STWM Half Marathon – Race Recap

HAPPY MONDAY!

I am so tired today!  I would love to be in bed by 9pm tonight, but it is Election Night here in Canada-land and you know I’m staying up until past midnight. Tomorrow will be rough!

On Friday, I had to teach last period which meant that we were not leaving Ottawa until after 4pm. We decided to pack dinner and only stop for a quick bathroom break. Definitely saved some time and rolled into my parents house just after 9pm, which meant only 5 hours to Mississauga, even after battling a bit of Ottawa Traffic. We stayed at my parents overnight and I was on the GO Train by 8:30am. I got on the train and was planning on just listening to music and relaxing. But, some older guy thought I wanted to have a conversation about the government instead……

I did end up talking to lots of random people on Saturday – mostly about running. Because of the GO train schedule, I arrived at the expo super early but quickly made some friends. At 10am, a Friendship Run with the Running Room was planned. Krista Duchene and John Stanton were leading the run. We had a good sized crowd there! We went on a quick 3K run – with fellow Digital Champions, Jess and Danielle running with me. We all quickly discovered that we would be plenty warm in less layers for the big race the next morning. Afterwards we “carb’d it up” at the breakfast and chatted with other people that were there. When we arrived, Krista Duchene was already at the refreshments table and as we went to her, she looks at me and says “Hey, I remember you!”. Nice! After breakfast, I listened to John Stanton’s talk and Krista’s talk. I also picked up my bib and changed my corral from the last corral to the 2:00-2:10 corral.

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From John Stanton's FB Page

From John Stanton’s FB Page

From John Stanton's FB page

From John Stanton’s FB page

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Photo from Jess!

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The expo was tons of fun. I met so many people there. It was great to see fellow Digital Champions, the Justice League runners (who were not in costume), Joy, James and so many other people. I did zip out to Liberty Village for lunch. I had some tacos which probably wasn’t the greatest idea. I ended up buying another STWM shirt, gloves and a Ciele Hat!

After the expo, my parents, P and Max picked me up across the street at a park so we could go to the Spaghetti Factory for dinner. Max loved it there. I loaded up on some plain marinara pasta and bread. Then we hopped in the car to make our way to the Sheraton. When we arrived they told me that they were out of double bed rooms and that we were upgraded to a suite. Super awesome! We even got a CN Tower view. Max loves his hotel stays so he was super excited. He even told me: “Mom, I love that tower!”. We ended up going to the pool for the rest of the evening with all the other kiddies.

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The next morning, I woke up at 7am and had my bagel, PB and banana with a bottle of water. Somehow my body figured out that it was race day and my digestive system would go into overdrive. Great. I went downstairs at 8am to meet some running friends including some Digital Champions, Cathy and Carmy! I was in a sweat-pants outfit and was comfy enough in that. Soon we all hit up the portapotties (me, a few times) and got into our corrals. Kristen told me last week to sign up for the faster corral so I could chase them down. So, I went into the blue corral. The first wave went at 8:45am, with the blue corral going off at 8:55am.

Image from Carmy!

Image from Carmy!

The Race

 

At the last minute, I ditched my pants and sweatshirt and was off fairly quickly. As soon as I started running, I cursed immediately thinking that I had under dressed because I was so darn cold. That first KM was super cold for me. We went up Queen’s Park and were at KM 1 before we knew it. I even heard someone yell “KM 1 already!!”. I did noticed someone totally drop their phone on the ground, opps! KM 1-2 were all uphill but it was a gradual uphill and wasn’t too bad. We passed by familiar buildings (ROM, Queen’s Park) and then were on Bloor Street for a bit. I noticed that I had somehow lost a gel and quickly moved my last gel into my pouch. We hit a water station at around 3K and I took a quick walking break and chugged some gatorade. The plan for the race was to only walk water stations (which were every 3K or so), going away from 10 and 1’s – something I’ve never done in a half marathon setting before.  After we turned onto Bathurst, we hit the downhill section. You guys were not kidding about this. Wow – super fast, super downhill. LOVED IT. I knew at this point that a washroom break was going to happen so I tried my best to make up some time.

KM 1 – 6:23

KM 2 – 5:54

KM 3 – 6:06

KM 4 – 5:54

KM 5 – 5:48

After going down the sweet Bathurst section, we turned onto the Lakeshore. At this point I saw some male elite runners go by, followed by the top females. I knew that Lanni Marchant would be very close behind, so I stuck to the centre so I could yell something at her. She zoomed by super fast and looking at my watch realized she was making some great time. She was heading to the other half of the marathon, which made me realize I had to hurry in order to beat her to the finish.

