"Tough times don't last, but tough people do." Robert H. Schuller
It was a beautiful fall day, perfect for my return to "racing". I put racing in quotations because I had only one goal and that was to enjoy myself. I knew I could finish it, but I already knew from my very relaxed training that
I could have no time goal. Well, okay, I felt that if I came in around 2h30m I would be more than pleased.
Training went relatively well, as I chose a pretty easy-going program. I usually ran three days a week and over the last few weeks, I had started going back to spinning once a week and I started doing my strength workout once a week. Mostly, my runs were slow and all my long runs were done with a 9/1 ratio. I did minor intervals and no tempo runs. The goal was to continue enjoying myself out there.
By race day, I felt confident that I could reach my 2h30m goal. The weather was absolutely perfect, and although there was one very long hill from the 12th to the 17th km, my plan was to walk if I had to and not worry about it.
This race is part of a series of "Gourmandes" races with themes, ours was "Demi-marathon des récoltes" which means "Harvest half-marathon". They are smallish races and so we pretty much all crossed the start line within a few seconds of the gun. I love small races. My son had actually forgotten his bib (but had his shoe chip) and they just asked his name and gave him a new one with a new chip, no ID requested or anything. He was SO relieved. Having my son, my husband, my brother, my sister-in-law (who is my sole sister) and my brother-in-law running the same race...and my sister, my daughter and her husband to cheer us in, made it extra special for me.
The first few kms I was being passed quite a bit, but my lungs warmed up and then I settled in to a comfortable pace. The colours were so beautiful and I truly appreciated being out there. I had a smile on my face throughout, my thanks to the volunteers were deep-felt, as were my smiles to the photographers. I was so proud of how "strong" I felt, especially of the fact that I did not walk during the long climb during the second half of the race. I kept to my 9/1 ratio and ran a bit slower, but steadily up the long slow climb. Around the 18th km there was a woman ahead of me with a blue t-shirt who kept stopping to stretch her legs and walk a bit. I had already reeled in a few people ahead of me (a few :)) but I wasn't thinking of trying to catch anyone. However, after another km, I realized that I was getting quite close to her. When we got to about the 20th km, I was right behind her and she was walking. In French, I told her to not give up...and "don't let me pass you". She started running again, but not for long and I did end up passing her...and wouldn't you know it, there was the photographer.
Around 600m from the finish line, there was my husband waiting to run the final climb with me. Just as we turned the final corner, the woman in the blue t-shirt passed me back...I let her go, considering she was way ahead of me for most of the race and I really just wanted to enjoying high fiving my family (everyone had finished before me and they were gathered at the finish line :))
2h26m and some seconds
Considering I was not injured, this is my slowest half-marathon. However, I truly managed to enjoy and especially appreciate every minute of being out there! Goal achieved!
Interestingly, this week, after a particularly intense spinning workout, I had purpura on my legs again (the first time this happened was some time in December 2013, and part of the reason I took a three month break from training). So, this was an important reminder that for me, training must remain only about staying healthy. No pushing. Just consistent training and registering for races to stay motivated, but not to actually "race". Who knows what the future holds, but health is my priority...because family is where my heart is and I LOVE spending time with my grand-children :)