Personal Record by Default: First Half-Marathon

Distance 21.1km
Gun Time 2:04:55.1
Chip Time 2:04:16.6
Place Overall 829/2197
Place in Sex 492/829
Place in Age Group 82/115

Niagara Falls International Half Marathon

It wasn’t the 1:55:00 I was hoping for, but it was longer than I’d ever (continuously) run ever before. Three of my ten toes hurt, my knees are sore, my tibialis anterior hurts, I’m having trouble with stairs. Pretty much everything hurts.

The day started early. Got up at 6:30am to get my race gear on and get down to the buses for the start line. At this point, everything was wonderful. It was a bit chilly, but I was dressed warmly enough. I enjoyed some conversation with a few fellow runners, and hopped on a bus. A 20-minute bus ride. 20 minutes, traveling in a bus, to the place where we start the race. About halfway along the ride, I realized: I have to run back to where we just got on the bus. When I got off the bus, I couldn’t even see the towers in Niagara Falls, except for a very faint outline of one building, and a tiny bit of barely-discernable mist over the falls; on the distant horizon. Yikes.

I kind of see this race in four parts: The first 9k, the next 9k and the next 3k, and the final 100m.

The first 9km were pretty much awesome.  Everything was smooth; heart rate was good. Solid.  I focussed on keeping a steady pace, without worrying too much about people passing me. I was running kilometres in 5:30 or so, and it felt good.

Next 9k, my legs felt like lead.  I relaxed into an endurable pace, told myself I’d just relax for a little while. My legs kept yelling at me, I’d yell back, but they just wouldn’t listen. So I ended up hovering around 6:00/km for the rest of the race.

The 3k leading up to the finish chute was probably the worst. Mentally, anyway. I could see Skylon Tower, and the towers near the finish line, and I knew it was almost over. At the same time, it was amazing. Emotionally: some new ones, at least for running. If I could have cried through this 3k, they would have been tears of joy.

100m to go. “FINISH” in GIGANTIC letters over the roadway. And then I see… 2:04:50… 2:04:51… I actually said, “Clock? YOU ARE NOT GETTING TO 2:05 BEFORE I GET THERE”.  So I pulled together what little I had left and just gave it everything.

And now I am sore, and it is past my bedtime. And the last 19 weeks of training have been put to good use. Now, onto the next race. It’ll probably be a 5k or something really short.

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