Monday, September 14, 2015

Race Report! The Maritime Race Weekend Half Marathon

Saturday morning I was up before my alarm went off. I was ready to gett'r done at the Maritime Race Weekend. I had trained, not as much as I had wanted to or planned to, but I felt ready enough to run the half marathon with my brother Josh. We got ready but in our nervousness/rush we both forgot to eat anything before we lined up at the start. Ugh. I had run for 2.5 hours on nothing before but I knew this race would last slightly longer than that given that I was wearing an extra 3lbs. of brace on one leg. We lined up as we both realized this little fact, but by then t was too late to really do anything about it. And then we were off, running through a narrow chute of people dressed as pirates (the race theme) to Shore road, which winds along the coast for 2.5kms. We ran the whole 2.5kms without issue, although I started faster than I expected. The we turned onto the Caldwell road hill, a steep 20 degree incline that humbles most people to a walk. We trudged up that to the Ocean view manor loop where we began running again, hit our first water station, then continued on to Cow Bay Road. The volunteers were full of energy and smiles as they cheered and directed us along the way. We hit a good pace going down to Cow Bay, passing a few people and enjoying the reduction in runner traffic. Then we started up Dyke Road where we were actually stopped by a very frazzled RCMP officer who asked if we were the last people. We knew there were a lot of people behind us so we told her no as we stated walking (we're in a race here!), there were plenty more coming. She seemed very shocked by this and asked us the same question two more times before a volunteer came over and tried to explain the situation to her. It seemed like she was told to go control some traffic without being let in on the race part of the job lol. We continued on our way up a long slow hill until we finally reached the turn at 10km. There we found the "temptation station" which had skittles, resiens and cold coffee. I grabbed some skittles since I desperately needed a sugar boost at that point. A few hundred feet down the road we hit the steepest hill, one where you seriously question the thinking behind the road designers to put a road at such a steep incline. Yeah, that steep. We power walked it and then jogged the downhill. We plodded on, the easy pace a few kilometers back now becoming more of a struggle. Still though, our time and pace was better than I expected and I secretly hoped we would make the finish in 3 hours. My knee had other plans. We rounded a corner, heading back to the finish line when saw the 15km sign. My knee saw it too and decided right there and then to give me a shot of stabbing pain straight through the center of my knee. I stopped to walk. After a minute it passed and we continued on, although by then my quad muscles were now cranky and cramping up periodically. My brother was super kind and wasn't bothered (at least not verbally or visibly) by us stopping to walk every few minutes after that point. By the time we got to the 18km mark it felt like tiny nails were suddenly banging around inside my knee and we were both starving. We talked about food, I joked that I could stop in at the corner store and get a bag of chips, but we continued on. I was going to finish this thing, and I was going to finish it running even if I had to drag my leg to the finish (something that was becoming a possibility at this point). We walked for a few seconds just before the final turn then started to run. We passed two walkers and just kept going. It was 100% mental for me at this point. My leg was throbbing, my knee stabbing, the opposite thigh was stinging from some serious Velcro chafing, and I was fighting every step to put it out of my mind and focus on the finish. The cheers from the crowd at the finish helped lift me up as we made our way closer and closer to the finish chute. Once we were in the chute I knew it was mere seconds before we finished so I kept my resolve and continued on running. My brother was cheering as we neared the line. All I could say was "Thank God." as we crossed my brother giving me a sideways hug as the photographer snapped pictures. I did it. Its been years since a 21km felt that hard or took that long to finish (3:17 is our official time) but it was one of my most rewarding races. Not because I hit a new PB or distance, but because I finished it giving it all I had and I had family there to support me every step of the way.