I can finally check “Run a half marathon” off my bucket list. Best part? I loved every second of the race. Although I was nervous the night before and hardly slept, I was very excited when my alarm went off on Sunday morning. Had my usual pre-run breakfast of PB toast and a banana, got dressed and headed over to the start of the race. It was a chilly morning but the sun was out and no rain clouds were in sight which made me extremely happy, I hate rain with a passion.
The race organizers finally hoarded all 900 half marathon runners to the start line. The horn went off, I pressed start on my Garmin and off we went. A few of my friends racing the 10km came for the start of my race and it was so encouraging to see them and my dad in the first few metres.
My first thoughts were “ok, settle in, find a comfortable pace” which quickly changed to “wow, a lot of people are passing me, am I really slow right now?”. I quickly calmed down after I passed a few people myself and forced myself to just focus on my own race. I played games for the first few km to chill out: who had the nicest outfit, which house I would pick if I lived on that street, what the best plan was if I encountered a bear…I have issues. I started feeling comfortable and relaxed around kilometre 4-5, when we switched from running in the street to a trail in the woods. It was so beautiful and so fun to be running with people around me. The entire course was gorgeous, the switch from street to forest to eventually running by the river was a real treat. I had a good laugh every time I reached a water station…is there a trick to drinking from a glass and running without spilling it all over yourself? I’m fairly certain every single volunteer died of laughter watching us runners get more water on our face/body than in our mouth!
I had a gel at about 10km and another at 16km. Around kilometre 15 I started getting excited, I was still holding a steady pace and the end was near. I still felt like I had a decent amount of energy and I knew the last part of the race had some awesome downhills. I started pushing harder at around the 19km mark. I knew I had less than 15minutes to go and that I was capable of a negative split. Soon enough I saw the 21km sign, turned the corner and spotted the finish. I quickly glanced at my watch and realized that I could finish in under 2.10:00 if I sprinted. I hadn’t officially set a goal time but I secretly really wanted to go under 2.10:00. End time? 2.09:06 !
My initial thoughts when I decided to train for a half were that I would do it this summer and “get it over with” (yeah, running and I weren’t very good friends). I would race and then never have to do it again. Well, I’m fairly certain there will be more. I had tons of fun at the race and am already looking forward to dropping my time to under two hours. I heard about these “destination races” in wine country cities….yes please!!!
I cannot thank all my friends and family enough for the support and well wishes. I received so many wonderful messages this past weekend, my heart was filled with love on that start line yesterday morning. I feel very blessed and lucky!