In my last post I noted that today would be a bit of an experiment as to how really poor (o.k, non-existent) training and preparation can affect a half marathon. The short answer is it can add about 2 and a half minutes to the time I in which I ran the course last year. Honestly, I did expect it would add more time so for the most part I was pleased. That said, those last 6km were NOT fun!
As for the race itself, I love this one. Why the Mission Possible Race is not getting more attention I am not sure. I have a feeling a lot of people are just not aware of this race. If you ignore the fact that it is one of the harder half marathon courses in Ottawa, this race really is a bit of a treat and a great way to finish up the season. This is a very civilized run and one that I think many people would love. The start line is just outside of the Club House at the Marshes Golf Course. Runners have full access to lockers, showers, bathrooms (no porta potties!) and the race is followed up with a buffet brunch. There is no standing outside for ages before the start gun goes – you just wait inside and they let you know when it is 5 minutes until race time. This was particularly nice this morning when it was pouring rain (which amazingly turned to a very light sprinkling for the duration of the race) and only a few degrees above zero.
More importantly the race is a fundraiser for the Ottawa Mission. It was announced at the brunch that $10,000 was raised because of the race! Several bags of clothing were also collected. Mizuno, one of the sponsors, laid out various pieces of running gear that was for the taking for any donation. And for his donation, Evan had guest speaker Jody Mitic, the double amputee runner and second place finisher of Amazing Race Canada, sign his race shirt. Evan, by the way, continued his P.B. streak (oh to be young!) by finishing the rolling 5k course in 28:35.
As for me, no personal best but that was certainly to be expected. I said in the last post I would be happy to finish somewhere between a bang and a whimper and that is exactly what I did. My best half times have all been in the 2:03 range. The two half marathons I recently used as long slow training runs in preparation for the marathon saw me finish in about 2:13 and 2:14. And today I finished in a little under 2:09, hitting the middle ground.
I actually felt remarkably good up until 15k, but shortly after that my tired legs were begging for a break and I was feeling a little light headed. As a result I did have to take some time to walk, eat and drink. Between the 17 and 18k markers I think I actually felt more tired than at any point in my marathon three weeks ago. In fact, I can honestly say this race was more of a mental challenge for me than any other races I have done. I really had to talk myself through this one and remind myself that I could do it. The roller coaster course definitely took its toll on me. As I have said before, there may not be any huge hills on the course, but there are no straight, flat areas either. And as a double loop course, even when you get through it all once, you know you have a second round to go. I swear those hills multiplied the second time through. It is also surprising how tiring running constant curves can be; I was feeling those turns by the end of the race. But I was happy to discover that at the end of the race I was far less sore than I was last year. I distinctly remember the stairs from the locker rooms area to the restaurant to be incredibly uncomfortable last year. Today I was able to handle them without a problem.
Despite – or maybe because of – the challenges of this course, I plan to make it an annual event. I absolutely recommend it to anyone who wants to experience a slightly different race for a great cause. My only “complaint” of today is the half marathon shirts. (And given the fact this is a charity race, I am appreciative that they even provide a race shirt). The white shirts, while comfy, are made of the most see-through material you can imagine. If you have a fancy bra you want to show off, this would be the shirt to wear! I would not recommend going out in the rain with it on though:)
Thanks to all the people who put the work into running this race. I not only plan to be there next year, I plan to conquer the roller coaster that is the course!