I set my race gear out on Saturday night, hoping I hadn't forgotten anything super important. The last thing I wanted was to forget my Garmin. How else would I obsessively check my pace and see how far I had run so far, or rather, how long I had left to go?
I thought about what I had done previously in the last half marathons I have ran to get ready. Besides training, it's important to be ready mentally and gear-wise. I usually pack two gels to have on hand just in case I need the extra boost during a race. I did the same this year. Another awesome thing to bring is Vaseline. If you want to avoid blisters, this is your savior. Race bib (complete with pins) and watch are definite necessities, too.
After I had my stuff together, I headed up to my room and got my race outfit ready. Shorts, sports bra, and a long sleeve tech shirt. Now time for bed!
Whole wheat toast with peanut butter and banana is always, always, ALWAYS my pre-race fuel. No exceptions. I will actually go out of my way to buy what I need for breakfast if I am out of supplies. Call me crazy, but when you find something that works, stick with it! I made breakfast around 5:10AM and had a good two hours and twenty minutes to digest before the race started.
On to the race.
It was an absolute gorgeous day! Early in the morning it was cold, which is why I figured a long sleeve shirt would be good. I also thought, "Well, it is still cold at 9:20AM when I leave for work in the morning, so this way I won't freeze." However, as my aunt and I got running, I noticed that it was getting hotter and hotter. Either that or I was just warming up faster than I thought. It usually takes me a while, but then again, I had my arms covered rather than short sleeves. Me so smart.
Anyway, the course took us through downtown Victoria along Johnson St, then we turned to head down to Beacon Hill park. The elite runners were already blazing past us 36 minutes in when I was just heading towards the fifth mile. I was trying to think of how far they had already ran. Surely a turn had to be up there SOMEWHERE. Nope, we kept going, and going, and finally looped back to the spot the elites had passed us at. This was around mile seven. Talk about speedy!
After Beacon Hill park, we ran towards Dallas Rd. along the waterfront. This is one of my favourite places to run in Victoria, despite the gradual inclines and small hills. I have run the area twice (once in the Times Colonist 10K in 2011, then the McNeill Bay Half in September), so I kind of knew what to expect. Of course, it's different at every race. However, one great thing about running along Dallas Rd. was there was some great course entertainment and lots of water stops. I got into a good groove during the last half of the race, and I kept an even pace. Legs felt happy, breathing felt great, and I was running with a smile on my face. That's all that counts, right?
Overall, this race met my expectations. The only thing I regret is taking too much time at the beginning, which meant I would have to push extra hard and be on the verge of seven minute miles to get my personal best time. I knew that wasn't going to happen, but I also knew that it wasn't my last half marathon. I am only 20 years old, and I have ran four half marathons this year alone. I am SO proud of myself for that fact, especially since 2012 is the first year I even began to do half marathons. It's crazy how you can progress if you let yourself.
You are so much stronger than you think you are.
I give this race two thumbs up, a big smile, and a big "HELL YES!" because I am so proud of myself for always going out there and enjoying it.
I hope you all had a fantastic weekend!