Some of you may recall that I *just* missed a Sub-2 hour half marathon at the Scotia Bank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon last October. While I was very proud of my finishing time, I was also a tad disappointed that I was a mere 31 seconds shy of finishing under 2 hours. So with the help of the Runner’s World SmartCoach app, I created a comprehensive training plan and went at it full steam ahead. I then threw almost everything I had at training for the Chilly Half.
Sub 2 hours was going to be MINE!!!
So I ran and I trained, I went to spinning and I went to BodyPump. I ran in the rain, in the snow, the cold and the wind. I got big ass killer blisters:
And I kept on training. I ran at lunch, early on Sunday mornings and occasionally on Saturday afternoons. I begged and pleaded for my hubby to watch the girls so I could run ” promising him that I would watch them after my run so he could nap. I trained as hard as I could and I was ready!
The race weekend I’d been training for finally came…
Saturday morning I brought Amber to the race kit pick up with me so that she and I could meet my amazing friend Krysten (@darwinianfail) and have a nice brunch with her. Krysten is a fellow FitFluential Ambassador who I connected with over twitter because we were doing the same race. Over the past few weeks of supporting each other’s training via twitter, dailymile, facebook and her blog (The Misadventures of a Darwinian Fail), I’ve come to realize that Krysten is a truly inspiring person. Krysten has a pacemaker, but hasn’t let that stop her from reaching for her running goals, as well, yesterday, she had surgery to have her pacemaker replaced AND a double mastectomy, and breast reconstruction because she tested positive for BRCA1 (the gene that causes breast cancer). She is one brave, and strong young lady.
I have to show you our race kits because they were totally worth the race fees (which isn’t always the case) but this time it was. We each got a new jacket!
(I ‘m not going to run in mine; instead I think I ‘m just going to use it as a Spring jacket)
After we picked up our race kits, we had a great brunch together with Amber at the Pepperwood Bistro:
Then Saturday night I went against my better judgement and went out for a girl’s night out with one of my best friends. We had a great time chit chatting over beer and wings at Wild Wing Restaurant (yes ” I really did go out for wings and beer the night before a race), but she really needed to talk. Although I’ve trained really hard for this race, I knew that there are other races and my friend really needed me. So we went out for a few hours, I had a beer, some smoky gar-par wings and some good laughs. Pre-race faux-pas #1 – don’t go out for drinks the night before a race.
Sunday morning …. Aka RACE DAY!
I woke up at 7 am in the bunk bed with my daughters crawling all over me. Before I went out with my friend Saturday night, I promised my girls that I would sleep with them in their bunk bed for Ã…”Girls Club Ã‚Â (that’s what we call it when we all sleep together). I obviously didn ‘t sleep that well, because as any of you who has slept next to kids will know, they don’t stay on their side of the bed. Brooke (my 4 yo) has jimmy legs, so she slept on the top bunk by herself and kicked up a storm in her sleep, while Sierra (my 6 yo) slept on the lower bunk beside me. Unfortunately Sierra does this weird thing where she sleeps perpendicular across the bed with her head spearing my back. Pre-race faux-pas #2 – don’t sleep with your kids the night before a race.
Amber woke up shortly after Sierra and Brooke. I tried to get her to take a cup from me, but she demanded that she nurse. Nursing, training and racing leaves me feeling exhausted. Now that Amber is 16 mos old I ‘m starting to count down to the day when she weans. I often wonder if I could train harder and be faster if I wasn’t nursing? That said, I ‘ll let her lead the weaning because she’s my last baby and I know that there are many years of racing ahead of me (even if I ‘m not getting any younger).
For breakfast I had a banana, a bagel with strawberry jam and cream cheese, a Gatorade, and a coffee.
Finally at 8:15 it was time to relinquish my mommy duties and head to the race. YAY!
I drove over to my friend Emma’s house to pick her up, then realised that I left my race bib at home. Ooops! Pre-race faux-pas #3 – don’t forget your race bib.
