Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

One more check for the list :)

Life goal accomplished!   Today I ran a half-marathon.  Weather was perfect, so got super lucky there being as it's November in Canada ;)

Chris drove me to the start bright and early this am, and even hiked to the start line to keep me company till the start (parking was about half a kilometer away).  So that was really nice -- and had the added benefit that I could keep my jacket till the last second ;)

First part of the race was good.   I was moderately amused by the amount of clothing that had been shed along the side of the road.  It was a longer trek along the road than I had expected, but nbd.  Then we ran down the highway, which was fairly surreal.   That was a long trek that was all down hill.  Very civilized :)   And finish was a run through a trail, which is where I generally choose to run, so I was all for that, and then along the waterfront, which -- being all of 10 mins from home -- is another pretty standard place for me to run.  So basically loved the last 1/4 or so of the race.  Except for the fact that by the end my body had pretty much shut down.  Ugh.  Fail.

The route (starts lower right corner)
My goal was 2:30 and I *almost* made it (finish time 2:32:27).  Somewhat frustrated at that as a km out, I still had more than enough time to make said goal even on a slow day, but I was done.  So done.  It took everything I had to just keep moving one foot in front of the other.   Why?  When 18km two weeks ago wasn't any big deal?  

Well it turns out I'm a tad bit competitive.  Who knew?  ;)    N for the first 10km without really realizing I was doing it, I was making awesome time (for me).  I know I'm not fast, and I'm never going to win.   But anybody who looked like they were going about the same pace I go, I didn't see any reason I couldn't or shouldn't pass them.  And when my watch told me to take my first walk break, I didn't even really register it.   And the second one, thinking it was the first, I chose to ignore.

And were this a 10km race, I probably would've been pretty happy with the results ;)   But shortly after that I started running from break to break -- which I usually don't care about till after about 14km.  So not a good start.  At about 11km, I was past by the first marathon runner.  Sheesh -- that's not demoralizing at all (they started all of 15 mins before us, but the tracks only align for the last part of the race - their extra distance was almost all at the beginning).  Although was another solid 10 mins before the second marathon runner past us, so I feel the first one was an exception.   Several of the top marathoners had bike (either cycle or motor) assisting them so they could clear the pack and hold their line.  That amused me.  What really got me though was the ones finishing in the 15 mins or so before I did who were just loping their way to the finish.  Long solid strides that looked like they hadn't even broken a sweat -- keeping in mind, by this point I could hardly walk and had gone half the distance in more time.  Sheesh.

About kilometer 15, I had a really hard time and admittedly walked most of it.  This gave me enough energy back to at least jog if not actually run the next few.  But the last two...  Those were just brutal.  Usually I get an extra burst when the end is in sight -- even when I'm just running on my own.  And at that point, looking at my watch, I knew fully well I had more than enough time remaining to make my goal.  But no matter how much I wanted to, I couldn't even jog more than a couple steps.   I did manage the last 200m at a painful jog just cause I really couldn't handle walking across the finish line.  But I fought for that.  Hard.

Huge credit to the random spectators throughout the race cheering on and offering encouragement.  Actually made a HUGE difference.   Some were clearly race volunteers, others looking for specific friends or family.   Near the end there were even runners who had already completed.   And some looked like they lived in whichever house we were running by at the time.   But regardless, they were so positive and encouraging to everybody, and it really made a difference -- esp at the end.   That's actually the only reason I managed to run the last 200m -- random strangers encouraging and letting me know just how close it was ;)   There was a sharp rollback right before the finish line, so while I knew I was close cause I'd been there the other day to pick up the race kit and my watch told me I was almost there, I didn't actually know how close cause I couldn't see the finish.

Came across the finish line at the same time as a couple people so my name didn't get announced.  Surprised how disappointed I was about that -- it's not the kind of thing that generally matters to me, and not like I had a gaggle of people in the audience ;)  Ah well.   I crawled my way through the food tent and chose an apple over pizza.  This gives you an idea of how done I was. There is zero chance I could've eaten pizza and kept it down.  Not sure who thought that was a good idea.  Sheesh.  The apple was good though.   Picked the nearest available chair I could find and collapsed into it until Chris made it to pick me up.   And being the awesome husband that he is, he had brought my jacket with him so just as I started to freeze, I was able to warm up.

What did me in was actually the muscle on the outside of my hips.  That was a new one for me, but it basically seized up.  (Both were sore, but left was way worse -- my left hip has zero flexibility ever so not surprising it also complained more).   I wouldn't have been surprised by quads paralyzed with lactic acid, or calves screaming at me for the abuse.  But this was an exciting new version that when combined with a wicked side stitch basically hobbled me.  I made it to the finish on sheer determination and nothing more.   When I finally got up to walk to the car, I was hobbling like I was double my age.  Ugh.  And while not completely lame the rest of the day, definitely moving in slow and careful motion.   On the plus side -- I was able to run through the blisters that appeared about the 15 km mark and by the end was not even noticing them.  And knees and ankles didn't give me any grief at all, which is great.

So am I glad I did it?   Yes.   Am I proud of my little participation medal?  Absolutely!  Do I ever feel the need to do so again?   Not even slightly.  5km maybe -- I like the energy of races and 5km doesn't leave me broken for the next few days.  Nor does it take up my life to train for.  But this silliness?  No thanks.  I did enjoy disposing of my training plan though :)   It's the little things in life.

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