Posted by: Karen | July 15, 2005

First Half Marathon – The Race

I met up with Krista, Linda P. and Linda L., Dawn, and Linda L?s Mom close to the tank at the Mewata Armoury. I was the last to arrive, and I had cut the timing close. I said quick, excited hellos, checked my bag, and then quickly got into a porta pottie line up with 10 minutes to spare before the start. When I got into the porta pottie there were still lots of folks behind me. When I got out, there were only 3 people, also exiting their little blue rooms. We gave alarmed looks to each other and quickly headed towards the start. My buddies were waiting for me and we trotted to the pack of the pack together. As we walked past the 1:45 pace bunny Krista joked that oops, we?d missed our starting group. I popped my second Imodium and prayed I wouldn?t see the inside of a porta pottie again until the race was over. Dawn snapped a couple of shots of us waiting for the shot gun start, and then we were off.

Linda L. and I started off at a gentle warm-up pace but within the first km we were well in front of the 2:30 pace bunny, called Too Tall Dave. TTD was indeed a very tall guy and whenever I saw him during the race it looked like he barely even picked up his feet. It was a gorgeous morning. The sun shone and the high promised to reach only 20C/68F. We settled into a jog slightly faster than we usually go for our long runs. I could talk, but not constantly. After the first 20 minutes or so we took our first walk break and I set my watch to 10/1s. Entertainment included a guy on a keyboard and a brass band. Later we saw belly dancers and a juggler. Whenever we saw photographers on bridges and down on the ground we gave them big smiles and thumbs up.

We tended to hit water stops just before our walk breaks, so we took our breaks earlier and often didn?t listen to the beeps on my watch. I had Ultima in my water bottle, so didn?t take any Gatorade, but I took water, mostly for dumping over my head. I grabbed water-filled sponges at nearly every stop and squeezed them over my hat and neck. The water cooled me as it evaporated, but I discovered later that a lot of it made it?s way down to my shorts.

Before long we saw the elites on their way back and we cheered some on. Whenever we saw a fellow Roadrunner we gave a whoop of encouragement. After we turned around, we took note of where our 2:30 pace bunny was, as a gauge of our progress. I missed seeing Linda P., because in my starting excitement I?d forgotten to take a good look at her and remember what she was wearing. Shame on me ? now how could I cheer her on? I did see Krista and Dawn a couple of times, as the course gave us two out and back opportunities.

Even better than the water stops was the refreshing sight of Yolanda, cheering us on. The course goes close to her house and she was out with her coffee and a big sign she?d made for us. She?d cut out letters from coloured paper and taped them to a big sheet of cardboard. It said ?Go Penguins! You Rock!? It gave me such a boost to see her. I shrieked her name and gave her a big hug. When we came back after our first turnaround she had switched to the other side of the street and we hugged her all over again.

Linda and I took our first gels at somewhere around the 10 km mark, near the belly dancers. We did our first 10km in about 1:07. Wow, two years ago that was my 10k Personal Record! In training I had only taken one gel on the course, but on race morning I?d been able to eat precious little, so we took a second gel at the 10 mile water stop. They were actually handing out Powergels at that stop, but they didn?t have chocolate, so I pulled out my own.

Things got really quiet after that 10 mile water stop. With little more than 3 miles to go, the crowd had thinned quite a bit, and those running close to us were not chatting anymore. My wet shorts caused my thighs to rub, and I remembered a couple of places I?d neglected to apply my Body Glide. Oh well, not far to go now. I struggled to keep up the pace and little gaps started to appear between Linda and me. She?d shorten her stride to wait for me and I?d suddenly remember to stretch out my legs again. We hugged Dawn when we saw her, and cheered on someone who seemed to be with her.

By km 19 I had buckled down and really tried to focus on my form and getting this thing done. We were doing it. We were not as tired as we usually were at this point. Heck, we were darned amazing.

I was so excited when we passed the 20 km marker. 20! Woohoo! We took one last walk break up a bridge and then gently increased our speed bit by bit. There were two preteen girls giving high fives to racers and we gave them ours back with lots of noise. A woman wearing clothes with Florida on them cheered us on. We could hear the music and ran up over the last hump in the road. Linda?s husband was there directing racers to the right lanes, and gave Linda a kiss before we hightailed it in. There were crowds of people lining the last 50 meters, and I heard my name called beside me. I briefly turned my head but didn?t see who it was. Then just to the side in front of me I saw Dianne calling my name and I veered over for one last high five before zipping under the clock.

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Responses

  1. Karen – I don’t know how I missed your full race report and I apologize for being so late with this. You did an awesome job! And beat that 2:30 mark – incredible! Sub 5 marathon, here you come. Proud of you, sweetie.

  2. I’m late again for your race report, Karen, sorry. 😦

    Sounds like it was great race though. Lots of fun and lots of people you knew. Sometiems races are lonely for me because I don’t know anyone there, but it sounds like that wasn’t a problem for you. Congrats on a great race! Sounds like you finished strong too. Whoohoo!


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