You know how most people make sure they carb load or at least eat something reasonably healthy the night before a longer race? After finishing the sunset 5k in Eastern Passage I decided that I should have myself a big order of poutine. What better way to prepare for my longest run in more than two months than to gorge on a large amount of french fries, gravy and cheese? In hindsight, this may not have been the best decision I have made in my life, but given how damn tasty that poutine was, I’m willing to call it a draw.
I was definitely a little nervous going in to the half marathon at Maritime Race Weekend. As mentioned, I hadn’t run anything more than 12 km since my half marathon in July at the Blue Mountain Resort. My hip had really been annoying and made doing much running at all more frustrating than enjoyable. I had maintained some level of fitness by doing cardio at the gym, but I knew that it would still be risky pushing myself.
Fortunately, I was very lucky to have a good friend and fellow runner/tweep in Stefanie (@epileptrick) run the half marathon with me. I had made plans months ago to run the half with Stefanie and I really believe that without that commitment and motivation, I may have chickened out and not bothered.
Just like the 5k the night before, the starting corral of the Saturday morning event (which also included another 5k, a 10 k and a marathon) was jam packed. Again, the organizers handled the logistics perfectly and even with a large number of runners, the start went as smoothly as one could hope.
As promised, the half marathon course was very scenic. The morning started out cool but clear and the temperature rose quickly, making for a gorgeous run. The locals were again out in force to cheer runners on and the themed aid stations were always a welcome site and great for an energy boost with their enthusiasm.
There were more hills than I expected, but nothing that was too soul crushing – fortunately. I think I would fairly describe it as moderately challenging – although it really did feel like there was more uphill than down – even though I know that isn’t possible when you start and finish at the same place.
Often during my races, I have ended up running large portions on my own, so it was really nice to run an entire half marathon with a friend. If it’s not something you’ve done, I would highly recommend you give it a try. Sometimes with all of the goals we set for ourselves and how hard we push ourselves in training we forget what a wonderful experience it can be just to enjoy running for what it is. In this case, Stefanie and I even took a break about halfway through for a scenic selfie (or “runfie”, if you will).
As we got closer and closer to the finish, we realized that a PB was still possible for Stefanie and made sure to balance our enjoyment with that now reasonable goal in mind. We kept a steady pace for the last couple of kilometres and crossed the line in a time of 2 hours and 18 minutes – crushing Stefanie’s previous PB by ten minutes. Given the course and our lack of serious training over the summer, it was a hugely satisfying result. As an added bonus, we collected our medals for the half marathon as well as the Tartan Twosome – both amazingly beautiful medals which will have a special place in my collection for sure.
I really can’t say enough positive things about the Maritime Race Weekend. I thoroughly enjoyed myself at both races and was super impressed by how well organized the event was. If it something you have considered doing, make sure you check it out. You’ll need to sign up early, as it always sells out – and for good reason. I am sure that this weekend event will continue to be one of the premier running events, not just in Atlantic Canada, but nationally.