Race Recap: Blue Nose Half MarathonMonday, May 21, 2012
Pros: First half marathon complete, had fun, pain was manageable during the race, no stomach drama, well organized event, nice course, mostly flat (ish), great volunteers and spectators, gummi bears and orange slices in the tail end
Cons: Balls hot temps, feeling like ass afterwards, Point Pleasant Park, first taste of GU, the current state of my second toe
I managed to not die during my first race, which I considered quite a feat considering it was hot as hell on race day, my knee has been spotty at best for weeks, and I took "tapering" to a whole nother level for the past week (Yeah I said it, A WHOLE NOTHER LEVEL, GET OFF ME GRAMMAR POLICE). I don't think "tapering" means "sit on your ass and eat all the things for a solid week" but I'm pretty sure that's what I did.
The day before race day I was a bag of nerves - snappy, grouchy, the whole bit. It was like PMS without the ice cream: acting like a turbo bitch all day, sooking in various corners of the yard alone, scowling, etc. I am nothing if not mature.
Thankfully, while I was busy sulking and acting like a 10-year-old, I also remembered to drink lots of water, eat a dinner that was mostly carbs and not much fibre, and lay out my outfit and gear for the next morning. I went to bed around 9:30, had an awesome sleep, and woke up just before 6:00 feeling well-rested. I got up and had a cup of coffee and an English muffin with peanut butter and banana. Since coffee is a diuretic, some people say that coffee is a surefire way to bring on the trots, but thankfully that was not the case for me.
|Boobs? No, just Energy Blasts! (Raspberry flavour. YUM)|
Of course, everybody had the same idea. Fifteen minutes before start time, I was trapped in the world's longest bathroom lineup. I almost got out of line and headed to the corral (which would have been a disaster) but I heard some guy saying there were porta-potties "way down at the end" with almost no lineups. Half a dozen of us booted down to the end of the row, and lo and behold, he was right. Business was taken care of and I made my way to the start. I settled in somewhere around the 2:00 pace bunny, figuring that it didn't really matter where I started - I just didn't want to be up at the very front with the intimidating eager beavers or way at the back.
Start time was 8:45 and it was already getting warm. Out of 2,100+ runners, I was one of maybe three wearing long sleeves, which suddenly seemed like a not-so-great idea. I decided my game plan would to take it slow and steady and not get overheated - lots of water, walk breaks whenever necessary, and not hurrying too much at the start.
The gun went off. I started out at an easy pace and EVERYONE was passing me. I started worrying about looking like a slow loser, but quickly figured out that what people say is true: the energy and anticipation at the start line makes people take off super fast, and then they lose momentum very early in the race. Many of the people who breezed by at the start were walking by the second or third kilometre.
Anyway, running, running, yada yada. I'm feeling good, listening to my Bieber and One Direction, please try not to be jealous. After a while, I was like, "we must be about four or five kilometres by now, WHERE IS THE WATER STATION??!" And then I saw a kilometre marker: 2.
TWO MOTHERFLOCKING KILOMETRES!!??
I could not believe it - these were the slowest kilometres of my entire life. I thought the signs must be in miles, but nope, good ol' metric system. It honestly felt like we'd been running for almost half an hour! Fortunately the markers started ticking by quicker as we went.
I really liked the course. We went through north end Halifax first, which was mainly flat. There were water and Gatorade stations every 3-4KM and I stopped at all of them for a drink of water, sometimes both. There were some shady spots which were super awesome at providing some relief from the sun, funny signs, cute kids, adorable dogs, and so on. Really, the first dozen kilometres seemed to go by pretty quick. I didn't check my watch or pace at all, just enjoyed the tunes, the sights and the sunshine.
Things started sucking at Point Pleasant Park. I love PPP but it's a hilly bastard and we were there from about 13-17KM. There was no shade, it was hot, and my knee was starting to twinge. Not knowing how far we were from a water station, I popped two Advils in my mouth and bit them. Huge mistake. Have you ever tasted Advil Liqui-Gels? Not good. So of course there was a water station about two minutes later...oops.
Then came the GU. I have never had GU before but I grabbed one at the aid station. I can't even tell you what the flavour was. Elmer's Glue? It was awful. I ate about 1/4 of it and threw the rest away. A lot of runners swear by GU but it just wasn't what I was expecting.
I ended up taking a lot of walk breaks in the park and other people were doing the same. Normally I love a jaunt in PPP but seeing the park exit was a bit like seeing the pearly gates of heaven. I have never been so happy to get out of a park in my life. See ya, monster hills.
So now there were about 3.5KM to go and shit started getting real, to the tune of people passing out from heat or dehydration. It's a bit alarming to see your fellow runners pretty much motionless on the ground getting IVs. However, this was also the point where the adorable children kicked in. Kids and their parents were out cheering us on with platters of cut-up orange wedges and tiny cups of gummi bears and Skittles.
I was going pretty slow at this point and had another brief little walk around 19KM, then decided that would be my last walk break. Around 20KM, I spotted Pete and Eli. They ran alongside me with Eli in his stroller for a minute. Seeing them made me smile and it was a terrific little boost to get me through the rest of the race.
|So glad to be finished.|
I spent the rest of the day wearing my race t-shirt, icing my knee, resting, and looking at my ugly excuses for feet. My entire second toe is a blood blister - pretty sexy. Next time I'll pay more attention to wrinkles in my socks. My knee is sore and I had bigtime stomach cramps all afternoon, which I guess is normal based on my internet research - when you do a long workout, all your blood is going to your muscles, and when you finish, it's like, oh hay, we need to do digestion too!
Overall it was a great experience, cracked iPod, gross feet, sore knee and all. I'm proud of myself for finishing with a somewhat respectable time and for running the half six months after having a baby. Now I'm looking forward to scaling back on the running a bit, doing more cross-training, getting my knee back under control and running for fun, not with a specific goal in mind every time - just when and how far I feel like.