Okay, so this was my first but I can guarantee it won’t be my last one.
My 30 days prior to the 13 miles race were planned. Every day, I knew what to do, how to train, where to go, distance to run, what exercise to do. I tried to leave as less as possible to chance. I made sure both my brain and my body would be ready for the big day. And, to the extends that I knew, I was ready.
I woke up early that morning, took a big breakfast, with eggs and toasts and plain regular stuff. I got dress with my running gear, all my regulars. I found a few list of what to do and what not for the first half marathon and those simple guidelines made a lot of sense so I followed them. I’ll put a link somewhere with the lists. I mean, they are no laws but it kept things simple for me. List of lists.
So, yeah, I got ready and left for the office where I parked my truck, headed for the subway. I had my water bottle and I hydrated myself before the start. It was nice to see all the people in the subway ready to run. I felt part of something. I won’t start running in group but it was cool. The amusing part was to look at the faces of people who didn’t know about the race and saw the metro wagon already filled, on a Sunday morning. There were cops at some stations since there was so many people heading for the bridge. The Jacques Cartier bridge was the starting line. After using the toilet, (over hydrating) I walked on the bridge.I got to the starting line and they were starting people by corrals, 2 at the time, to spread out the people. It was pretty clever. I took a few selfies on the bridge, to prove I was there.
3-2-1 Go. Our group is off. I started my Garmin watch, Kept an eye on my pace, trying not to rush things. I knew it would be long and that I needed to pace myself. Yup, I read about that. I drank at each water station, picked up samples of gel, those things are weird but eh, it’s fuel. 3 km in, I noticed my Garmin watch lost it. It went back to showing the time, cancelled the recording. I was pissed. Furious inside. But I started it back, I needed to watch my pace. 7 km later, again, it lost it. Disappointed but I just restarted it. I have the last 11 km of the race. At 15 km, I took a small walk. I knew the rest was mostly going uphill. I felt my body needed a bit of rest. I was not aiming for a crazy time, My goal was 2h30. Very reasonable, challenging, yet within reach. Everywhere, people cheering, chanting, telling runners to keep it up, you’re doing great. I got back to jogging, ate a banana at the banana table around km 16. One of the best banana ever. Thing were still progressing fairly good. It was tough, I didn’t feel light on my feet but I kept on going. At 19 km, there was the Berri hill, upway to Sherbrooke station. It was tough, really demanding. I saw a guy being taken care of by paramedic, with a tinfoil blanket. I felt bad for the person but it made me realize that I am not doing a walk in the park. This is demanding, it requires training, practice and stamina. This is why, on one of the form, when you sign, its “athlete signature”. Not participant. It was the first time that I was designated as an athlete. I don’t consider myself one, but it made me realize that with effort comes the title. It is earned. So the Berri hill was hard, not so steep but quite challenging. I walked a part of it as the legs were starling to hurt. I kept on thinking, that Where I was, was the same as another place on my regular training courses, all I needed was to go back home. I kept on comparing the remaining distances with my home distances. With one one to do, my legs started giving up. I started walking but quickly felt the muscles starting to harden. I went straight back to jogging, There was no way my body would quit on me at this point. I remembered some motivational speech I listened to, “Dig deep down”, “Finish strong”, “Do your last km as the first one”, “Look up, get up, and don’t ever give up.” I know those are clichés but at that moment, they felt good. I picked up my pace, lighten my feet and stamped a smile on my face and went all the way to the end.
I received that green medal, I placed the strap around my neck. That felt good. All the effort, the training, the time, it was all worth it. Posed for a few pictures and walked to the rendez-vous point with my girlfriend and daughter. I showed them proudly my medal. I drank the free beer that came with the race. It was bad. It didn’t even taste good. Now, guess what I totally forgot to do ? Stretching. So my right foot got a plantar fascitis. The one type that hurts all the time. It took a few weeks to pass.
I got to admit, it was a bit tougher than I expected. I know now that I should have run more long distances before the race. But for a first one, I am very pleased.
I checked the time once I got home, Official : 2:29:33 .