I drove us back to my place to pick it up, kissed the girls good bye and made Amber start crying all over again. Pre-race prep strike 4.
We then made a quick stop at Tim Hortons for a coffee and my pre-race tradition ” a Boston Cream Bagel. If you’ve been keeping tabs you’ve probably noticed that I eat quite a bit before a race. I kind of have a stomach of steel and can eat just about anything ” and I hate running with my stomach growling at me. It just really adds to the discomfort in the second half of a race and I hate it, so I eat tons before a race. We found parking rather quickly, then walked to the start line to find a washroom. We were lucky to find a coffee shop open that was both warm and didn ‘t have a huge line-up for the potty! SCORE!
Next we took our place in the start corrals, where I ran into my friend Ken, who was kind enough to take a picture of Emma and I for us:
(Guys that’s my awesome training partner Emma who motivates me to do my long runs)
The race then started ” and I got off to a decent pace despite some really embarrassing things that happened (that I ‘ll share them with you in another post later this week Ã‹Å“cause I ‘m not quite over the embarrassment yet ” the few people I did confide in laughed their arses off at me). As I’ve written in other race reports I ‘m one of those people that tries to run an even pace and I don’t really pay much attention to things that happen around me. For this race I decided to try the iSmoothRun iphone app because I could set it up to give me feedback via my ear phones every ¼ mile as to how far I’ve run, the total time I’ve been running, and the pace of my most recent ¼ mile interval. I really really wanted to set a personal best this time and I knew that the pace feedback would help me stay on target without going out to fast.
Oh did I mention that the race was WINDY and COLD? Cold as in 15F with the windchill. Brrrrrr!!! As I got further in the race I began to sweat less, and the moisture from the sweat became cold. Double Brrrrr!
I kept on trucking and passed by Emma shortly after the turn around so I knew that she was having a good race too. I also passed by my friend Mike, but didn ‘t see Ken (I later found out that was because he finished about a minute before me). The second half of the race was tough, but I knew from the iSmoothRun feedback that I was still on par for a sub-2 hour race. I kept calculating in my mind whether I had time to stop and walk in order to still go under 2 hours. Most of the time the answer was no ” I had to keep on ploughing through the cold and the wind.
Finally I could hear the horns and cowbells ” oh how I love the sound of a cowbell because it means the race is almost over. No matter how good I feel ” it always feels better to stop running. As I made the turn to sprint the last 150 m to the finish line I spotted the best surprise ever …. Hubby had bundled the kids up and brought them to the race to cheer me on as I finished! Seeing them jumping and waving and yelling Ã…”GO MOMMY GO! Ã‚Â brought tears to my eyes and I knew I couldn’t disappoint them. I darted over to them ” gave them a quick high five, then sprinted as fast as I could to the end and heard the announcer announce my name as I crossed the finish line. The clock time said 1:55:34 ” I knew that regardless of what my chip time was, I met my goal … I ran a sub 2-hr half marathon!!!
My official chip time was 1:52:47!!!!
After the race hubby brought Amber home in the van because she was over-tired and a whiny mess, while Sierra and Brooke decided to come to the post-race Stagg Chili party with me:
I felt really special because it was so cold out, yet they wanted to be with me. They kept telling me over and over how proud they were of me. It’s those moments that racing doesn’t feel so selfish “seeing me run just for the sheer enjoyment of running and racing is important for them. It teaches them that eating healthy is not about chasing a number on the scale ” it’s about fuelling your body for peak performance. Being active is not about looking good in a bikini ” it’s about challenging your body to be the fastest and strongest that it can be. Besides ” racing brings me a lot of enjoyment. And doing things that make you happy is also important.
After the race I went home and celebrated:
While the girls ran around the house pretending to be mommy:
All in all I had a great race and it was well worth the effort I put into my training. Now there’s a little nagging voice in my head saying: Ã…”Hey Janice … I bet you can run a sub 1:50 half ….. Ã‚Â Perhaps I can?