Half Marathon Report : Ottawa Race Weekend

Good evening everyone! I survived my first race of the year and my 2nd half marathon of my life 🙂 It’s 7:13pm as I start to write this which is about 8 hours after I finished my race this morning. Uh oh that’s an early clue to my finish time. You’ll just have to do some investigating or read on. I’m hoping to get this right the first time and not have to do a follow up report like my last HM. So here’s how my day went….hope you’re up for a long read 🙂

5:00am:
Unlike my first race 3 years ago I wasn’t concerned about waking up late when I went to bed. However I found myself up and wide awake at 5am?! I tried to go back to sleep but never could. I lied in bed till the first alarm went off at 6:20am

6:30am:
I went to the washroom then started getting dressed. Once dressed I read a few more blogs while eating about 1/4 of the smoothie I made last night. My smoothie consisted of the following: 2sc protein powder, 1/3c oatmeal, 1 banana, 1tbsp peanut butter, 1c yogurt and 1sc of an amino acid endurance drink Total nutrients for this were:
Calories: 700 Carbs: 80 Fat: 15 Protein: 61 Fibre: 8 Sodium: 216

7:05am:
I picked up my Mom at her place. She said if my Dad was feeling better he was probably going to go. His leg which had the knee replacement last month was killing him. After stopping at her work for her cell phone we were on our way.

8:00am:
I had the other 3/4 of my smoothie now as I wanted it to digest and hopefully let the water in it to pass before the race. I was hoping I wouldn’t have to hold it for the race this time 🙂 My mom had a sausage and egg mcmuffin and black coffee 10 minutes earlier(her choice….was part of her Mother’s Day gift)

8:52am-9:06am:
We were running just on time as we were slow walking towards the start line after trying to talk my youngest sister towards us. Think she mainly came to see our mother but it was still nice seeing her there at the start. At 8:52 I noticed the port-a-potties didn’t have a line up so I told my mom to go ahead and I’d catch up. I sprinted about 50ft to one and then sprinted a couple hundred meters to catch up to my mom. This I guess you could consider this my first ever “warm up” before a race 🙂 At 9am a cheer went out and we were off. Well the ones in the first corral were anyways. It took me 6:18 to cross the start line!

9:06am:
Ok so I was off and running finally after 3+ months of training! Last weekend I planned on starting out with 10:30-11min miles but what I didn’t tell you was this: I said the heck with it I’m going all out today! So the early miles of the race when I looked at my Garmin I’d see 9:24min/m pace and go uh-oh? “Oh well keep it up John you can always go slower later”. I don’t know where this confidence/belief came from because none of my long runs were run faster than 10:53min/m and I think that was a shorter long run. The only times I ran faster than a 10 min average was on my short 4 mile runs.

9:06am-end of race(you don’t think I’d put the end time do you…lol)
Unlike 3 years ago I can’t remember what I was thinking at each mile marker. I can tell you what I was thinking a few different times through out though. I was thinking after hitting 3 miles in under 30 minutes that I wanted to definitely not run a single mile slower than 10 minutes today knowing that would at a minimum beat my previous HM time by a minute or so. Leading up to 6.55 miles on my Garmin I was really hoping to hit it in one hour. I think I was thinking that because more often than not when I looked at my Garmin I’d see a low 9min/m pace. When I did see a higher pace it would almost always be on a hill of some sort. I knew the first half of the race was the hilliest so I busted my butt on those hills trying not to lose time to them and knowing the last half was a lot flatter.

I got some confidence out there from keeping pace with the 2:10 pace bunny and then finally passing him around the 1/2 way point. That was really good moment I thought. I also knew I’d beat my time by more than a minute if that pace bunny never caught me. Around that same point I was really looking for the 16k/10mile marker as I was hoping when I got there I’d be able to run a sub 30m 5.1k like last time. However it seemed to take forever to get there and the closer I got the more I worried I maybe started out too fast. Every time I thought this though I’d look at my watch and see I was running at a low 9min/m pace again and go “oh ok you fool you feel like you’re dying because you’re still running a unbelieveable pace!”. I didn’t really start worrying about the finish till that 16k marker because when I tried to pick it up and run that sub 30 I didn’t have any faster gear left in the tank!

This time around that last 5k seemed like it went on forever! When I hit the 18k marker my body really wanted to walk and it took all I had to keep running. I just kept telling myself “you didn’t bust your ass for 18k to blow it the last 3.1!!).
It seemed to work as I managed to keep running fighting that urge to simply walk. I didn’t get much of a boost till I only had 200m to go and it didn’t seem like much but I ran across that finish line happy to be done and very slightly discouraged I didn’t beat my previous time by a full 4 minutes. It looked like I was going to be about 20 sec shy of PRing it by a full 4 minutes.

I thought I had stopped my Garmin but a minute later it was running so I had to wait till I got home to get an idea of my actual time. In the end I said the heck with my Garmin and figuring it out as I just went online and got my actual chip time. One thing my Garmin didn’t screw up was my distance. It said I ran 13.22 miles which is pretty good considering you are not always in the best position to take the straightest route. I was pretty good at seeing ahead and taking the short line but the last 5k I’d say I lost my mental edge and noticed I wasn’t taking the short route and I didn’t care as I thought the bigger battle was keeping my body from walking.

