So I didn't have the best training going into this. Everything was going great until about a month before the race, other than a few missed tempo runs :whistles:
Then I wore 3" heels to work, after a summer of wearing 2" heels, and my ankle/posterior tibial tendon went NUTS again. So I couldn't run. Thanks Neb - tear some ligaments in my ankle, give me arthritis and osteophytes, and leave me with a weird tendon! Great! As an aside, the sports medicine doctor is sending me for a MRI.
Anyways, I finally got in one last long run (20k) which went terribly I guess. My tendon was slightly tender, my left hip got pissed off, and my heart rate was jacked. I revised the plan from PB to just over 2 hours, with an atheist prayer for sub-2 just for respectability.
Finally, some personal upheavals left me too upset to run, followed by our rabbit Eco getting cancer (invasive subcutaneous squamous-cell carcinoma as per the biopsy) and having surgery - all very quickly. Good news is Eco should be fine. So, I didn't run for 8 days prior to the race, and my last run had been shorter than planned.
Nothing like a good taper, right?
Add to that diet fatigue has set in so I've been holding around the same weight for a while (overweight on our scale, not overweight on the doctor's scale, but still, fat for a runner).
Saturday before the race we drove out to Hamilton in the snow to pick up our race kits...uh oh. Brrr. Then we went and ran some errands, went over to Joe's for lunch to celebrate him doing the Atacama Desert Stage Race, went home, took the dogs for a walk, then over to Mom's to celebrate Jaene, my SIL's, birthday.
So beer and wine was consumed. Plus a shocking amount of food...seriously. And it was a busy day, a bit later night then we would've liked given that we decided to get up at 4:45 am to make sure we got to the finish and found parking and got on a bus to go to the start (Road2Hope is a point-to-point course). Also we forgot to get fuel for the car so had to do that on the way home from Mom's.
So we were all set for a great race! Hahahahahaha
Everything went smoothly race morning though after taking the dogs out in the morning I opted for a warmer top (I tend to get hot easily while running).
Had a banana for breakfast, perfect for a half-marathon.
Waited around at the start, tried to coax a reluctant BM (after all I ate yesterday? I know you're in there!). Finally had to pee again but the line ups for the indoor washrooms and port-a-potties were long so I decided to just hold it (sigh).
We lined up just in front of the 2:15 pace bunny, not because that's what we wanted to run, but because that's where we could sandwich ourselves in without getting stuck at the back.
And the race started!
Everything felt SO much better than it did in the last long run. Pace slightly faster and felt more comfortable. I began to entertain that sub-2 might in fact be possible.
We hit Red Hill Parkway and enjoyed the downhill running after the flat. Toby mentioned he had some bother-y leg stuff, but said we were fine at our pace. (Toby kindly offered to pace me).
Off of the Parkway we went onto a gravel path, with rollers - which were fine, we train hills, but since I'd read that the race was all downhill and I was like 'WHAT IS THIS????!!!?' Heh. We passed a lot of people in this section who had gone out too hard.
Finally down to the flat out and back, which was brutal - I really had to pee, and was running hard, which in ladies is not always a good combination (maybe guys too, I dunno, but I was a little leaky). Toby's IT band was really bothering him, so he said that if he had to slow down just to go, but he kept it up. A few k out we walked for about 20 metres, which was probably dumb, as the 2 hr pace bunny paced us (we'd past him ages ago). Started running again and I was like 'I'll be damned if that fucking pace bunny finishes ahead of me!'
We caught and passed the bunny. I lost track of where Toby was at this point, as I was hammering along trying not to die. Finally rounded the final corner and saw the finish - was going all out (which for fat pathetic me is a 4:21min/k) at 97% of max heart rate - ouch. Hit the first mat and my legs just went out from the effort - I hit the deck. I was like 'oh shit! Which of the two mats is the final timing mat?' and stumbled up and over to the other mat, stopped my Garmin and was like shit shit shit shit shit. Quickly grabbed by 2 volunteers who I told I was fine, and they said 'No, you have to go to the medical tent'. But I knew I'd gone sub-2, so go me!
I heard the announcer saying they were shutting part of the race when I fell, which I didn't understand, because I just fell and got back up - not that big of a deal - but as it turns out, a man in back of me had a heart attack. When Toby got there, they'd shut the course and were doing chest compressions - an ambulance took him away. Eventually they let the runners around the barriers, but Toby said some woman who was going for sub-2 cried because she wasn't going to get it. Yeah, some guy is basically dead and you're crying about your fucking time? PRIORITIES. Jebus.
They took me to the med tent and I was all upset and kept saying 'I have to find my husband' but because of the effort I was slightly woozy. They grabbed some gauze and put it on me, grabbed a blanket, told me I had to take my jacket off (but I don't have anything underneath! It's a shirt/jacket). They got me a weird-fabric jacket that all finishers got but I missed (though I made sure I got my medal on the way to the tent, I don't know why, I stick all my medals in drawers).
Anyways, so I was bleeding from the chin quite a bit, which I didn't realize. They said the wound needed cleaning and stitches, but that they couldn't do that there. It took them forever to put on the butterfly bandages, gauze and tape - which wouldn't stick because I was sweating - and then I had to sit there. Eventually I convinced one of the nice nurses to go look for Toby, but in the thousands of people, she couldn't find him (I told her he was also wearing a Sydenham Fall Trail Run buff...represent Spafford Health and Adventure). She offered to send him a text, after agreeing I could go on my own, so I said I would meet him at the car.
There are multiple parking lots, so I got lost, but found another lady who was lost, and we walked together, running into Toby who was also looking for the car (where his phone was) who was pissed I hadn't waited for him. I was like 'Umm...my chin is covered in gauze goof, I was in medical'. We all walked and found the right parking lot together, the lady had done Run for the Toad and recommended it, she lives in Brantford so I told her she should check out Sulphur Springs.
I didn't bring my wallet, so we went home, changed shirts, and then went to the hospital.
The sad thing: I tore a hole in the knee of my new tights :(
Got seen, the doctor was impressed at the depth of the wound, cleaned, stitches (appears to be 5 well-spaced stitches - I wasn't expecting them to be so far apart).
Now we are home having beer. Yum!
In final round up - we each took two gels, no water, so had gels at water stations and were somewhat stuck for WHEN we took them then - 5k and 14k.
Final chip time: 1:58:27. My PB is a 1:58:05. Sigh. Maybe if I hadn't done the short walk, maybe the second timing mat at the finish is THE mat - but it's fine. I went sub-2 on meh training while chubby, so I'm happy. I gave it my all and left nothing on the course. I can't complain. Next up is Chilly and I will be thinner and have more base and fucking DEMOLISH my PB!
Road2Hope is a great race, even though I was embarrassing at the end and fell like a loser. I guess that's what running at near max feels like.
I'd do it again, but we were lucky with the weather - I'd hate to do this race in early November if it were raining. But we lucked out with a sunny day, if cold at the start.