Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mississauga Half - Race Report

I wasn't really feeling this race, I felt like I hadn't mentally prepared enough.  I almost let myself think I hadn't physically prepared enough for the distance...if that was remotely true then what the heck was I doing all the Sunday mornings?  Saturday I took it fairly easy, went for a massage and did some running around and picked up the race kit.  After I got home and did some more chores around the house I was running around the house feeling like I as doing everything at the last minute.  I still had to pack my bag and get the rest of my gear organized, you know find my sunglasses, pack the fuel wear a hat or not wear a hat would I be too was supposed to be really nice out on Sunday...try on about four different combinations of t-shirts, long sleeve shirts and pants before deciding on what felt right. 

 I probably went to bed too late but I wasn't feeling sleepy yet so I read for a while and drifted off probably close to midnight.  I don't think any amount of sleep would have felt like enough when the alarm started chirping at 5 AM.  I had to get up there was no time to snooze, my ride would be there before 6. I got up had my breakfast and paced around the house as I got ready.  My ride showed up and we were off.  I climbed in the car to join my fellow racers Morgan and Justin.
Patricia had come along for moral support too.  On the way in we were chatting and I mentioned how I "wasn't feeling this one" and Justin said "the races you're not feeling it are usually your best ones".  We met up with another teammate Chantelle at the community centre in Mississauga and squeezed on the bus to get up to the starting line at Square One.

waiting to enter the starting chute
so that's whose at the front of the line!
We wandered around the starting area for a while, I love the feeling of anticipation at the start of a race, you can feel the energy in the air with all those people there for the same reason but with their own goals.  I was texting with my colleague Juan, it was his first race ever but it was busy so we wished each other good luck and I got in the queue.  I found the 2:45 pace bunny and picked up a pace band from her.  It was the first time using one of these and it is something I will for sure add to my arsenal!  They played Oh Canada and we were in the 5 minute countdown, people were starting to pack in tighter getting closer to the starting line.  I made some last minute adjustments and we were off!  I cleared the first timing mat and the starting line and put my ear buds in. 

I felt calm.

I made me way down the streets around the corners of the mall making it to Burnhamthorpe Rd.  I was keeping an eye on my pace band, I was slightly ahead of the time and that was fine with me.  Before I know it I was two km in and saw the first rest station and briefly thought I should stop and make use of the facilities but I remembered what stopping meant at Scotia...time wasted!  I wasn't stopping unless it was an emergency!  I carried on down the same road racking up the km's and I remember thinking it felt easy and  when I got to the turn at Mississauga Road I was surprised I was there already.  I barely had an eye on the pace bunny and making use of the downhills as much as possible by trying to time my walking minute with flat areas.  Much of the pack had thinned out and there were a few people around me that were there for most of the race.  We were making our way down and round the university campus and back out to Mississauga Road.  I kept seeing rest stations and would think to myself, i "could" stop but I really didn't want to so I kept running.

I knew "the hill" was coming. I was still keeping time with my pace band, still slightly ahead which was great.  I was running the winding road leading up to "the hill" thinking this isn't so bad and then it started to climb but I still wasn't that worried.   Juan, Dan and I had driven the route on Thursday so we knew what to expect and I was "dump run" girl...if I could run King Road I could climb this hill.  Okay so I ended up walking the last part but I didn't care, I wasn't disappointed, I knew I still had over 10km to run and I was finishing in under 3 hours this time!

I was on level ground again and it was getting warm, it was actually a gorgeous day in all, the weather was perfect.  I was nearing the turn to head south again going under the highway and getting into Port Credit.  There were still a few people around from the start and we would have the occasional word of encouragement for each other.  As we ran to the park entrance for the lake front path I had stopped for a moment to stretch out my hamstrings and the two ladies stopped to make sure I was okay.  I was okay I just needed to loosen up my legs a bit. 

Running through the parking lot I made my way to the lake front path, I was in the home stretch now.   If just left like a run in the park.  There were lots of people cheering us on through the park, they had a 1960's VW van with the tunes cranked and some of the best signs...I LOVE the sarcastic signs like... "there is beer at the finish line...HURRY!" or "Run like you stole something" or my favorite "Staying up late to make this sign was hard work too!".     The path ended there so we picked up the road to catch the trail over the pedestrian bride at the marina.  Dan, another colleague of mine was there cheering on some friends, it was nice to see a familiar face along the way.  I ran through the marina and back on to the road heading back to the waterfront trail.
I saw the 20km marker got so excited I was so close now.  People were already heading back from the finish with their medals around their necks and cheering us on.  I looked over and saw my teammate Kevin.  He was running us in through the park around the water.  It was great that he was there cause I was definitely running faster. I could really hear the crowd at the finish line.  Kevin said it was just around the water and I remember looking over and  saying "I have to run there?!" it felt so far away but it really wasn't. Kevin turned back there, he said I just had to clear that hill and just GO and I would be there.  Kevin turned back to go wait for Justin to come in from his marathon run.

I cleared the hill and then really turned it on.  I was so close now, Tony was there cheering me in.  He always said "run across that line with everything you've got" so that's what I did.  I was running fast like it was a track work out.  I saw my teammates, Chantelle and Morgan had already crossed the line and Patricia was snapping up photos and I just ran hard.  I heard the announcer call my name and was so excited, it was the best finish yet. I knew I had done it, I crossed the line in under three hours!  I looked down and stopped the time on my watch 2:50!  It was awesome, my best race yet!  

 I went through the finish shoot  and got my medal and they removed the timing chip I had zip tied to my shoe.   Tony found me through the crowd.  We went by the fence and found the other iron canucks, they were waiting to cheer in Justin. 

All in all a great race and a great day for everyone!

just steps away...

Here comes Chantelle!

Here comes Morgan!

Justin owned the marathon!


The finishers and our cheerleaders!  Thanks Patricia and Kevin for the all the support and the great photos!

To my wonderful husband Tony who is always there cheering me on at the finish line and during all my training,  I love you! 

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