Yesterday I ran half marathon number eight in sunny Victoria.
I picked up my race gear Friday afternoon and headed up to Victoria again Sunday morning. The half marathon started at 7:30AM, so I was up just after 5AM to eat my usual peanut butter & banana toast, get dressed and drive to the start.
I don't usually wear my race shirts on race day, mainly because I like running in things that are familiar to me, but I tried this shirt on and was super happy with it right off the bat. It fit well and was a good length for me (I like my shirts a bit longer to give me more room to move), so I figured why not. The shirt was a good pick!
So, let's get to the run.
I got myself settled in the middle of the pack (or what I thought was middle-ish) and the race started at 7:30AM right on the dot. There were 4659 half marathon participants, so of course the first couple miles were going to be crowded.
Is it just me, or do you get impatient waiting for the crowd to disperse? Being in the middle of the crowd with little room to weave around people made it frustrating to hit my goal pace (or anywhere near it) for the first two miles. Nevertheless, I settled into my goal pace at mile three, and then I started getting some side cramps.
What? This never happens to me. And when I say never, I mean never. I skipped the first water station and grabbed a cup of water at the second, and as soon as I drank it another side cramp popped up. Breathing into it worked for a bit, and then it would sneak back up on me once I got into a rhythm. The side cramping lasted on and off throughout the whole race, but I kept pushing and tried to keep it out of my mind. That and the fact that I was bustin' up hills and my quads were crying.
Note to self: You don't like yellow Cytomax, so don't take it at the water stations otherwise you will feel like garbage. Yeah, that happened twice during this race.
Second note to self: Use your fuel belt more, dammit! Get used to it and you won't have to go through the aid stations. Who woulda thunk?
That aside, the weather was absolutely perfect for the race. We ran alongside a beautiful sunrise, and it wasn't too hot or too cold at any point of the race. I think the shirt was a smart choice, and I'm glad it worked out!
One of the best things about this race: the volunteers. They are SO helpful, cheerful, and they add to the excitement of race day. Running by them and having them clap for you, wave, shout, smile, etc. is so encouraging and you can tell they enjoy being out there. I made an effort to say thank you or at least wave/smile at the volunteers I passed, and an extra thank you to those I encountered off the course as well. It's not easy to wake up at 6AM on a Sunday morning, but I thank everyone who was out there for us runners.
Overall the race went well. Performance wise, I'm not super ecstatic with my finish time, but I am beyond proud of myself for pushing through those damn side cramps and sore quads and finishing strong. Other than that, I felt really good physically! My head was in the game, and now I have more of an appetite for working extra hard this season to really get after my goals and push extra hard. Plus this race is always fantastic and gorgeous so it's hard not to enjoy it!
Hope you all had a fantastic weekend! Congratulations to all the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon runners & everyone else who raced this weekend! :)