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Sometimes, just finishing is good enough!

I’m a competitive runner. Competitive with myself.

I’m never going to WIN a race, but for the most part, I go in to each race hoping to run that particular distance faster than last time I ran it.

There have been a few exceptions though.

Last October, I ran the Shawnigan Lake Half Marathon, with the simple goal of just finishing it.

Yesterday, I ran the Oak Bay Kool Half Marathon, with the goal of just finishing under 2hrs.

This was my 3rd year running Oak Bay, and I had yet to crack the 2hr mark, even though most of the half marathons I have run in the last year have been under 2hrs.  I don’t know what it is about Oak Bay, if it is the time of year, or that hill in the last kilometer of the course, but there has always been something about it that keeps me from coming in under 2hrs.

I had no idea what to expect going in to yesterday.  I had a lot on my mind.  I wasn’t sure how my body was going to treat me. And then there was the weather! I have never raced in such terrible weather i n my life!

Here’s the thing, I ran a marathon 2 weeks ago, and since then, I had only run 6K.  I had been doing a lot of cycling to keep up my cardio, and keep myself moving, but I had only run 6K.  I was too afraid to run any further. I was afraid of injury. I was afraid of the crippling pain I experienced in the weeks after running my first marathon.

You see, on October 10 of 2009, I ran my first marathon at the Royal Victoria Marathon (now the Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon). Less than 2 weeks later, I felt some ankle pain on a training run, and exactly 3 weeks after the marathon, I had to drop out of the Shawnigan Half marathon before the 8K mark because the pain was so intense, I could barely continue to walk!  On the bright side, all my runner friends told me that you’re not a ‘real’ runner until you have a DNF (Did Not Finish) on your record! Woo! So what if I’m in pain, I’m a “real’ runner now!

After that injury, I was out for 8 weeks, and didn’t run again until after Christmas of 2009.  Recovery was a pretty rough time and when I finally got back to it, I had to start out slowly and gradually work my way back up to running the distances I was used to!   The pain of that injury & the frustration of the recovery have crossed my mind so many times in the last 4 months while I was training for my second marathon.

I would be lying if I told you that I was confident I would get through this marathon injury free. I certainly wasn’t confident, but I was hopeful. I’ve got more miles behind me now, and more experience as a distance runner.  My body is stronger!  That being said, I was still a nervous wreck when I went for my first run 10 days after the marathon! Thankfully, that short 6K jog was enough for me to figure out that there were no real problems after the marathon, and it gave me the confidence to commit to getting to the start line yesterday.

So, that brings us to yesterday, race day!

I got up bright and early, did my usual pre-race things.  Healthy breakfast, cup of tea, final gear decisions.  Packed some dry clothes in a bag, stopped in at Tim Hortons, then headed to the (very wet) start line with N as my very own cheering squad. We met up with @jonesee90 outside Starbucks and stood around in the cold & rain for a while until it was time to get the show on the road.  I told N I would see him in “about an hour and fifty-six minutes”, and then we were off.

The pack was pretty heavy in the beginning, it took a while to thin out.  @jonesee90 & I settled in to our 10 & 1 run/walk routine, and started to talk about whether or not we would stay together, or separate at some point along the way.  Our goal was pretty much the same thing; to finish under 2hrs.  I had no desire to work hard enough to set a new half marathon PB, but Jenn mentioned that she wondered if she could beat her best Half Marathon time.   Somewhere around this time, my iPod died, and I made the decision to stick with Jenn & push her to a half marathon PB.

The great thing about running with a Garmin is that I could see when we were pushing too hard & risking burning out at the end, and when we could pick it up and push a little harder.

After the halfway point, it was clear that if we kept it up, Jenn would definitely set a PB, so  I made sure we kept a pretty decent pace, while making sure we kept some energy in reserve for that infamous hill in the last KM.  Thankfully, we got a one minute walking break just before hitting the hill, so we were able to keep our pace up & over the hill, before letting our legs go & enjoying the downhill to the finish.

Our chip time was 1:55:28, over 3 minutes faster than Jenn’s previous half marathon PB!

And I was pain free!

I finished a half marathon, exactly 2 weeks after running a full marathon, and I was pain free!   That was the best ‘reward’. Yes, I love the medals, but this was just one of those days where finishing is good enough!

I can’t tell you the satisfaction I feel knowing that I finished a half marathon, almost 5 minutes faster than my last try on the same course, just 2 weeks after completing a full marathon.  Helping Jenn set a PB is just a bonus!

 

After finishing, changing clothes and having a hot coffee, it was time to watch @lilktweets & his cousin in the kids run! @galensmum ran the Kids Krazy Kilometer with her little one, but @psbdelegation watched from the rainy sidelines as her speedy little one powered through the race like a little machine!

All in all, it was a good day. I’m satisfied with my results, and I’m ready to move on and start training for what’s next.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 Comments

  1. Laura says:

    I ran it too! I’ve run the half at the RVM/Goodlife twice, but this was my first Oak Bay half. My shoes took a whole day to dry.

    I always try to better my previous race results too, and I set gold/silver/bronze medal finishing times for myself; this time, gold was 52 minutes, silver was 55, and bronze was 57. I like that I’ll always get a medal!

  2. […] reason why I still felt fit & energetic after the marathon, and the reason why I was able to run a half marathon exactly 2 weeks after the marathon, with only one short 6k run between the two […]