As someone born and raised in Mississauga, the chance to race in my hometown was really special! The week before the race I was surprised by how calm I was, knowing that this would be my first race back after my allergy attack. The plan from my coach was to do a run/walk combo for the first half, and then gradually increase my speed for the second half of the race. For the month before the race I hadn’t done a “long run” over 10K, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from my body after the halfway point, but I’d run half-marathons on less training…
This was my first race officially running with some of the crew from Tribe Fitness and we were dressed to run in style! Jenna, Kate, Emily, Linda and I all had matching Tribe tights which we paired with brightly coloured long-sleeve shirts! We grabbed some great photos both before and after the race and we looked very rainbow-like. It felt amazing to be running as part of Tribe Fitness, as this crew has become more than just running partners – they are my friends and supporters.
The first half of the race felt great. I took walk breaks every 10 minutes or so and kept a conservative pace so I would have some gas in the tank for the second half. I felt strong, happy, and relaxed. My mom and my boyfriend Nick met me around 10K with some words of encouragement, an awesome race sign, and hugs, and that definitely lifted my spirits! My mom has been a constant support to me and has never missed an opportunity to cheer me on at a race since I started running 4 years ago. Nick has become my new running buddy, joining me on every run to make sure I am okay. He’s training to run his very first 10K on June 1st and I know he is going to rock it.
As I crossed the halfway point, I was still feeling good. I picked up the pace and ran continuously until around 15K before I had to take another short walk break. It wasn’t my body that was feeling tired or sore, it was my cardio fitness that just wasn’t as strong as I’d hoped it would be. I have asthma so I am always cautious about my breathing, even more so after the allergy attack, so I decided to take short walk breaks whenever my chest got heavy or tight. Around 18K I texted Nick and told him to meet me as soon as he could to run me to the finish. I made it from 18K to 20K with another walk break and finally saw Nick and my mom at 20K. I gave my mom a quick hug and took off with Nick for the final kilometre.
The home stretch wasn’t as emotional as I thought it would be. I imagined myself coming into the finish line crying and overcome with emotion, but in reality it was a pretty uneventful finish. I crossed the finish line, got my medal, and met up with the Tribe ladies who were all waiting for me (yeah, last place!). We took some model-like photos with our heat sheets, ate our bananas, and made our way back to the car. Post-race I felt really good. No light-headedness, nausea, or dizziness, woo!
All in all, I really liked the Mississauga Half-Marathon and I would love to run the full marathon next time! The course was nice, with a beautiful finish along the lakeshore, there were water stations and porta-potties every 2 kilometres, and tons of volunteer support on course. There were about 2,100 people in the half-marathon race and 700 in the full, so there was lots of room on the course and I never felt crowded. The race kit was pretty awesome, too. In addition to a nice race shirt, there were samples from Starbucks, Cadbury’s Mini Eggs, and Old Dutch chips. The Mini Eggs were the perfect post-race snack, and they were the first thing I ate when I crossed the finish line!
Although I came nowhere near a PB in this race (in fact, it was my longest half-marathon yet), I came out of it with something much more valuable than a good time: a renewed confidence in my running ability. Before this race, there was a lot of uncertainly around my ability to run long distances, but crossing the finish line meant that half-marathons, and marathons are in my future. I met with Coach Brock today and we talked about some exciting race plans for 2014 including my first marathon AND triathlon. I couldn’t be happier with my performance at the Mississauga Half-Marathon and I look forward to continuing my training.
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