I have nothing to prove, no set time to get. My goal is to get to the finish line comfortably.
That is what I wrote as a social media post the night before my race. What follows is how the event unfolded for me. What I learned (not for the first time) is how much fun I have when I let go of the outcome and enjoy the process instead!
I don’t remember being as excited to cross a finish line as I was when I crossed the line at the Bluenose Half Marathon this year. I couldn’t be sure if my calf would hold up so couldn’t be sure if I’d even make it to the finish line. At the start line, I stood next to the 2:30 pace bunny but soon after the race began, I found myself next to the 2:20 pace bunny. At the first km mark my watch beeped and I noticed my time was 6:40. It was hard to believe as I felt I was running really slowly. Still, it was too fast, considering I hadn’t been running faster than 7 min/km so I slowed down even more and let the 2:20 pace bunny go ahead.
At 2.5km, I felt my leg wince with pain. I started walking and thought to myself, “Oh no, this is going to be a LONG race”. I contemplated how I’d feel if I pulled out of the race. I chose to carry on walking. When I ran again my calf was a little tender but the pain was manageable. I walked every hill and within a couple of kilometres, I noticed there was no more pain. Still, I walked every hill or anytime I felt the slightest strain in my lower leg.
At 9km, I caught up to some people I had been with at the start of the race. It wasn’t long before I passed them (and others I had been leap-frogging with) and soon I was at the 10 km mark.
Now I was moving into unknown territory. I hadn’t run longer than 10 km since the 25km trail race I had done in Australia two months prior. As each kilometre went by, I felt strong and comfortable with no pain in my leg. I continued to walk the hills and when I felt I needed to. I had let go of any concern about my time, noticing the time for each kilometre as my watch beeped at me but not having any judgement about it; rather noticing and thinking “8:20 for that kilometre. That’s because I walked the hill.” It was so freeing to run on feel and to not be concerned about a time.
That said, I couldn’t help but estimate my finish time with each kilometre that passed. I kept reminding myself to stay present because anything could happen but I felt so strong and comfortable, I didn’t really believe anything “bad” was going to happen. I was guessing I’d be able to finish in about 2:35.
After all my concern and worry about the weather, neither the wind nor rain was near as bad as forecast. Still, I was glad I wore two layers because when the wind was in my face, it was cold. Also, when the heavens opened at 17 or 18 km, I got well and truly soaked. While it was gross and uncomfortable, I felt good knowing that it could have been so much worse and that we could have had that weather for the whole race, instead of just the few minutes that we did.
At one point, I calculated that if I wanted to finish in 2:30, I’d have to run 6 min/km. I KNEW that wasn’t going to happen!
With the change in direction of the route this year, it was so nice not to be struggling up a long, gentle incline for the last part of the race. Instead, I felt strong and excited to know I was so close to the finish. I had been passing people since about the 9 km mark, with only one or two people passing me.
I had a big smile on my face for that last km and my smile just got bigger and bigger once I saw the “500m to go” sign. There is a nasty little hill to finish this race but I was just so excited to get across the finish line that not even the hill could wipe the smile off my face!
I finish as I began…. I don’t remember being as excited to cross a finish line as I was when I crossed the line at the Bluenose Half Marathon 2018!!