Monday, October 22, 2012

Legs for Literacy 2012

In my last post I questioned whether I would be able to complete my 5th half marathon this year.
Yesterday, I did.

Sunday, October 21 marked my third Legs for Literacy event.
I woke early, as planned, and enjoyed my shower, coffee, and regular pre-race rituals. My stomach was in knots and I spent more time in the little girls' room than I would have liked. However, 7am arrived and off I went to the start. On the way over, I remarked that I wasn't feeling particularly confident about the race but my supportive beau said "Well, you know you're not going to win so you may as well just enjoy it."  


He was right. I will never win a road race (unless I outlive all my competitors and manage to take an age category in a few decades!).  But I can enjoy them!

Although I had originally trained in the 2h15m group, my lackadaisical stance on training since Scotland meant that I had been doing any recent training (read: very little training) at the 2h30 pace group.  I decided that I would try to follow the 2:30 pace bunny and if I couldn't keep up, I would just finish well, whenever.

I got to the start and lined up with the 2:30 group.  I took one look around and almost defeated myself - determining then and there that I would be lucky to finish in 2:45

The gun sounded and off we went.  It seemed a lot faster than what I had trained for...and harder.  Now, I could talk about the fact that I've had bronchitis for almost 1 month, and little sleep over the last 10 days due to my daughter's cellulitis but the truth is, I was just having an off day. 

I ran the first 3 or 4 k with the group but then nature called (whoops, guess I should have taken an entire immodium instead of 1/2) and I took my first potty break. By the time I hit the 11k mark, I was hurting and walked the next 3k.  I was certain that I wouldn't match my Scotland time, never mind beat it.

As I rounded up to the Gunningsville Bridge, I heard a car honking and looked up to see my boyfriend, my mom, and my daughter (waving wildly from her carseat). I caught a fresh wind, straightened up and took off.  I was still struggling but now I had motivation...they were on their way to the finish line and I still had a little over 7k to go.

I ran the next 2 k with the thought that although I might not PR, I would have my favourite people at the finish line. Just as I finished a walk break, I looked up to see them again - this time at the 16 k mark on the trail - they had driven over, parked and walked down to the trail to cheer me on.  I could feel the tears and energy as I got a huge hug from my 3yr old.  I shouted - "I have 5 k left. I'll see you soon. Watch for Roxanne!" (Roxanne is my BRF and was somewhere behind me on the trail).

As I reached the next water station, I felt my heart soar - it was the Moncton Running Room water station - filled with people I knew.  There were my first two running coaches, our store manager, and new runners in the Learn-to-Run and 5k clinic I am currently teaching.  It was inspiring. 

A quick drink and off again.

I started picking off runners - girl in purple shirt, just catch her then pass her.  Man in black and red. Girl with neon orange bra straps. Hot pink running shoes. 

One by one I passed them. 

As I hit the final turn around point on the trail, I felt the old familiar 18 k ache - what is it about that number that hits me so hard?  It seems that I always flag at that point. I pushed on.

As I neared the RR water station the 2nd time, I stole a glance at my Garmin and realized that it read 2:24...I was 1.25 k away from the finish.  I could do this.  I could actually PR.  Not could. I was going to PR - unless something drastic happened to cause me to run 1.25km in 14 minutes, I was going to beat my best time.  

The tears started. I pushed. 

I ran up Mechanic Street where I would make the turn onto Main Street for the last 100m

Before I made the turn, I stopped. Bent over, took a deep breath and shook my head.  


Crowds!  Music!  Familiar faces!

Now RUN!

And I did.

I crossed the finish with a chip time of 2:32:34 and Gun time of 2:34:16

5th and best half marathon - complete.

And I NEVER said Can't.

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