Here are my splits:
Mile 1: 9:52.59
Mile 2: 9:47.39
Mile 3: 9:43.64
Mile 4: 9:44.59
Mile 5: 9:39.42
Mile 6: 9:38.01
Mile 7: 9:35.54
Mile 8: 9:37.12
Mile 9: 9:39.79
Mile10: 9:52.11
Mile11: 9:28.57
Mile12: 9:49.30
Mile13: 10:09.37
Mile13.1: 2:06.23

Total Time(chip time as my I restarted Garmin accidentally and don’t feel like doing the math on above):

2:08:25………this was 3:59 faster than my previous 2:12:24

POST RACE:
After the race I was looking for my mother and couldn’t see her. They really kept you moving through so made my way into the athlete’s village after grabbing my finisher’s medal. On the way in it was slow as everyone was grabbing bananas,oranges,yogurt and granola bars at the entrance. I ate 1/2 an orange and half a banana plus drank 2 cups of gatorade, 500ml of water and a Power Bar protein shake sampler. While doing this I kept looking around for my mom but couldn’t find her so once I was done eating I started looking for someone with a cell phone. I realized waaaaaayy too late we didn’t have a meet up place set for the end of the race!

Anyways I was to find someone nice enough to let me call her. She was waiting for me to come out of the athlete’s village. Turns out that’s as close as she got to the finish line as the cops barred her from getting there the way she did last time. She’s not familiar with the area so didn’t want to chance finding a different way. I told her next time she wants to go we’d go early enough to find a way to the finish line so she wouldn’t miss it. So last time she saw me finish which shocked her and this time she got to see me start. She was awed by the start as there was like 5000 of us taking off in the first wave and another 5500 waiting to go in the second wave. She enjoyed the day thankfully.

After the race we headed to lunch as that was the last part of her Mother’s Day gift. I suggested Red Lobster when she wasn’t sure where to go and we were off. It turned out to be a good choice for her too as she said she had a craving for a few months now for a good bowl of clam chowder. So we had clam chowder and an appetizer combo of lobster and clam stuffed mushroom caps, bacon wrapped scallops and chicken strips. I ate everything on my plate but the last three strips(out of 5) and ate her last 2 mushroom caps for a total of 6…they were awesome!

From there I took her home and chatted with my dad about the day. When I got home I had to make a delivery as someone had a busy weekend. Then I got on my bike and pedaled out a steady 10 miles at 16.8mph average. I know I’m nuts but like I said before my legs recover faster from a run this way. Now I’m just about done this report and am going to make a late dinner….probably a shake as I want to keep the salt intake down. Red Lobster was a high salt intake today! Fortunately I did my paperwork for the business last night so I can just watch TV and read some blogs the rest of the night.

Final post race thoughts I’ve had :
1. Although I found it in me to pull out my “A” goal today I got to admit I was a little miffed during the race I couldn’t find the gear to break 2:05 for my “A+” goal. After thinking about it more though I realized I was being silly and that the 4 min PR was without a doubt more than I should have expected based on my long run training.
2. Again a similarly stupid and unfounded disappointment when I looked at my mile splits when I got home. I thought there was going to be the odd low 9min/m you know like 9:15 or so but it wasn’t to be. My fastest mile was mile 11 which was 9:28.57 which I think was because I was trying to sub 30 the last 5k and it had a bit of down hill in a couple of spots. I was also disappointed to see mile 13 to be 10:09.37 but knowing how hard it was to keep running I shouldn’t be disappointed at all as it was “1” mile I was slower than 10 minutes and it was only by 9 seconds!
3. Seriously my so called “disappointments” were just short lived thoughts from a competitive guy. I’m truly happy with what I was able to do today and am looking forward to the next HM.
4. I’m thinking if I can drop 40lbs by my HM in September I can break the 2 hour mark….got to have a goal right? 🙂
5. Still find it hard to believe I actually PRed by 4 minutes when none of my long runs felt good…….love it!

I’m going to rest now. I’ll tell you how my body felt tomorrow as this has been long enough already. I’ll end this with a picture gallery of what I got. Not much as I didn’t run with the phone…hard enough trying to PR so I wasn’t going to try to take pics along the way 🙂

I hope you all enjoyed the report whether you read the whole thing or just skipped to the good points.

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16 Responses to Half Marathon Report : Ottawa Race Weekend

  1. Congratulations!! I love the victory pose 😀

    • John says:

      Thanks a lot. Felt like being a bit goofy in that pic 🙂 Wow your read fast or you skipped to the good parts 😉

  2. Great job!!! It’s a great accomplishment, especially since you beat your PR. 🙂

  3. Congrats on an awesome run!!

    I love Red Lobster … mmm, I always get the crab legs.

  4. April says:

    Yahoo! Talk about killing your last time!

    That is a great goal John. Also a great reason to do it!

  5. Dean says:

    Awesome job, I wish I could run my miles as quick as you. I just can’t seem to pick up the pace for very long. Sounds like you had a lot of fun. Can’t wait till my marathon in October to see what it’s like,

    • John says:

      Thanks Dean! Yeah I’m not sure where I found the speed for this but I’ll take it. I had been as fast or faster but on 4 mile runs not 13.1 !

  6. april says:

    HOLY MOTHER OF PEARL!! 13 miles??? you are insane!! I’m so happy for you! I’ve never been able to run.. I think I could maybe run 1 mile and even then I’d be dead by the end! Congrats- I love the victory pose!

    • John says:

      That’s 13.1 miles! lol Thanks April!

      I bet you could do it but it would take the same dedication as you put into your weight lifting.

  7. Nicole says:

    WOOOO! John, you are awesome! That is a wonderful time and I think your goal for September is great! Don’t beat yourself up, you got a PR and blew away your training splits!! Love the “pace bunny” reference and the victory pose!!

    • John says:

      Thanks Nicole! I’m not beating myself up. Those were immediate thoughts during and post race. Since I’ve been prettty pleased with myself and everyone else has been surprised with my time as well.

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  9. Ambrosia says:

    Yeah, it’s good, very useful, thanks 🙂

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