So on to the Harvest Half marathon. This was our first race that we had ever done. When we had started using the Couch to 5K program we had originally thought of doing just 5K or even a 10K race. When we were doing our runs and easily got up to 10K we thought we would reach a little further for our first race. So we chose the Harvest Half marathon. We chose it for a number of reasons.
1. It was late in the season so we had plenty of time to train for it. Keep in mind that we both couldn't run for 3 minutes at a time back in March, so we needed a later half marathon to build our distance training.
2. The time worked great for babysitters, who were my wife's parents. They are Snowbirds and so at the beginning of October they are getting ready to go back down to the US. It's colder so they can't golf as much, plus they would still be in town. They were more than happy to watch our 7 kids while we ran around for a couple of hours.
3. We love the Fish Creek area and so the route for the race was just beautiful. We even had a date just the two of us to run the route once before the race. I must say it was even nicer during the race with the leaves starting to change colors.
Enough rambling about why we did it, on to the race report.
The 2 days before the race we decided to carb load. Definitely a fun way to prepare for a race, especially since we had been counting calories before. Nice to just relax and have to eat carbs. The night before the race we got into bed and we both actually had a pretty good sleep. Not so surprising for myself since I sleep like the dead, but my wife can be a light sleeper and sometimes has insomnia so that she got a good nights sleep is pretty awesome. We did get into bed kinda late though. I guess that would be why when our alarm went off at 5 in the morning, we both decided that we could spare another 30 minutes and went back to sleep until 5:30. We woke up, I had a quick shower, we got dressed and headed downstairs. For our morning meals, we just had some toast with peanut butter. We had also grabbed a banana each for the drive over, but we didn't end up eating them. We didn't want to have too much in our stomachs for the run, so we stuck with what we knew worked.
|And of course Tea. Tea was essential.|
|Robbie looking awesome.|
|Whereas I had to ham it up.|
Then we began the long drive down from Coventry to the start of the race. We parked a little bit away from the community center, right by the parking lot to the Midnapore lake. Only about a 5-10 minute walk, and there were much closer parking spots, but we wanted it that way. With Robbie's asthma we wanted to make sure that her lungs were accustomed to the colder air. Less of a shock to her system when she does start running so then hopefully she will not have any problems with her asthma while running the half.
We arrived at the community center at about 7 and headed in to the gym for the Facebook group meet-up. Along the way we ran into the facebook group Admin Barefoot Neil.
|Although I must say false advertising. He was wearing Vibrams at the time. ;)|
|15 minutes to go and everyone was still milling about.|
|And we are off. Thanks to Barefoot Neil for the picture|
The race started and we headed out, walking till we got to the timing point and then we started our garmins and started running. I ran with Robbie for the first .3 miles and then I got a little anxious to get going. I said Good-bye and started passing people. I must say, starting near the back of the pack is pretty great for me. I tend to be kinda competitive and don't like it much when people pass me. Starting near the back of the pack was great because it allowed me to do most of the passing. In fact, I believe that once the runners thinned out a little no one passed me which I liked.
After I parted with Robbie I realized that the course was different than what we had run before. It was due to construction we were later told. totally cool with the new course change until we got to the gravel. Now like I said before we had run this course before. The last time I had run in shoes, so while this was the first time I was doing it in my Vibrams at least I knew what to expect. I knew that there would be a short little bit of rocky trail right after we got into Fish Creek. I had run in other rocky conditions like that so I knew what to expect. This however was a gravel alley. And about half a mile of it. Ouch. I sucked it up and ran down the gravel as best as I could. I tried to pick the best path but inevitably stepped on a couple choice rocks. And once you get one sore spot it seems like the rocks seek out that spot for more pain. My wife told me later that the two barefooters just went along the grass right next to the alley. Don't know if that would have been better or not as I have heard that grass is dangerous as it hides sharp things. At least on the gravel I knew what I was getting. Helped to prepare my feet for the onsalught.
Coming out of the gravel I ran into another lady from the facebook group. Chatted with her for a little bit and then I went on in preparation for the first hill.
|Under the Macleod Trail bridge, start of the hill|
Near the top of Evergreen I ditched my gloves at an aid station. I never really used the aid stations at all but we tried to bring everything that we needed. For my fueling I had a fuel belt with 4 water bottles. As well I had two Chocolate mint GU packs in a gel flask mixed with water and a pack of Sharkies. Note about gummies for future races. While they might be nice and soft in the store, once running outside in colder temperatures they start to resemble the consistency of rocks. My wife had a package of Honey Stinger candies that were nice and soft the whole time. Must try that for next time.
Got into fish creek and the next rocky/gravelly section. Unfortunately for me there was a bit of a bottle jam so I had to run with a pack through the ouchies. But I made it through that and on we went into fish creek. The next while in fish creek was a gradual downhill section and my favorite part of the the race. Downhill, winding back and forth and lots of trees. My strategy for the race was to aim for a 8 - 8:30 minute mile. So far going up the hill I was keeping good time and I was feeling strong and loving it. Didn't take any pictures through this section, wish I had taken more pictures.
About the half way point I did get out my phone for more pictures.
|Beautiful fall colors|
|The open fields in Fish Creek leading up to the main parking area|
|My determined look|
Looking at picture of myself that people took, I always look far too serious in all my pictures. My wife has this was of always smiling while she is running to matter what. I love that, that she is smiling and friendly the whole way. I tend to get a more serious determined look on my face but I want to change that. I want to be the happy guy in Vibrams or who is barefoot.
|Heading towards the Sikome hill|
|The Hill! Might just be the angle of the picture because I don't think it's actually this steep.|
|My bad form for the finishing picture. Stopped too quickly.|
Crossed the finish line and was so surprised to know that I was around the 1:46:XX mark. If you want to see my race on Runkeeper, you can find it here. Met with my family and then waited for Robbie to come in. We both have iPhones and so I fired up Find my iPhone to locate her. Didn't have to wait long though because my wife is a rockstar. (Part of that may have been written by her, but I do agree).
|My rockstar wife finishing strong|
|Tired, but happy and feeling great.|