Sunday, September 28, 2014

Running the Oakville Half Marathon ... because every good half deserves a blog post right?!

Wavering all summer long from the uninjured list to the injured list is no fun.  It makes me a little apprehensive on spending my hard earned cash on a potential DNS race again.  I take my time now on deciding what I sign up for early and what can wait.  The Oakville Half Marathon could certainly wait!

It's a local event, small, and has a reputation for giving out a pretty crumby shirt.  I wasn't really looking to sign up for a race but I was interested in getting a long run in my schedule and this was the perfect time to do it.  So, literally on the very last day of online registration, in the very few last hours, I pulled out my credit card and signed up.

The next morning I decided to get a head start on what I might wear and decided to check the weather. Rain had been looming for Sunday's big race but two days before, and with most certainty it looked like rain.  I mean, when they say 80% chance you can sometimes get lucky but when it's 100% chance of rain, you're pretty much doomed!!

It was pretty easy for me to put the horrible weather forecast and all that came with race day jitters aside because I had to work both days before.  It's dental show season in my world and with the big dental hygiene show in town I had little time to think about running.

Before the dental show on Saturday morning I rushed over to the race kit pick up.  I don't know how I managed to scoot ahead of everyone in the line but I was in and out in 5 minutes flat!!  This years shirt ... (sorry, to those who like it) is hideous!  Baby pink makes me feel like a newborn and this surely does!  The rest of the race kit was decent.  Skin care, dog food sample and a pretty decent reusable bag.  Hopped in my car and fled to work...

Saturday evening I laid out all of my gear, my gels and charged up the Garmin.  Rain still loomed but now it was down to a 90% chance ... hooray!!!  I planned on getting wet and the good news was it was suppose to be quite mild.  No layering.  Just me in my tank and running skirt ...

Race day wardrobe :)

Sunday morning I woke up early.  I had set my alarm but really didn't need it.  My hubby was racing too - the Niagara Barrelman Triathlon, and since his morning ritual begins at 3am I was in a light sleep from then on.  I showered and freshened up ... why? ... don't ask me.... I was going to be showering for the next two hours in the rain anyhow!!  Off I went, short ride to the race and parking was a breeze!!!

Arrived to crowds and major porta potty lines.  Quickly texting friends to meet up.  Once we found each other we posed for a quick picture and then went to line up.  Too busy chatting I didn't have enough time to secure my phone in a plastic baggy before the race start so I quickly shoved it in my running belt and off we went.

The DM's before the race... Emma, Amy, Patty, Sam, me and Zindine.

The one thing I loved about this half was that I was not racing it.  I had no time goals except to finish.  I couldn't have cared less if I finished at 2.5 hours.  I just wanted to have a nice and smooth run and make it to the end feeling good.  That said, a lot of pressure was "off".  No matter what, I was there to have fun and get a long run in for the week.

The first few km's were uneventful.  My pace was steady around 5:35 and it was humid so I knew keeping that up would be difficult. Around the 3K mark it started to drizzle and I think by the 5K mark we were in a full out rain storm.  As much as I hated running in the rain it was cooling me down and the humidity was lifting.

At 9K it was still pouring and I decided to take a gel.  Since I had to dig through my belt, I thought this was a good time to get my phone in that baggy before it was completely water logged.  I nursed my gel for the next two kilometre's and continued running in the down pour.

12K in and all of a sudden my music comes to a complete stop!!  The only thing I could  think of is that my headphones were angry with the wetness and decided to give up.  Curious, I pulled out my phone to see if it died too but it appeared that when I put it in the baggy it was pocket passwording and since it tried too many failed attempts it locked me out for 3 minutes.  No biggie, I figured I would just stop in 3 minutes and get it up and running again.  WRONG!!! As I entered my password with wet fingers it missed a number and locked me out AGAIN!!! ... this time for 15 minutes.  Sometimes Apple really sucks!!

I had now lost at least two minutes fiddling with that darn thing so I decided no more and ran with no music.  The problem with all of that was that it was such a mental distraction.  I had been tailing and passing the 2 hour pacer (which seemed to be a little ahead) so it was a complete bummer to have lost sight of her.  I knew now that a sub-two half had slipped away.

16K, 17K, 18K .... the countdown was on... my hips were angry and the rain was fierce.  On top of the wet and slippery conditions I was now battling a strong headwind.  Please just let this end, please just let me have my coffee... was all I was thinking...

The last kilometre seemed the longest.  The wind and rain had suddenly stopped but it just seemed to go on and on and on... I passed a couple of people and prayed to see that finish line.  Up ahead I could see the turn in and then the 100 metres to the end!  YAY!!!  DONE!!! ... coffee's coming and my time:  2:02:34.  Category place: 48/99.  Gender place 132/333.  Overall, I was pretty happy with this.  No real goal and I know now that if I hadn't had that phone/music mishap I would have had a sub-two for sure.  Live and learn!!

Smiling at the finish!!

My race medal, plain but cute!

Big smile!! Next up... COFFEE!


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