- 3 miles/5K, 6 miles/10K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon
- Road Race
- Event Website
My wife, her cousin, and I were all sharing a hotel room and had agreed upon a 5:30 am wakeup call to be out the door by 6:15. Breakfast consisted of bread and peanut butter and although I tried to stomach a few slices of banana, I couldn't bring myself to get any down. For some reason, my body cannot deal with the consistency of a banana.
Part of our pick-up packet for the race was a free metro-card for Sunday so transportation to the race was pretty easy. The train was crowded but that's to be expected. Baggage drop-off and port-o-johns were stationed along the walk to the starting line so it was pretty easy to follow the flow of traffic and still make all the necessary stops along the way. Before we knew it we were all set and ready to go in our respective corrals. We were slightly disappointed that they didn't sing the Candian National Anthem before the race as we'd been looking forward to but mostly I was just excited to get started!
By start time, the temperature had already crept into the mid-to-high 70s, they were announcing updates in the corrals but they were in Celsius so I have no idea what the actual number was but I wasn't too worried about it yet. I typically have trouble coming out of the gates too fast in races so I was very conscious of my speed crossing the starting line and was checking my watch frequently to keep myself in check.
To help ease into the race, I'd downloaded Hannibal Buress's "Live from Chicago" comedy album as the first half of my race playlist. My breathing was steady so I decided not to worry too much about specific pace, and just focused on exertion. Especially with the heat, I figured I'd keep track of my exertion and make pacing decisions along the course. The first 3 miles were spent running around an amusement park on an island in the St. Lawrence River so it was easy to relax and just take in the scenery.
Four miles into the race the heat was definitely noticeable but not overbearing. I was walking through every water station to get down a few sips of Gatorade and staying in the shade when I could. We crossed onto the second island and were now running around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve Formula One racetrack. This segment was a little tough mentally due to a few long hot straightaways, but endurance wise I was feeling great.
To help everyone deal with the heat, they'd opened up a few fire hydrants along the course but I was too nervous about soaking my electronics to run straight through them. I usually grabbed an extra cup of water at the aid stations to dump down my back though. By mile six I was feeling pretty confident that this was going to be one of my better races.
At mile seven we crossed back into the city and started working our way downtown. They'd also installed a misting tunnel on this leg that immediately made me forget about the heat (even if just for a moment). I'd passed the halfway point and my legs were still feeling strong. It was here that I made the decision to really push through the end of this race.
I was hot, but not too hot. I knew that as long as I stayed conscious of my breathing and increased my pace gradually I would be alright. This is definitely where training was paying off because I was so much more aware of my ability. I'd run a five-mile pace run at under an 8:00 pace so when I was down to 5 miles left in the race, I was feeling confident in my ability to keep pushing.
We knew that the race would be finishing uphill and the first big hill I faced was at the end of mile ten. It was tough and many chose to walk to the top to conserve energy. I slowed slightly but remembered the countless hours I'd spent drilling hills in high school cross country practice, my coach telling us to push harder when others slowed down on hills, that could make the difference in the race.
I fought the urge to slow down and pushed through the first hill. The hydrants along the course began looking a lot more appealing at this point so I tried to run through them as much as I could without soaking my gadgets. With only 5k left, I felt great and started pushing for closer to an 8-minute pace or faster. The hills made it tough but I tried to make up for it on the level segments.
I've danced with finish-line anxiety in the past so I was worried I'd gas myself before the end but my breathing stayed steady. I was panting pretty heavily but it felt good. The finish line was in Parc La Fontaine so when the park came into view I really kicked it into gear and I couldn't have felt better crossing the finish line. 1:51:33.
I was a little less than 2 minutes off of my PR but this was easily the best I've felt about a race performance. I was able to stay calm throughout the whole race while continually evaluating how I was doing so far and what was still possible. Although I didn't quite hit negative splits throughout, I started close to a 9-minute pace and ran the 13th mile at 8:04 according to my watch.
Looking ahead it's time to shift gears and begin focusing on the Run Inspired 10k coming up in just a few short weeks, and beyond that, I'll be running yet another Rock 'n' Roll half in Las Vegas! As long as I can keep up my same training regiment, I feel pretty good about running my first 10k and am even more excited to get in one last half marathon attempt in 2017!