Mississauga Half Marathon Race Report
I have no idea what to expect on this race. Conservatively, I want to go under 1:45. In the back of my head, I figured I can go sub 1:40. It's funny how 5 min can make a world of difference. I have never ran a half marathon hard before. So I don't know what to pace myself. If I have to run a 1:45, I have to run 4:5x min/k. That doesn't sound so bad. The question is when will my wheel falls off? 17-18 k mark?
The day before the race, I was doing a quick interval and I was feeling my left chin. Uh-oh. That ain't good. Can I hold a 5 min/k? I do not know. I wasn't sure I train enough this season to really see the results. They had a 5 k run and my friend was running her first one. I went down to see her race and ran with her for the last 2 km. It was great. She is a new runner and her hubby and her daughter was there to cheer her on.
I went back home and reflected all the races I had done. There is nothing I can do except to just go out tomorrow, go hard and see what it will bring.
The next morning, I did my routine of 2 cans of boost, some water and was over at the starting line. It was chilly. I took my washroom break, clear my stomach and was ready to rock and roll. I seated myself pretty back. Around 1:50 mark. There were so many people I couldn't move further up. I was hoping to see Darren and Stu. Couldn't find them. Oh well...
Mayor Hazel McCallion blew the horn and off we go.
First 11 km
I started off pretty good. The first two km I was running around 4:45 min/k. A bit too fast. The heart rate (HR) was going up to 170 and I pulled it down. I was zig-zagging my way. I drink light sips of gatorade and water. By 4 km mark, I had a slight cramp. That's odd. I brought my HR down even more. To about low 160s. It was gradually downhill so it wasn't too bad. I was still passing people and moving on up.
By the 7 km, it started to feel pretty good. I was mouthing a few songs that were flowing in my mind. I felt like racing again. My first race of the season and it felt good. There were a hill at 9 km and I kept a steady pace up. I reached 11 km by 52:41. Not too bad.
Last 10 km
It was at this point, I was feeling really good. My wart wasn't hurting. I was moving strong. I started to pick up the pace. It was at this point I thought about let's just go and lay it on the line. I wasn't hurting that much. I thought how great it was to run. Let alone race. So I pushed the pace. From 11k - 12k, I was running 4:15 min/k. Woah. That was fast. It felt good. I was wondering how long I could hold on to this before my legs give out.
I continued to move up the crowd. I thank every police officers on the road and just kept the pace steady. I was doing around 4:30 min/k and I felt fine. My HR was up by mid 170s and I was breathing ok. Remember the stomach cramp I had earlier. Well it came back and haunt me at 15 km. I figured it would pass and after a few min it did.
By 17 km, though, it came back with a vengence. I had to slow down. Where's the porta potty? There is none. Rats. I gotta go and I went over to a bush by the park. I had to do number 2 and there wasn't really much choice.
I did my business. And joined the race. By now, there were 4 km left. One would think that I was worry more about my hygiene than anything else. Once I joined the fray, my mind was focusing on moving along. I got a time I gotta beat. I also realized that my legs weren't hurting. Not the type of hurting where I had to dig deep. That's weird. Such late in the race and they felt fine? Am I really racing? Let's surge and keep moving. I dropped all I had and didn't look back. By now my HR hovers around 180s. I was breathing loudly. Focus on quick steps. I saw the finish line and just kept at it.
I wasn't surging as hard now. One guy whom I passed before came up and passed me with 50 m left to go. NUTS! I think I pushed myself pretty hard. By the time I stopped, my quads want to cramp! :) Good. That's a sign of digging deep.
The last 10 km I ran a 45:36.
Total time 1:38
I am very happy about the result. I always thought I am a 5 min/k runner. This race clearly shows that my body can go faster than that. I am most happy about the fact that I had doubt about running fast leading up to the race and on race day decided to just go and not worry about the results. I am also happy to experience my friend's first race and be part of her journey.
If it wasn't for the stomach issue, could I push harder in the first 10k? I think so. I think i can run a 1:35 or even 1:30 :). I like to see how this translate to the run on Half Ironman Peterborough in July :)
The hurting part of the race is quite a paradox. As much as we like comfort, there is apart of me that I know it will hurt. And sometimes I try to avoid it. Then I realize, that every race I done. From a 5 km to a marathon to Ironman, there will be that decisive point where we have to dig deep. Darren once said, the pain doesn't go away, you just gofaster. How true! I never had a race where I never stop hurting. I just go faster. I guess embracing the (good) pain is part of the process.