As an eight-time marathoner, I wanted to say that the Scotiabank half-marathon race was a breeze, but I can’t. It was a harder run than anticipated. I blame my slowness mostly on the heat, which was intense, but it was also a slack training schedule that made me perceive the last kilometre as 42 instead of 21.
Feeling cavalier and confident, I wanted to go for a PB (personal best), but at the starting area, the announcer warned against pushing for PBs – and I’m glad he did. Since the run started along a stretch of highway where the tarmac emitted heat at 7:30 am, I slowed considerably realizing it would only get hotter and the hills ahead would be steeper.
And so many hills!
Somehow I misread the description of the race – believing it was more downhill than uphill. Wrong! And of course, the ups were in the sun. I veered to the shade of any tree I saw, and in a city known for its huge trees, they seemed to have disappeared. But at least I could count on a breeze along NW Marine Drive parallel to Spanish Banks. Yet today the air was still.
A few extra water stops, a run through a sprinkler at the side of the road and a sigh (relieved it wasn’t a full marathon) – I came to the last leg along Beach Avenue.
At two hundred metres from the finish line, and feeling like a snail, I saw my little girl waving and cheering me on, which surged me towards the red Scotiabank banner and glory(?!) Finding energy for a final burst of speed, I lifted my knees and pumped my arms and ran as if I was qualifying for the Olympics. But suddenly the woman beside me veered left and cut me off! I barely caught myself from tripping on her. She didn’t even notice me.
“Hey – watch it lady!” I yelled at her. She said nothing.
I shook off my annoyance and finished with more of a grimace than a smile on my face. But what would a race be without the unexpected? That’s what keeps me signing up for more.
PS… if you want to achieve a half-marathon PB, train as if running a full marathon.