Sunday, May 30, 2010

Half Marathon: Race Day

Pre-race photos

Race day morning I awoke around 5:00am, although the plan was to sleep until 6:00am, I could not sleep any longer. I had a large cup of coffee and a bagel with cream cheese and tomatoes. Typically peanut butter and banana would offer more energy, but I wasn’t sure it was going to digest well with me that morning so I opted for something lighter.

The weather was perfect for running, 17C and overcast and no humidity. I lined up with 10,000 other ½ marathon participants. Noting my goal time was between 1:45 and 1:50 I lined up slightly ahead between the 1:40 and 1:45 pace bunny. When the gun went off we slowly made our way over the start line and then the pace quickly picked up as we ran down Wellington and over the Portage Bridge into Gatineau.
The course of the Quebec side consists of a lot of downs and a few ups with many switchbacks. When on top of the hills you can look ahead and see the sea of runners down below, it is an unbelievable sight. You finally cross over the MacDonald Cartier Bridge and head down Sussex into Ottawa.

This is the stretch of the course that really motivates me. The sides of the course and the overhead bridges are lined with thousands of spectators cheering and encouraging the runners on, an amazing feeling. The course then continues down Colonel By Drive, wraps around Bronson and then down Queen Elizabeth Drive towards the downtown finish line.

It is at the 3km mark that the crowds begin to thicken and the cheering becomes deafening. I still had so much energy left in me which was awesome; however I could feel the cramping starting in my knees and was trying to push out more speed. Finally by the 300m mark I began to sprint to the finish line and was more than elated to reach my new personal best (PB) of 1:44:56. My husband sprinted by me at the last stretch and hit is new PB of 1:44:53.

I think one of the best parts of the race was not only achieving a new PB, having so much spectator support, but it was seeing my husband ahead of me at the finish line and finishing the race almost together. We’d both run the ½ before, but never together, to see him during the race and at the end was a great feeling. It certainly showed that our dedication, hard training and support for each other during the training phase paid off immensely. As they say a couple that runs together stays together.

During the race I used a number of mantras that I had mentioned in a previous post. However, iRun magazine also had a list of why iRun, which really motivated me and kept my mind focused during the race. Here are some of the iRun magazine reasons why iRun:

iRun for the ones I love who can’t
iRun to stay in shape
iRun because my kids need a healthy mom
iRun for fun
iRun for endorphins
iRun because I want to learn what I am capable of
iRun because this addiction is better than my last
iRun so I can eat chocolate
iRun to start a better day
iRun for my family
iRun to quiet my mind
iRun because it gives me a feeling of accomplishment
iRun because it’s an addiction

If we recover well from this one we are hoping to race again in the fall.

Happy with my new PB 1:44:56
New PB of 1:44:53


  1. I agree it was great to see you out there and running the same race together, especially when you were ahead of me at the end...I had to close that gap...ha! You completed an amazing time and looked strong. I hope we can run the 1/2 in sept together for sure.

    My favourite iRun; (which I used in the race actually)
    iRun for the ones I love who can’t

    It is such a great weekend and event that everyone, running or not, should try and get out is truly inspiring.

  2. I visit first time your blog. Thanks for giving such useful information.

  3. We are looking for people to Join the 15th Annual Team Spirit Long Beach 5k and 10K marathon and help put an end to breast and ovarian cancer today!. You can help distribute brochures and yard signs to local stores, offices, and restaurants! Are you a people person? We have many community events where Team Spirit needs a presence. Volunteer to work a table at one of these events to hand out brochures and spread information about Team Spirit, and recruit participants! Already attending the marathon? Then help volunteer the day of the event. We need groups to assist with set up, participant check-in, new registrations, and drive or co-pilot shuttle vans. We will also need people to man water stations, and course monitors to assure participants’ safety and morale.