So if you have followed my blog you know how I got to this point, me and my big mouth. I 'suggested' to a friend who was in a running rut that we set a big goal... Why don't we set a big goal, I said, lets run a half marathon in the fall of 2012, we don't have to run all of it, maybe half and we can walk the rest. My friend had to stop training due to injury which I was totally cool with and here I was, running with an old friend, Jane, who I have known since we moved back to Ottawa and a new friend Barbara. All week I was worried about two things, would I be able to run and the weather. On our 20K run, I was injured and the two week taper turned into a 2 run/11 day rest taper but I got the all clear to run so then it was all about the weather. It rained cats and dogs Friday, I was helping with kit pickup and was soaked after my 4 week shift. Saturday was iffy but Sunday was a sunny cool day, a bit on the windy side but much better then rain.
We trained to run a 2:30 pace and for race day we started at a 2:20 pace and by the 8K mark, I knew that was too fast for me and the girls ran on without me. I had some muscle tightness in my hip flexor at the start but by that point it had worked itself out, now it was lack of conditioning that was my downfall. The lack of running in the last 2 weeks was not my friend, I was not rested, I was rusty. I kept going....and going and then I heard the cadets in front of me. I had helped my sons' cadet squadron get a cheer station at the race, they were outside the Governor Generals residence so I got to pass them twice, just knowing they were there made me keep moving. I had dropped from a 6:40 pace to a 7:00 per k pace at this point but felt reasonably good. After I passed them the second time, I hit the wall and was suffering.
I had 5k left to go, not so bad you would think, yeah right. Kiza told us this would be the hard part of the race so be ready for it, she was right. This is where the mental games start and the devil on your shoulder can't keep its mouth shout....why are you here...your to old to be doing this....your too fat to be doing this...there is no way you can finish...and so on. At this point the iPod got turned on louder to drown out the voice and I focused on staying upright, not slouching and to take small steps. I had Stephanie in my head again, "shorten your stride" and my mantra became 'short, short short' and as in the past, it helped. By the time I got to Pretoria Bridge I was really sore and tired. My pace had dropped to 8:00 mpk but I was too tired to care at this point. Suddenly I saw my Mom there with her camera, ready to cheer me on. I was so happy to see her, I gave her a quick hug and left to do the last few km. At this point my mantra become 'just keep moving forward'. Suddenly the iPod started to play one of the songs I had added at the last moment, Journey's-Don't Stop Believing. It was just what I needed to bring me home, don't stop believing...ever ...because you are stronger then you think and you can achieve more then you ever imagine if you are willing to try.
So the official time was 2:34:07, a bit slower then I had hoped for but it does not matter, I had done it and no one could take it away from me. This summer I had many highs, the Bluenose, my first completed triathlon and this half marathon and some lows, my DNF but all in all it was a great summer of training and racing. I learned a lot about myself, what I am capable of and what I need to work on. I learned I LOVE doing triathlons, I love being a cheer leader for others and I hate letting myself down.
I had planned on taking the photo of Fat Ally with me to throw into the canal on my race, a symbolic way of saying she was never coming back this new Ally was here to stay but I forgot it. When I got home I took that photo off the fridge and tore it into tiny pieces and threw it in the garbage, not quite as dramatic but equally as satisfying. So now I get a week off and then it is on to the next race and this one is all about the FUN, the Disney Wine and Dine.