I signed up for the Edmonton half-marathon at the very last minute…literally there was only 4 hours left to register!! It wasn’t that I was being a total procrastinator (well that was part of it); it was mostly because I was humming and hawing about running (and racing) the full distance. My plan was to run the full with the intention of trying to qualify for Boston in 2017. I knew Edmonton would be my last chance to attempt to qualify, which I’d been thinking about ever since I crossed the Boston finish line back in April. So as the months and weeks ticked by leading up to the Edmonton Marathon, I had a lot of “what-if’s” I needed to answer before hitting the button to register.
First I wanted to see how my 50 miler went and wanted to make sure I was injury free before I signed up for another big race. After that went okay, I knew the main thing I had to do was make sure my head was in the game. This was a super important point that my husband brought up. He said to me “I think you should do it, but only if you truly believe you can and your eye is on the prize”. This to me was the most important piece of advice, I needed to be willing to push it, and as I got to the final week and days before the race I realized my head just wasn’t in it. I couldn’t find that burning desire that made me want to race that distance, and I realized there would be other Boston’s…2017 wasn’t going to be my year! So with all that being said,I decided I still wanted to race on the weekend and signed up to run the half.
Since this race was so last minute for me, I figured I had nothing to lose and I may as well go for it and see what I could do. My plan was to go out at a 1:33’ish half pace, and since the course is pretty flat and the weather was looking perfect for racing, I figured that pace was totally possible. The morning of the race I headed down to the start line with my cheering squad consisting of my mom, her best friend and one of my best friends from Calgary (who even made a sign to cheer me on #best). I thought I was going to be super relaxed off the start, but my stomach was feeling a little off which I figured was just nerves. With 10 minutes until go time, I shuffled into the starting chute, found the 1:35 bunny and positioned myself near her.
At 8am the gun went off and I started off though downtown Edmonton. The first few km’s of a race for me are all about getting around the crowds, finding my rhythm and settling into a pace, which is how my race started; but after about 3km I realized I was feeling off and I was going a little too fast. I told myself it was all good, but by 5km I was still going a little too hard and started to feel a little nauseous. I tried to ignore it and once I had some water it made me feel a little better and I finally settled into my goal pace. At 7km I saw my cheering squad, which gave me a huge boost, especially since my friend looked so excited to see me! Unfortunately, this didn’t last too long and by the 11km mark I knew I had been slowing down and at around 12km the 1:35 bunny ran past me. I’m not going to lie, my heart sunk a little when she passed, but I hoped she was going a little fast and that there was still hope for me!
At 14km, I saw my cheerleaders again and got some well needed high-fives, but I kept getting waves of nausea. I tried to ignore it and I used the bunny ahead to keep my focus and distract me from my funny tummy. With about 2km to the finish line, I knew I wasn’t going to get under 1:35, but I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be too far off and I really wanted to finish strong, so I pushed the pace and gave it everything I had! I finished in 1:35:43, 39secs off my PB and 44secs off my goal time.
All in all I’m happy with how I ran this race even though I know I went out a little too fast out the gate. I think this half has confirmed for me that my legs are capable of going faster, but it’s my nausea that’s my limiting factor. It’s also taught me that every distance is a hard fought race if you go out with the intention to push the pace (like my poetry there?! lol). I know I can run 21.1km, but I know that if I really want to race 21.1km and break that 1:35 threshold I need to do more half-specific training. I’m not sure when that training is going to happen or for what race since I have a 50km Sept 10, a 10km Sept 17 and a half that I’m pacing Oct 23…but I know that I want to train properly for my next one and that I intend on busting through that 1:35 time on the clock!!