3 days later and I'm still collecting my thoughts on my first half marathon. Its kind of a blur.
I got up at 5:30 which ended up being about 20 minutes too early. Had a shower to wake up, ate a bagel with jam and juice for breakfast. Headed off for the blue line buses to get downtown. Noticed other runners on the bus which was fun.
Conveniently, the start line was directly outside of one of the locations I work at so I hung out inside. No porta potties or bag check for me (thank goodness cause the bag check situation turned into a two hour nightmare for a lot of people). Filled my water belt, called my husband to say hello, ate a cliff bar.
I headed out to the start corrals twenty minutes before the start and thankfully I allowed myself a bit of time as I went completely the wrong way and ended up walking around for 15 minutes to get to my proper corral.
I hate being in start corrals by myself, but I just took the time to take in the whole atmosphere. I was chilly in my t-shirt. Next time I need to bring a throwaway sweater.
Being in the slowest corral, it was 15 minutes after the official start that I finally crossed the start line. There was a good crowd along the first stretch which was fun.
I was super pumped up and on a bit of a adrenaline high for the first three kilometres. I loved running down front street as I normally walk that route to go to work.
I hit the 5km mark in 40 minutes so I knew I was on my 8min/km pace.
Around 8km, my left hip starting hurting during my walk breaks.
I was super happy to reach the turnaround point around 12km at Windermere. Turns out one of my staff was around there but I didn't see her.
The volunteers and spectators were great. I enjoyed the signs along the course and the encouragement from random people at the side of the road.
I walked up every hill to conserve energy and I walked between kilometre 19 and 21. My hip was hurting, my feet hurt, my right knee felt wonky. I had a cup of Gatorade at the last water stop and that gave me a bit of energy.
When I turned onto Bay street, I was determined the run the rest of the way. I took out my earphones so I could hear the crowds and get the full experience. I saw my parents and my husband around the 300 metres to go mark. They were yelling and waving.
This is when I started to get emotional. I started thinking how when I started running in March 2010, 3 km was super tough and all I wanted to do was get to my first 5km race. I remembered limping the 10 minute walk to the subway station in 2008 when my arthritis was at its worse. I thought about how happy I was when I got the okay to start working out again in 2009 and I was able to get on an exercise bike for 15 minutes at a time. And here I am now, about to finish my first half marathon.
I crossed the finish line with a chip time of 2hrs 50 minutes and 45 seconds. Not a great time for most people but I'm super proud of it. Got my medal, picked up a bottle of water, a bagel and a bottle of Gatorade. Saw the ridiculous crowds at bag check and snuck out through an opening in the fence. Found my family and headed home.
I loved every minute of this race. It was tough, the food selection at the finish line was lame and the weather wasn't ideal but it's always going to be one of the highlights of my life.