Brace yourself this is a long one….
Friday while working the expo for Nuun I went and got my bib. Trust me I stalled, found reasons not to go. Once I finally got my packet it honestly wasn’t until I actually looked at my bib that I got emotional. It hit me this is real. I was going to be running a half marathon.
Since I have some pretty good food intolerance and such I had to work closely with Blair on a feeding schedules (sounds like I’m a baby) so on Saturday I consumed a lot of bananas on top of drinking the ensure thru the week and up to Saturday. So I had a schedule, which included eating before bed and setting an alarm for the middle of the night. Trust me it felt completely odd but I had to trust in the plan and Blair.
I can’t tell you I slept much Saturday night not sure if it was a combination of being in a hotel room (which was warm) or nerves setting in and doubt.
Sunday morning again I ate accordingly to the plan. I got myself ready, didn’t rush and took my time. I wasn’t chancing anything so I stuck to it. Although I was wanting a coffee badly. Koren and I did a lot of prep work the night before, made hydration packs full of nuun and plus. I made my food in advance so I was ready Sunday.
My nerves had arrived. Part of my game plan was to sharpie my arms with the pace Blair and I discussed to the times I needed to fuel.
Once we were dressed (Yes I matched from hat to nails to socks..#TeamNuun), we made our way to the starting area which was on University Avenue. Earlier during the expo I ran into part of my running family who gave me advice, support and encouragement. So when I saw the rest of the family before I went to my corral they helped me. It’s always amazing how supportive everyone is, how much encouragement is given. Hugs and smiles are always welcomed!
I’m going to be honest. I forced Koren out of my corral. I couldn’t do this with her near me or knowing we could be so close. So while at the expo I made her change her corral.
Standing in my corral, I gave myself the pep talk. Follow the plan. No matter how crazy people think it is. It started to rain which I was ok with. The weather was above seasonal and I could feel the humidity creeping in. This made me realize the goal was just to finish and not by way of a medical tent.
It was go time. The first 6k, I took my time as I was suppose to do. I took in the sights, the extremely load cheering section on Bloor street, embraced the rain and stayed on course.
I was beyond thankful for the woman standing and cheering with a box of Kleenex, she was my saving grace!
Once I hit the stretch where I was passing people who were already passed the turn around, I picked up my pace. There is something about 1000’s of people passing you, cheering you on randomly and giving high fives. I ran across a few of my run family members who gave me pushes, cheers and hugs! Sometimes that’s all you need to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
I was able to catch up to JP (He ran the marathon 4 times check out his story at http://www.runjprun.com), we took a selfie at the 9km mark. What makes this man so humble was he was hurting he was on Marathon 4, but he was asking me if I was on pace, making sure I was ok. That is an awesome guy. Once I hit the 10k mark Koren called to check up on me. I was motoring along.
Just before the halfway mark, the crowd had thinned out. It was just me and a couple people in front but we were just all moving along. I called my Dad. I needed reassurance I had it in me. It was at this point I hit the wall. My body was getting warm and the humidity was horrible. The wall was a hard hit. Talked to my dad and four year nephew who just told me to get it done.
Once I rounded the turn around and started on the big long home stretch, my knee started acting up. I hurt my knee when I did my last long run out with the snakes. I thought the healing was happening, but at this point I just felt the present pain. The oddest thing was walking was horrible but if I maintained a light jog it didn’t hurt as bad. But I felt the pain.
So by 13km I knew it was my heart at this point. I gave myself the mental talk, prayed and thought of everyone who could do this but didn’t and those afraid to try.
Since I did the waterfront 10k, the route was familiar, I knew when I had a hill, where I sort of was and was able to keep pushing. I used downhills to my advantage. I was following my gel plan so much it was perfect my intakes. I didn’t have issues with lack of energy which rocked.
When I hit the 18k, I was excited to finally see a cheering crowd! Trust me the last cheering crowd or people on the sidelines was back on Bloor Street. Thank you Heather and the Tribe for being out there for us back of the pack runners. Truly means a lot that you believe in all of us and you stick it out for everyone. Wish more cheer sections had your tribe outlook!
