop running. Hopefully.

The decision was made after the SL10K in May, to register and train for the Toronto waterfront marathon on October 14. That's tomorrow. I did not just wake up one day and decided that I will run a half marathon. The idea first came up when I received an email to sign up to win a chance to run the Nike Women's marathon in San Francisco. The idea to visit SF and run a half marathon was thrilling. I signed up into the lottery - only 25,000 participants are allowed. I did not win an entry, but the idea was planted, I envisioned doing it. When Gary suggested we sign up for it, he did not need much to convince me. I had already run 2 races by then, the Harry Spring Run-off in High Park and the downhill Sporting Life 10K along Yonge Street. So we were registered.

My worst nightmare (I actually had a nightmare about this!) is to be able to run 20k and then cannot finish the last kilometer and I have to walk to the finish line. Imagine the crowd cheering me on and me being unable to give anything more and walking it up Bay street...The ultimate walk of shame....

The training is there. The mental preparation is there. I have been thinking of race day all of this week. In theory, everything should go smoothly. I have heard all the advice from experienced runners, 'Pace yourself', 'Don't burn yourself out in the first few kilometers', 'hydrate', 'eat carbs before the race', etc. I did make pasta on Thursday after our last short run. I have rested since Thursday, no runs at all. Everything is set and ready to go. Except the weather threatens to deliver rain!

Let's just hope tomorrow proves once again that the weather forecast is almost always wrong!
Check back after the race tomorrow!