Race morning came early, as my roomie Meggan Franks was up around 5:30. While this is actually 2:30am at home, I didn't feel too bad considering I had fallen asleep before 9:30pm, so still about 8 hours sleep with waking up about 2-3 times as usual. It was still slightly early for me, so though I was awake, I stayed in bed until nearly 6:30.
I then got up and had some breakfast and water before getting dressed and down to the lobby for 7:45 to take the shuttle to the race site. It was a beautiful sunny day, but still somewhat cold. The wind had toned down from the last 2 days, but was still there. The weather report stated it was supposed to increase throughout the day.
We were on the shuttle and arrived to the race site shortly after 8:30. We were led into the elite room where they had cots set up. I ditched my stuff and then took a quick walk around and down to the start and finish area to take a closer look. Took a few picture along the way and simply distracted myself. By the time I got back my hands were frozen and as I was told my nose was red.
Race Start and 4km
Soon after, I headed off on a warm up with Kate Bazeley, Erin MacLean and Leslie Sexton. Along the way back we ran into Josiane Aboungono. My legs felt pretty good in the warm up, except my right groin/hip area was a bit off.
By the end of my warm up I didn't notice it anymore though. A stop in the elite room to drop some clothes and then off to the start line for some drills and strides. Before I knew it, we were on the line with a few minutes to go.
Just after the start a thought went through my head "Crap, I forgot to put my gel into my pocket." I knew they would be handing out power gels at 11.5km so I would have to make due with that. I went out slightly fast but the legs were feeling good. We hit a dirt path just about 1km in and I suddenly found myself running on a ledge of dirt. I quickly moved over as I didn't want to risk rolling my ankle on such an uneven surface.
We did a loop around and hit the start again at 4km (15:01) and I was still feeling good. I had settled into a pace. I think at around 7km I started to feel as though I was slowing, but I kept plodding along. I hit the 10km marker at 37:55 which was right on pace. A few points up to this point had been in the wind, but never for too long.
That is when everything went downhill. Throughout the race I found myself with a slight headache and in the later stages my upper left calf (right below the knee) and my left hamstring started to tighten. At 11.5km I grabbed one of their gels, thankfully grabbing vanilla (a flavor I could handle); however, due to the liquid consistency half of it slopped all over the side of my face (YUM). I grabbed a water a short time later, but lost nearly all of it, except 1 measly sip by the time I got it to my mouth.
By 15km I wanted to drop out. I was hurting, my pace was slowing and I wasn't having fun mentally. I don't remember which spots were exactly in the wind, but at times it seemed like it was swirling. One spot I would hit it head on and then when I switched directions and thought it would be a tailwind, it would be a headwind again. I do know I felt it around 3-4.5km 9.5-11.5km. Again from 15-17.5km, 18.5-20km.
At just over 17.5km I had some man start drafting behind me. At this point I was frustrated with the wind and the fact that had been in no mans land alone to battle it. I was not going to have this man draft off me so I made a sharp move to the side, he passed me saying something in french and I continued on my way. I apologize now to the man, but at that point if I had to battle the wind alone nearly the whole race, then so could he.
Near the end of the race (mentally "frustrated" by this point)
My slowest km came from 19-20km where the gusts of wind nearly stopped me in my tracks. I was in survival mode for the last 5km. I crossed the line in 1:21:38 and at the time I was completely unimpressed. I was disappointed in myself because I felt like I was ready to break that 80' barrier going into the race. Not meeting that goal, disappointed me. I could not see the fact that in tough conditions I ran only 45 seconds off of my best time and that I also ran my 2nd fastest half marathon. In my mind at the time, it was 80' or nothing.
Roomie Photo Op (Meggan and myself)
Waiting for awards (Leslie, Joasiane, Erin and myself)
Kate won, followed by Leslie and then Erin. Anne-Marie and Josiane rounded out the top 5 Canadians.
Top 5 women (Anne-Marie 4th, Erin 3rd, Kate 1st, Leslie 2nd, Josiane 5th)
For the men, Olympian Eric Gillis took top spot, followed by Matt Loiselle, Rejean Chaisson, Giitah Macharia and then coach Matt Clout took 5th Canadian spot.
Top 5 men (Giitah 4th, Rejean 3rd, Eric 1st, Matt L 2nd, Missing Matt C 5th)
I picked up my age group award as I wanted something from the event (I was 3rd in my age group 30-34) and after I got my medal they proceeded to tell me I had won a 2nd one. They then gave me a masters medal. I was confused.... masters? I am 30. They explained that they recognize pre-masters starting 30. Well that was new to me. It certainly made me laugh though.
We then grabbed the shuttle back to the hotel, a quick shower, packing and then thankfully due to Meggan staying another night, I didn't have to leave at the 3pm late check out. We hung out until around 4pm and then Matt and I headed off to the airport for our 5:55pm flight.
That flight didn't leave until about an hour after the original scheduled time. This time I thankfully got a window seat thanks to the lovely couple that had booked the window and aisle seat hoping that the middle would be left empty. No such luck on a booked solid flight. So they gave me the window and I killed time taking photos and watching movies.
My thoughts on the race? Likely would have been faster without the wind. I feel as though the overall effort was actually harder than my 1:20:53 at First Half in February. I do believe if the conditions were different, I would have at least had a PB and been closer to that elusive 80' mark. I am glad I went and had a great experience. It will happen, I just have to wait a bit longer until it does. Patience right?
Special thanks to VIRA, Bastion, BC Athletics and CRS for making this trip happen. Also thanks to Saucony for shipping some AMP PRO2 Recovery tights to Montréal so that I had them for the flight home! LOVE compression!
Full results found here.