So this is where my game plan changed again, I had the ramp to go up and down. I had fuelled myself, looked at my watch and was determined to do the last 3k as best and fast as I could. I was prepared to crawl with my gimpy knee.
When I rounded to come up the evil Bay Street last KM climb, I knew I had it in me. Besides the dreaded slow climb of a hill the underpass under the train tracks has to be the most dangerous section of this whole run. Zero lights and dark as can be. Dodging pot holes with my phone flash light wasn’t cool!
So this is where Blair told me to run my tank empty. Suck back the fumes. Save the energy for. Once I saw the 200 metre to go sign, I knew I had enough fuel left to sprint the rest of the way. I can’t really even describe this feeling. The crowd was cheering, there was loads of people and it just was crazy.
I can tell you this when I saw Koren and Matt standing there just before the finish cheering I got emotional. I was 40 feet from the finish. I did it. I actually did it.
I crossed the finish needing my puffer and almost barely able to put weight on my left leg. The medical team was truly awesome. I was crying but I can’t even tell you all what I said. But I do remember telling the lady that I did it.
So my stats and my own personal goal. I told Blair my goal was 3:30 or less. It seemed realistic, obtainable but I also was fully aware weather and body could change the goal. So I just wanted to enjoy the experience.
I completed my first half in 3:28:31. Below my goal time. The best part of this is I had negative splits (look at the pace). Look at these stats. So beyond proud of myself. This is so huge for someone like me. I did something many aim to do. So again it’s all part of the plan. Get yourself a sharpie. It doesn’t come off in rain…
Some mentions now:
During the course of my run I was messaged a few times by Mike who was tracking me via the up to date app. He kept giving the encouragement. What surprised me the most was coming to the end of the finishers shoot to the family area and he was standing there. Complete surprise. It blew me away. Pretty sure thank you isn’t enough to cover the surprise and the encouragement because I’m pretty sure at some point he got a text with the “why did I sign up for this” including the attitude.
Blair who also was tracking me sent me a message which I heard in my ear. Totally made me laugh as he knew how close I was in beating the time we set. So yes everyone needs a text that goes “hurry the f up ffs”. Blair, I couldn’t of done this without you, you believed in me and calculated a plan, assisting in food prep and mostly just checking in and listening to me have “diva moments”. This half was just as much yours as it was mine. Just be ready to get the plan ready for the next one. And remember you can’t get rid of me as much as you try. I appreciate you way too much!
Matt who was not running but cheering gave me all the extra hug and support before the run. When I was coming up that final stretch and I heard his famously loud whistle it was the drive I needed. He’s supported me and encouraged me from start to finish. I can’t say thank you enough. You’ve been at all the milestone runs, 10k, 15k and my first half. Maybe the full one you can woggle it beside me!
Alex who made me this sign between her own run and mine. Who called me the night before and basically tucked me into bed, told me to just have fun. You were a rock during the 10k and I’m thankful SM connected us.
Well lastly, Koren well I can’t say enough. But the few phone calls, the hugs and the support for any crazy idea I get to do random training runs. Vent and get all crazy. You know how to handle me. You’re my bestie and my running partner in crime. One day I might allow you to run a half with me but until then, you’re not allowed in my corral. Sorry but not sorry!
To the rest of my running family, you all know who you are, to the encouragement at the expo, to the hugs before hand and to the messages afterwards. You know it touched me that I have the support. I didn’t do this alone. So thank you. You all are unique and beyond special to me.
My nuun family! I love you all, even you crazy Chicago Boys. You made me smile over crying on Friday and reconfirmed people believe in me.
I earned the medal on Sunday, it was not given.
So my next half… I’m going to be running that with a US run family, I hope no one tells me stairs are involved etc after. So look out Alabama, this girl is on a mission come February I’m coming for a new PB!
To anyone reading this who thinks they can’t do a half… it’s an excuse. I’m plus size, I ran this half 85lbs lighter but it wouldn’t of stopped me. You just need to believe in you. Believe in your body. One foot in front of the other. We all get to the same finish line. So don’t let fear stop you in trying. If I let fear win I’d still be on the couch.
**Side note any post run pics that look so messed up of me… it’s cause I’m trying not to cry**