Daily Archives: October 18, 2015

9 Run Run Half Marathon and Tapering

9 Run Run finish line, Oct. 2012

Finishing my first half marathon, the 9 Run Run in 2:04:50. Thanks to Kerry for the pictures and the inspirational quote.

Yesterday I returned to the site of my very first half marathon.  Three years ago I did my first ever 21.1 km at the 9 Run Run race in Stittsville.  I still clearly remember the nerves, the excitement, the questioning of just how fast I could cover the distance.  I remember starting faster than I had planned and deciding to go with it.  I remember thinking I would probably finish around 2:12 but was secretly hoping for less than 2:10.  I shocked myself by finishing in 2:04:50.  I honestly had no idea I was capable of achieving that time.  I entered that race thinking it might be my one and only half marathon.  I crossed the finish line with such a runner’s high that I knew without a doubt there would be more.  Indeed, there have been many more.  Yesterday’s half marathon was my 16th time toeing the line of a half marathon.  There has also been one 30k race and two marathons.  Throw in some 5, 8 and 10k’s as well as a couple of 10 milers and it has clearly been a busy three years.

Last month I used the Army Run Half Marathon – one of my favourite races – as part of a long training run in preparation for the upcoming Road2Hope Marathon in Hamilton.  I find incorporating an organized race into a long slow run so much fun.  The biggest challenge of course is monitoring your pace and reminding yourself that you are not racing.  Even with those reminders I do run faster than if I was out on my own, but I don’t leave it all out there on the course.  Instead, I take the time to truly enjoy the race, which is exactly what happened at the Army Run a few weeks back.  When I came home from the race I immediately looked at the local race schedule to see if there was another event I would like to use and 9 Run Run jumped out.  I did briefly debate it, after all running by yourself is a lot cheaper than paying for a race that you are not racing.  But I am so happy I went ahead and registered.  This weekend was my last long run, and it was just so much fun to celebrate the work I have put into marathon training at an actual event.  To be honest, if I had run on my own yesterday I am not sure if my heart really would have been in it.  Maybe I even would have bailed, which is exactly what I did last Thursday when after 3k I decided that all I really wanted to do was go for a long walk.  There were no thoughts of quitting though yesterday, just a chance to enjoy a good run.

Taking part in 9 Run Run gave me the energy to go into the run positively and even look forward to the run, despite my tired legs.  I opted not to add mileage and instead let myself go faster than marathon pace but not full-out.  In the end I finished in a comfortable 2:00:54 – four minutes faster than that very first attempt three years ago when I pushed myself to the limit.  I’m not sure what my time would have been yesterday had I pushed hard.  I am assuming I could have taken at least 2 minutes off, maybe more.  But the nice feeling was finishing 21.1 km at a steady pace with no stiffness the next day.  I still might not be super fast, but I am stronger and fitter than 3 years ago.

While I started my taper last week, it is only today that I truly feel like the taper has officially started.  I took the taper rules very seriously today… perhaps too seriously.  I did nothing.  At all.  All day.  And I loved it.  But there are still a few runs to do.  There are two more double-digit runs – a 10 and a 13 – and then several single digit runs leading up to marathon day.  Everything now is a mental game, I can’t change anything physically.  I will not get faster at this stage.  I admit perhaps my one area of disappointment is the fact that I am not faster.  But I am trying not to dwell on that.  This marathon will be better than my last and I hope faster than my first.  Stayed tuned for my marathon goals.

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