Race Report: Road2Hope Half-Marathon, A Bitter-Sweet Run

You remember that girl in high school, don’t you? The one who got an A but complained that she didn’t get an A+. I was not that girl. I was the one who worked hard and always somehow knew how I’d do in a test – well, but never as well as I wanted. But I didn’t whine; I was too busy listening to that girl cry over her A.

Today, I realized that some things never change. On Wednesday night, Shawn asked me what my time goal was for this morning’s half-marathon. I looked blankly at him. “Time?” I answered. “I don’t know. I hadn’t really thought about it. I guess 1:37; that was my last half so if I can copy that, I’ll be happy.”

Even with that comment, I still went in wondering if I had a 1:37 in me. I wasn’t sure if September’s half was just luck; I needed today to confirm that I am a sub 1:40 runner.

Hamilton is known for being a fast, downhill course. When I registered for the race, I didn’t realize how “downhill” the course really was. By the time I reached 8K, I was glad that I wasn’t running the full marathon (and not just because of the ugly shirt) as the front of my feet were starting to hurt. I was relieved to see the uphill at the 10K mark (at 42 minutes), which gradually led to more downward running. By the time I got to the plateau, where the course more or less evened out, my left foot – right under the ball – was cramping.

Regardless, I was still on pace for a 1:35 (somehow, between last night and the start of the race, I realized that that was a more realistic goal). By 16K, I was at 69 minutes. And, then I turned into the last 5K.

I did not like the last 5K. My foot ached and I had to walk at several points to let it relax a bit. I watched for every kilometre marker, which came faster than I expected, but each one became a signal for me to walk again. I counted 4 women who ran past me. There went my 1:35.

By the time I got to 20K, I was ready to give it everything I had left in me – pain or no pain. I was ready for the finish as I watched the 5K there yesterday. I watched for the slightly uphill turn leading to the last 200 metres, got ready and – there was a fence blocking it; that was not the finish for the half! Instead, the runners continued on towards a gravelly trail and, then, ran back towards the finish. This part seemed endless and it didn’t help my already fragile state of mind. I ran past the boys and finished in 1:37:16, twenty-eighth female.

Did I become that girl? I wish I ran better; I wish I had a 1:35. But I’m not complaining. I am ticked by my time, by my stop-and-go approach during the last 5K. 1:37 was my goal and I should be happy with that. Instead, I’m non-chalant about it. I really don’t care that I ran a 1:37. Today became just another race.

However….yes, there is a happy ending to this.

While reading comments from Daily Milers who also ran the full and half-marathon, I learned that I was not the only one who found that the last kilometre seemed long. There were many Garmin out there which measured the last kilometre about 400 metres longer. Converted, this means that I ran a 1:35:27. So, I did run a 1:35 – even with those breaks.

I feel for those who were running to qualify for Boston. A friend needed 3:20 and ran a 3:22. Is his difference a result of the extra distance? Probably. Will he be able to fight the officials? Probably not.

Today reminded me that I am the same girl that I was thirty years ago. I put everything I could into this run, I met my goal, and I’m accepting it. It’s not what I wanted, but it’s driving me to push harder for the next event.

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11 comments

  1. Congrats on a great run, on a 42 minute 10k, and on a 69 minute 10 mile..which must be PBs within the race, no?

    That really is unfortunate about the last km. Maybe if enough of you rally to the officials, something can be done, and perhaps help out the Boston Qualifiers that missed out due to the extra 400m.

    I've also been 'that' girl over the past two days. Although I said my goal would be 22:15 and that I'd be happy with that even though my PB is significantly faster, I wasn't satisfied with my 22:02 and was nonchalant about it – although a few months ago I would have been jumping up and down for a 22:02! So funny how we are so hard on ourselves…. that is when friends have to say:

    AMAZING JOB!!!!

    d:)

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  2. I know I was that girl after my marathon even though I tried to tell myself that time wasn't in any of my goals.

    And I too ran further. My Garmin read: 26.66 miles…. but I still would not have been under my goal.

    Great report and attitude!

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  3. I was that girl in school,lol! It was a rough course with the construction, my feet still hurt and my running streak is officially over! I know what you mean, even though your time is great, the stop and go would be frusterating,you want to finish strong,not just with a good time! That last k was long!

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  4. Congrats on toughing out a rough finish to a strong time. Not as strong as you'd like, I know, but if not for your foot cramping I know you'd have hit 1:35. Long courses suck, but I don't think there's really anything we can do about it.

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  5. You have run so many good races this year, and this Half was no exception. I'm surprised you'd lean on that last minute goal, but I also recognize that you picked it because deep down, that is what you wanted.
    I also sympathize with the endless route to the Finish Line, it bears on you mentally when all you are seeking is relief.
    1:37 (and 1:35:27) are BOTH great times and you should be proud.
    It couldn't have been THAT bad either as I didn't see any comparisons to the disappointment of Cape May circa 1990 🙂

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