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The next part of the course was super, freaking boring. Very little crowds and no music. For at least a KM nobody said anything and you could just hear lots of footsteps. At this point, I was also looking for the portapotties. There were no portapotties for at least 3K. Finally I saw one and made a stop. This is where I lost a whole 6 minutes of time waiting for the washroom. I did my business very quickly, but waiting just sucked. There needs to be more portapotties because everyone I talked to that had to stop had the same thing happen. Each group of portapotties only had 3-4 and each had huge lines. One guy yelled “I should have had that stupid coffee!”. LOL.

After the bathroom break, I noticed that my planned 61 minute 10K was now at 1:06. Not bad, but not ideal. I saw the 2:15 pace bunnies at this point and thought “Hell no!” (in Will Smith’s voice) and started booking it down the hill. At this point, I probably passed Cathy as we crossed the 10K mat within seconds of each other. I was totally not looking at anyone. I spent the next 5 minutes weaving through the crowd as the green corral was now mixed in. I was zooming past people for quite some time. I even passed a couple holding hands……ok.

KM 6 – 6:07

KM 7 – 5:37

KM 8 – 5:44

KM 9 – 5:50

KM 10 – 11:35 (ughghhhghg)

10K Split Time – 1:06:18

I knew at this point that if I could hold on, I would still easily PB and maybe even get my 2:10 time. The only thing I really thought about at this point was “just keep going”. Normally when I run, I think about everything from school to what I watched on TV that night. This time, I thought about next to nothing. My GI system was still feeling off, but if I zoned out enough it didn’t bother me. I figured that since I went 10K or so before the stop, I would be ok for the next 10K. I didn’t really look around too much except focused straight ahead. I didn’t even notice the lake! There was a small hill at around 15K or so which kind of sucked but wasn’t too bad. Thanks to the random guy cheering at the top! I also noticed at this point that my Garmin was way off, by about 200m or so. Probably all the weaving. Seemed that it was common for quite a number of us. I definitely was not running the tangents at all.

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KM 11 – 5:31 – can you tell I was pissed off? Fastest KM!

KM 12 – 6:07

KM 13 – 5:45

KM 14 –  5:40

KM 15 – 5:51

Then it was back to the boring section. Again, all I was thinking was just hold on and keep this pace. We passed Coronation Park and started heading back down town. The rest of the KM’s were pretty awful. I was hurting at this point. Although it was all just muscle fatigue, nothing more. No shin pain, no hip pain and no weird nerve pain. Probably the best I’ve felt running in a very long time.

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We went under the Gardiner and then up another hill. This hill was another sucky one and I almost walked up it. But, I kept going. I think it was the Black Toe Running cheering group around this section and they were the best cheering section by far! Some people cheering were also calling us out by name which was nice.

KM 16 – 6:07

KM 17 – 5:52

KM 18 – 5:51

KM 19 – 6:22

KM 20 – 5:47

I just concentrated on trying to maintain my pace. Up until 17KM, my running form seemed to be ok. But after 17K, I felt my back start to lower and struggled to maintain good form. At the 1K to go point, it is straight up hill to the finish. You can see the clock from Old City Hall and I just concentrated on that. That last climb was pure torture. I’m sure that if anyone took a picture of me, it was pure awfulness. I also realized that I could no longer feel the top of my legs. I wore my longer lululemon shorts and couldn’t feel them anymore. All I could feel was the liner part. Then I saw to my right, the elite women zooming by. Wow were they ever fast! I knew that I had minutes to get to the finish line before Lanni and I just booked it up the hill. I did stop my Garmin at the 21.1K mark, but had just over 200m to go before I finished.

 

 

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YAY I’M RUNNING

Alright - I'm done

Alright – I’m done

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KM 21 – 5:42

.1 – 57 seconds

My 10K split was 1:06 – my 11K split was also 1:06

which mean one heck of a negative split.

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I made it to the finish and saw the photographers, so I made sure to smile this time and not look like a zombie. My garmin was at 2:10:39 but official time was 2:12:32 which is a three minute PB. It was my own fault for not running the tangents and adding in some extra running. My “moving time” was 2:03:55….so that washroom break made me more angry.

The Canada Running Series group does a great job at the finish line with camera’s going and an announcer to tell you how the elites were doing. I totally stuck around to see how Lanni was doing. Someone at the finish line said she was super close and lucky for a couple of us, they let us stick around to watch Lanni cross. Lanni came in at 2:28:09 or so, just 10 seconds off her own Canadian record. BUT – she did qualify for Rio 2016! YAY!!!

At this point – the medical person said we had to keep moving and she looked at me and said to go get my blanket on right away. Apparently I was blue at this point and my skin was goose pimply. I grabbed my medal and blanket and then headed to the cattle corral to Nathan Phillips Square. It took way too long to get to the finishing area. All I could see was the Sheraton and thought that my nice warm shower was right there. Once we got through the crowd, I struggled to figure out where the race food was. I finally found it and quickly left. I’m not sure I really liked the finishing area all that much. Way too crowded and not easy to find stuff after.

