Chilly Half Marathon

Posted: March 7, 2012 in Races
Tags: ,
  • Chilly Half Marathon (click to see stats & route)
  • Chip Time = 1:39:23 (click to see race stats)
  • Category Place = 48/192 (M 35-39)
  • Overall Place = 403/3300
  • Avg. Heart Rate = 162 bpm
  • Max. Heart Rate = 171 bpm
  • Avg. Pace = 4:43 /km
  • Max. Pace = 3:35 /km
  • Calories = 2032
  • Temp = -2º C

It’s been some time since I’ve logged any race reports, and this Chilly Half Marathon was my first “event” of any significance for the 2012 year.  My approach, with the planned Around the Bay 30k race coming up in only another three weeks, was to simply to use this opportunity to log some mileage and chalk it up to just another usual training day…and what a training day it turned out to be.

Another exciting factor about this race was that my girlfriend had also agreed to participate in the ‘Frosty 5k’ race also being run same day.  She has put a lot of work into training and preparing for this race (not to mention a lot of four-letter superlatives aimed in my direction) and I was am proud of her own efforts and getting to share the day with her was just the icing on the cake for me.

The Proof

We arrived insanely early to the Mall parking lot where shuttles would hustle us off to the starting line, so we took the opportunity to visit the bathroom, get ready and do some quiet window shopping to stretch out our legs.  This is totally my idea of an effective pre-race warm-up strategy, however, pooping in a darkened public bathroom with no toilet paper is a pre-race ritual I never care to repeat…EVER!  Eventually, we caught the shuttle to the ‘Burlington Performing Arts Center’ where we were soon separated to our respective starting lines to await the beginning of our races.

Skip, like, 30 minutes of “Opening Ceremonies” of which I heard or saw none before we were off and running.  Like I said, I had no real expectation of pace or time and just wanted to ‘go with the flow’ and see what happens.  The route promised to be somewhat scenic along the rolling Lakeshore Dr. of Burlington that also happens to be lined with lots of huge, fancy lakeside homes…not to mention lots of fan support along the way.

Within the first 3-4k or so I settled into what felt like a comfortable pace and just began to enjoy my pre-arranged iPod playlist and the hundreds of signs being sported by spectators.  Highlights include:

  • “If your feet hurt, it’s because you’re kicking so much ass!”
  • “You’ve got stamina!  Call me: 905-___-____”
  • “Who needs toenails anyway?”
  • “Run like you stole something!”
  • “Pain is temporary.  Internet results are forever!”
  • “Run Phidippides, RUN!”
  • “Kenyan Toll Booth: Exact Change Only!”
  • “Free Nipple Massages at the Finish Line”

Happy to be finished…and alive!

I’m sure I’m forgetting lots of them, but rest assured it kept things entertaining along the way.  Before long, I had forgotten about my Garmin altogether and after a quick ‘High-5’ from my sweetie heading in the opposite direction, I decided to glance and see how I was faring time-wise and found that I was still under 40 minutes at the 8k mark…wow.  Despite a faster-than-normal pace and a spiking heart rate (164 bpm), my legs still felt decent…I mean, as decent as your legs can feel after a fast 8k that is.  Regardless, some quick calculations and I realized I was on track for a new PB originally set at the Grimsby Half Marathon (1:47:05) round the same time last year.  Sweet!  Let’s see how much longer I can hold this pace…now it was on.

By 10k I was pretty proud of myself (46:55 – also a PB for the 10k distance) for being able to maintain a pace of approximately 4:42 /km.  Also around this point the race leaders began to pass us going in the opposite direction and, believe me, they were cooking!  And just then, a guy flew by while…juggling.  Holy shit!  Really?  At first I thought I was just hallucinating or suffering from severe dehydration or something but, nope, there he was.  And he wasn’t just trotting along while juggling, he was RUNNING and jogging; this dude must have been among the top 20-30 racers.  Talk about your ‘Reality Check’…try having your ass handed to you by a guy running the same 21.1k while JUGGLING!

Anyway, at the 12k point I had settled into a group of seven other runners and we continued to jockey back and forth pushing the pace uphill and downhill along the course, refusing to let any of us get too far ahead.  I love this kind of competitive camaraderie amongst during a race and find it really helps encourage you to new heights and I feed off this spirit and this is how the next 6-7k proceeded.

By 18k, I knew that a new personal best was practically guaranteed but that a sub 1:40:00 time was also possible so I decided to announce this to the group in between gasps for air as we had started to fade…albeit only slightly.

“Hey guys… if we push this…we have…an hour-forty… in our grasp…”

Finishing the sprint…

I couldn’t have hoped for a better reaction as the lead runners almost immediately picked the pace back up with the rest of us giving chase and so it continued over the last few hills.  At one point it was even me pushing us over that last hill and, eventually, our original group of seven dropped three as the rest of us continued to push…hard.  I remember my hamstrings beginning to burn as that last 1.5k was my fastest of the day with the final 500m being an outright sprint for the line to beat the clock to 1:40:00.

Now, I’d love to say that I won the final sprint, but I was nipped at the tape by one of our group members but, still, the overall goal of finishing a sub-hour-forty race was achieved much to my elation.  That represents nearly an eight minute improvement over my Personal Best last year as well as finishing in the top 25% of competitors for both my age group and overall.  Booyah! 

Not bad for a former fat guy, eh?

So after a round of back-slaps and breathless congratulations between our finishing group members I went in search of my sweetheart to hear about her race (of which I am also very proud), have some chili and coffee, get changed and get home to celebrate with the other participants from my TryForce group, all of which, had their own great race experiences.

Great day…great results…great friends…beautiful!

  1. Jan says:

    You are kicking but already! That is astounding and look at the shape you are in! Way to go Terry. Nice to see you with your sweetie. I’m so glad you have found someone special. And Kelly, GREAT START! I’m very happy that you share this sport with Terry. He’ll be a great coach and a super nice guy!!!
    (Don’t worry, I’m way too old for him. LOL)

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