Wednesday, 28 September 2016

I Ran a Half Marathon

I am officially a half-marathoner.

On Saturday, September 17th, 2016, I ran my first half at the Maritime Race Weekend in Nova Scotia, but I really don't feel any different. I thought there would be a huge sense of accomplishment, success or pride when I rang the bell in Eastern Passage to let the world know that I just ran my first 21.1 kilometers but in all honesty, all I really felt was that I just finished another long run with my friends.

Was it was because my thoughts were on Sugar as he completed his second marathon? Maybe it was because Paula wasn't able to run with us due to an injury. Or maybe it was because we had already run 20.9 kilometers a few weeks before and a running an extra 200 meters really didn't seem like such a big deal anymore.

Photo courtesy of Neal Bagnall

Of course it could be that we really didn't treat this race as a race. To us, it was more of a stop at every water table and dance with the marshals kind of race. A take a break at the Temptation Station and eat chocolate kind of race. A pose for the photographers like we're super models kind of race.

Don't get me wrong, it wasn't all shits and giggles. Getting up at 4:20 am to eat a breakfast of Gatorade, bananas and un-toasted bagels was not a highlight of my trip. Neither was getting off a shuttle bus an hour and a half before the race and having to wait outside in the cold for the sun to come up. It's at moments like these that you really start to believe that you will never sign up for another race again.

But then the sun comes up, the cannon blasts and you're running along with your peeps like there's no other place in the world you'd rather be.

Except a cruise ship. Nothing trumps cruise ship.

We managed to run the majority of the race together. There were a few times when Lori forgot who she was running with and when her natural pace took over she surged ahead. But we would eventually reunite and continue on towards the finish like the three musketeers. 

One of our pit stops was the Temptation Station around kilometer twelve. There were chairs to sit in, chocolate to eat and an amazing view. Another half marathoner stopped and asked for orange slices. There were none. She looked like she could really use a pick-me-up so I offered her some of my Rice Krispie cookies. As per usual, I received a look that says "Are you on something?" I explained the merits of the cookie and she reluctantly took a small square, probably to make me go away more than any belief that what I was saying had any truth to it.

We soldiered on. Renee's knee started acting up and so did Lori's IT band. At about the 19 km mark, our friend from the Temptation Station caught up to us once again. This time she was full of questions. How many squares do you take on a run? When do you start to eat them? How often do you eat them? Store bought or homemade? 

And then she was gone. Flying down the road to the finish line ahead of us.

You're welcome.

Even with all our pit stops, photo ops and injuries we managed to finish the race under our three hour goal with a chip time of 2:56:36.

Highlights of our trip:

1) I bought a visor. 
2) There was a Starbucks in the lobby of my hotel and it's Pumpkin Spice time.
3) Hills in Nova Scotia are not the same as hills in Newfoundland.
4) The Lower Deck was 10 feet away from my hotel.
5) I ran a half marathon.

If I have to give a summary of what I learned that weekend or what I took away from the experience it would be this: once you run a half marathon, you'll want to run half marathons instead of 10 K's. After all that training there's no way I'm going back to shorter distances. My next year's Huffin Puffin will be a half and our destination race next fall will be a half. I never thought I would ever run the distance, but now I can't imagine NOT running it.