I feel like I've come full circle, STWM was my first half, waaaay back in 2008. This was the first half I've actually trained for since that one, all of my other HMs have been part of full marathon training.
I noticed that the weather pattern was identical to Oakville a month ago - horrible downpour on expo Saturday, and miraculously clearing on race morning.
Met up with the DM crew pre-race, everyone else went off to bag check and that left Emma and I with Dan, her brother and Barb to enjoy the swanky secret bathrooms.
The plan was to run 5:20/k for a small PR.
The start (5:45, 5:24, 5:16, 5:12, 5:13, 5:02)
Got in the corral, but woke up seriously dehydrated so I had chugged a large amount of Gatorade + water along with coffee and that along with nerves made me have to take a last minute potty break while O Canada was playing. First couple kms were slow due to the crowd, but we hit a significant downhill stretch at 4K and made up the time.
Lakeshore (5:21, 5:18, 5:24, 5:22, 5:18, 5:23, 5:15, 5:19, 5:27)
I honestly don't remember much of this. The pace didn't feel bad, but I was focusing inwardly, stay relaxed, good form. I was so focused that I didn't even notice if anyone was wearing a particularly hideous outfit. Cheered for the elite Canadian women as they went by and looked for Sam/Kenny/Nicole but I think they passed right at a point where the road split off into a wider V. The final split was the hill at Jameson, which has killed me at previous races (40K of Goodlife FM 2012) so I just took it at even effort. Didn't even remember running over the 10K timing mat, but Emma tells me we hit it just as I yelled out a split.
The final stretch (5:22, 5:28, 5:24, 5:35, 5:12, 6:38, 4:00)
The most memorable and horrible thing that happened was my water bottle falling out of my belt, not once, but TWICE at 19K. Both times I stopped and went back to get it, and I could have let Emma go, but I was determined to finish with her. I sprinted right on the Lakeshore overpass hill (ow ow ow), mustered every last bit of energy I had left and screamed, "EMMA! I'M RIGHT BEHIND YOU!" and managed to pull even. Saw Paul around 19K and barely managed a wave.
The final kilometer is a very mild uphill. It is brutal on spent legs. The first part is the tunnel that screwed up my satellites big time, hence the 6:38 split. I remember briefly glancing down and seeing 5:0x, even though it felt like running through molasses. Of course my legs wanted to give up and my brain wanted to give up like I had on so many fast training runs this cycle. But somehow I remembered my track workouts and pushed through even when I wanted to die.
Garmin go cuckoo! Stupid tunnel and downtown buildings. I couldn't go that fast even with a rocket strapped to my butt.
So this is the fastest half marathon I've run in 2 years and although not a PR, it somehow felt like a PR as this was a good test of my fitness on a "normal" difficulty (not downhill) course.
My next HM is in 2 weeks, it is the downhill course and I will see if I can finally better my time.
Official chip time: 1:53:56
Field Placement: 2939 / 10103 (29.1%)
Age group: 35 – 39
Group Placement: 135 / 777 (17.4%)
Gender Placement: 890 / 5363 (16.6%)