Race Report: SaskMarathon Half Marathon, plus 1km

Race stats: 22.2km, 2:45, 7:27min/km

Crys half marathon

I can’t believe I haven’t written in my blog since February! A former training buddy, who follows this blog, sent me an email a couple of weeks ago and was hoping that I hadn’t written because I was busy training. Indeed, that is what has happened! Today I was rewarded for my hard work.

Pre-Race:

I had no idea what to expect going into this event. I know the pace that I had been running this year (usually with a run-walk around 8:00 min/km) and thought that I could maybe do better if I walked less and ran more. My plan was to do 5:1s because I figured 1 minute would give me enough rest to do the 5 minutes.

My pre-race routine for a run is so much simpler than a triathlon! Seriously, you show up, drop off your morning bag and wait for the start. A triathlon is so complicated! Set up your station, drop off morning bag, pump bike tires, fill water bottles, stretch and warm up, put on wetsuit, warm up for swim, wait in cold water for the start. A run start is so easy. Since I haven’t raced much the last few years, this was a good intro to race prep for the season.

I did my pre-run routine with dynamic stretching and warm-ups. My legs felt a little tight after yesterday’s 64km bike ride, even though I did yoga last night and it really helped. So I got to the line and promptly found the 2:30 pace bunny and went about 5 feet behind that. I was ready and realistic.

First 5km:

The first 5ks were the most interesting part of the run. I knew from the map that the route of this was a little more complicated than a loop around the river. There were a few out-and-backs and some residential areas. It was around the 3rd km when I noticed that my watch said 3km, but the sign on the route said 4! A few blocks back I had seen that there were pylons going to the right, but everyone went left. So I went left too. No one said anything different and there weren’t any race marshals there.

The signs kept saying 1km more than my watch and it really bothered me. So myself and one other girl decided to do an extra 1km to make up for that area. No one else that we talked about was concerned and in the end it would have been the full 21.1, but I would have had to spend the whole race looking at the course signs 1km over what I knew I had done. I’m glad that I did the extra 1km at the beginning because it gave me some motivation for the race.

By the time we joined back into the race, we were in the back. We were with the walkers (no, not zombies from The Walking Dead). So I used that as my motivation to make it back to at least a few of the runners. It’s always so lonely at the back.

The rest of the race:

I kept my 5:1s going for the whole time and it worked out really well. There were times when I walked up hills, especially when it was against the howling wind, and for aid stations, but the rest of the time I kept it up. I found a rhythm of about 7:00 min/km running was really good for me. I’m not sure I could keep that up for a half Ironman, but it worked out for this. I’d be willing to go down to 4:2s during a half IM. I guess I’ll test it out in a few weeks!

During the first few km I had a foot cramp in my right foot. It was so strange since usually I have trouble with my left foot, not my right. I’m very glad that went away. However, my left IT-band issue flared up and I had to do some stretches throughout the race to keep my knee from hurting. It actually worked so I’m happy with that. It has been many months since I’ve felt that pain and it was a good kick-in-the-ass that I haven’t been doing my yoga as consistently as I NEED┬áto.

It was at km-20 that I realized the race had added the 1km at the end of the race. I thought about going straight to the finish line, but I did the extra 1-km voluntarily and part of me wished that I had just had faith that the race directors would add it back. Side note: apparently one of the bike marshals went left instead of right at the pylons and they added it back at the end of the race. However, I’m glad that I did it because my watch was correct the whole time, not just the last 1km! I think that says a lot about me and my knowledge of my mental and emotional needs during a race. On the other hand, I’m also a little bit weird/crazy.

The end

The last km wasn’t all that easy as it was a straight head-wind. Also, the marathon winner passed me about 200m from the finish line. His marathon pace is faster than my sprint. What some people are able to do with their bodies is just amazing. I got to shake his hand and take his picture! I think he was a little tired.

Teresa Fekensa of Ethiopia, 2:43:50

Teresa Fekensa of Ethiopia (living in Toronto) won the marathon, 2:43:50

Post-race musings and recovery

I’m actually really happy with how it turned out. I stuck to my game plan, mostly, and I took care of my emotional needs. My 22.2km in 2:43 isn’t too bad at the end of the day.

It’s only been a few hours since the race and I’ve done some stretching, had a bath, drank a smoothie and am now eating solid food. My body isn’t very happy, but it won’t take long to recover. However, I don’t think 2 of my toenails are going to be so lucky. Some things never change!

Garmin stats: (note that it says 22.1 km because I accidentally didn’t turn it on right away)

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