As soon as I got to the hotel, I jumped into the hot shower. I ended up staying in the shower (and then a bath) with full hot water for probably 30 minutes. I was so cold! P and Max ended up going to Steam Whistle Brewery to go on the train. We didn’t communicate about timing all that well and they came back at 2pm – which is when I wanted to leave the hotel. So I missed all the after parties 🙁 My tummy wasn’t feeling all that great, so I probably wasn’t having a beer anyways.

I also did not make it out to cheer on people. I was really cool and couldn’t warm up for a very long time. I just sat in my hotel room and ate food instead. We left Toronto at around 2:30 and went back to Ottawa. We were home by 7pm and order a delicious pizza for dinner! I slept very well last night!

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SO – I know I should be happy about the PB, but I am beating myself up about the washroom break. I was having a very off digestive system week and figured that it could happen. I’m figuring the beef tacos I had for lunch are what upset my system, but really I don’t know. I rarely have issues during long runs but almost always have problems for races. Luckily, I avoided the whole cramping thing by drinking lots of water and gatorade.

What I have realized is that I do have the potential to go sub-2:00 next year. I was very close to 2:00 with my moving time and that is with only a 7 week training cycle where I ran less than 30KM a week. I also ran only three long runs. I’m thinking that with more of a 10 week training period and a focus on speed, I will get that sub-2.  I felt very comfortable for 75% of the race and if I go over 20K in long runs, I know I won’t be on the struggle-train for those last few KM. I did negative split the race, but really, I think I was super steady if anything. I spent roughly 6 minutes waiting for the washroom and that was my negative split (6 minutes). I did probably run sub-60 for that last 10K too, sweet! Also – all those 6 minute+ KM were all my water station KM. My goal pace was 6:10, which is what I ran with the big break included. Otherwise I was running about 5:58 pace. Nice!

I had quite a bit of fun at STWM. So much fun, that I took advantage of a sweet deal and signed up for STWM 2016! I’m thinking it will be the marathon but still might switch back to the half marathon, depending on training.

However – I do know that I will be running the half marathon at the Ottawa Race Weekend! I will be talking more about my plans for TORW in a future post! 

Hope you are having a great Monday!

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13 Comments

  1. Jen @ Pretty Little Grub

    Congrats on your race! I know that annoyance of the porta potty break during a race but you’ve got to do it. I wish races has more porta potties along the courses.
    We’re always super close with our times. I have a sub 2 on my radar for next year too.
    Jen @ Pretty Little Grub recently posted…New Zealand Recap – Auckland, Waitomo Caves & HobbitonMy Profile

    Reply
    1. ~Rebecca~ (Post author)

      We can totally do it!

      Reply
  2. Crystal

    Way to go Rebecca! A three-minute PR is awesome! With your determination, I have no doubt you will get that sub-2 hour race!
    Crystal recently posted…Sneaker graveyard: Time for a purgeMy Profile

    Reply
    1. ~Rebecca~ (Post author)

      I’m determine to get that time!

      Reply
  3. Lisa @ Lisa the Vegetarian

    Congratulations on your race and PB! Awesome job!
    Lisa @ Lisa the Vegetarian recently posted…Disney World Planning Tips – Part 3My Profile

    Reply
    1. ~Rebecca~ (Post author)

      Thank you!

      Reply
  4. Kristen @ Glitter and Dust

    I was so excited to see this on your Instagram! Given your circumstances and the fact that this wasn’t a perfect race, your PB is something to be very proud of. You are getting FASTER!!!
    Kristen @ Glitter and Dust recently posted…And Then I Went On A RunMy Profile

    Reply
    1. ~Rebecca~ (Post author)

      Thank you! Yes – definitely getting faster and being comfortable while getting faster!

      Reply
  5. YogiCrystalRuns

    Way to go!! Awesome run and love the pics 😀 (definitely missed being there, but was happy to cheer on everyone from Calgary!) <3
    YogiCrystalRuns recently posted…It’s Been Awhile…My Profile

    Reply
    1. ~Rebecca~ (Post author)

      We missed you!!

      Reply
  6. Lisa @ Lulus Big Adventure

    Congrats on the PB! (Regardless of how happy you feel about it haha). And awesome view from the hotel!
    Lisa @ Lulus Big Adventure recently posted…October UpdateMy Profile

    Reply
    1. ~Rebecca~ (Post author)

      LOL – yeah, its like “YAY PB”….and then mad about the bathroom.

      Reply
  7. Pingback: STWM 2015 Blog Round-Up | Canada Running Series / Circuit du Canada

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