Monday, May 17, 2010

Mississauga Half Marathon - A Huge Success!

What a perfect day for a long run it was yesterday!  Sunny, warm, a bit of a breeze and just a gorgeous day all-around!

I was somewhat surprised at the amount of clothing that many of the runners had on in the morning... it was about 11 degrees celsius at race start... hope no one overheated!  I dressed appropriately in far less than I would usually wear (imagine my surprise that I got it right!? - LOL)

The first 3-4 km was rife with negative self-talk that I couldn't make stop... highly annoying, since it was drowning out my playlist!!  Damn that pessimistic woman in my brain!!

I saw some friends near the start, some of whom were ready to run their first FULL marathon - I was so excited for Sandra, in particular... remembering December 2007 when we almost tied for last place at a local 10.8km race!  Look at her now!  Go, Sandra, go!! 

I just settled in and trundled along... looking for dogs... debating in my head whether I needed or 'should' stop for a potty break each time I saw an opportunity...and mentally 'racing' the race walker I kept running into... I finally introduced myself to her (Janet) and was able to pace myself off her for most of the race... I cannot imagine walking as fast as my run pace... pretty cool!

The kilometer markers seemed to fly by yesterday... last time I ran Mississauga, I remember seeing 7km and thinking:  oh my god... how much longer will this take?? 

My mental outlook improved hugely when I hit the 10km mark at a record-breaking (my records may not be hard for most people to break.. by the way...but it's all about personal bests...) 1:10!!  Wow!  I had shaved a good 5-8 minutes off my typical 10km time!  That was encouraging!!!  At that point, I promised myself that no matter what my finish time was, I'd just run my fastest 10km ever and would celebrate that, regardless.

There weren't as many dogs along the course but I made friends with a lovely chocolate lab puppy named Madison, whom I stopped to hug and pet twice :) Her 'mummy' was very encouraging too! :)

It was wonderful to see spectators, outside, waving and cheering... and for once, each time I saw a race photographer, I didn't have to worry about 'putting on a happy face' because I actually felt strong and happy throughout!  Here's hoping at least one of those shots is a 'keeper'... I have a scrapbook to maintain... :)

The course was changed this year and needless to say, I'd been completely oblivious to that fact till I realized I had NO IDEA where the FINISH line was...  my Garmin died ('memory full') about 1km from the finish line so that was no help at all... "Who moved the finish line?" was foremost in my mind!!

Finally... the finish line popped out of nowhere and before I knew it, I was sprinting through the the chute... woo hoo!  I ran a 2:29 (that's about 20-25 minutes faster than my best prior half marathon) and I didn't feel the least bit broken afterwards!

Post-race, I was met by two of the most wonderful women I know:  Betty-Lou and Janette (who not only are fabulous longtime runners and friends but recently joined my Yoga for Athletes and I'm so glad I've had an opportunity to get to know them!) who passed me water as we sat on the grass before waiting for the shuttle back to the start line.  A large lunch followed and then a bubble bath and a 3.5 hour nap for me... It was a PERFECT DAY!

Lessons Learned:
  1. I can muzzle that stupid voice that lives inside my brain - I am not a loser... I can do a lot more than I give myself credit for
  2. Learning to drink Gatorade in training was a big help and it was a very welcome sight on the course when I got overheated and knew sodium deficit was the most likely culprit
  3. Consistency in training pays off in HUGE dividends!  I know that most of you already know this... but I have to keep reminding myself!
The most surprising part of the day for me (apparently Eric already believed I would do this yesterday...) was that my 'Dream Goal' of running a 2:30 half-marathon was achieved! 'Already??!' is what that lunatic inside keeps asking...yes, apparently, already... now what??

'Now what?' indeed... in 6 weeks I will do my first triathlon of the season at Welland.

But first... I have to don my new 2XU wetsuit and plunge myself into (what I anticipate being) freezing cold Lake Kelso on Saturday morning and fight off the mental panic and asthma attack that usually paralyze me at the start of an open water swim in early season...   Maybe I'll wear my goldfish swim cap for good luck...

Congratulations to all of the runners & walkers at the Mississauga Marathon 2010 -- each of us stepped up to the challenge and did something great!