I’m so proud of my twin sister for accomplishing her first half marathon. Read her race reap here!
by Julie Chartrand
As I admire the view through my office window, I gaze at Ramsey Lake and contemplate its size. The bay where Moonlight beach exists seems very far off. Yet only a few short days ago, this lake – completely within city limits – was the venue for the 39th Annual Sudbury Masters Continental Insulation Ramsey Tour Half Marathon.
This 21.1 km race takes you around the lake through a variety of scenes, rural and urban, from the forest to the beach and through downtown Sudbury. This was my very first 1/2 marathon, and the most challenging race of this distance in town.
I am always amazed how following a training plan gets you to your goal however daunting that goal is. I knew I’d be ready to finish a 1/2 if I stuck to the plan. I followed the advanced 1/2 marathon training plan available through the “coach” feature on Nike+ app. This is the level the app suggested for me based on my running history logged with Nike+. It was hard, but knowing I was completing a hard course this was necessary. I did not follow it 100% because work, family and life in general won’t stop because Julie is training. But I was ready for the race none the less.
I trained using my TomTom GPS watch and synced my runs with Nike+ on my iPhone.
I never imagined how much of my time that training would require. I was running 5-6 times a week, with many evening runs because they were too long to fit in during my usual lunch time run. Saturday long-runs would take a long time to recover from. I was really glad to see taper week arrive.
My little guy was running the 5 k and so we ran short 3 km run to shake out our legs the day before the race. Afterwards we headed out together to pick up our race kits. That night dinner was spaghetti for easy digestion and energy for the following morning.
The race inside my head
Although running a ½ marathon is a physical challenge, most of this race was run inside my head. Alone with my thoughts for over 2 hrs, this challenge became more psychological as the race progressed.
During my training I had completed a couple of 1/2 marathon distances, running as far as 23 km but never were those runs as mentally challenging as this race.
The first 8 km, I had been warned, would be the most difficult. The first 3 were familiar to me since I had done my hill training there. I was not paying attention to pace in this section because I knew well how slow the going would be. The next 3 km brought us through the trails of Lake Laurentian Conservation Area. This section was very hilly, but so beautiful that I hardly noticed the hills.
The last 2 km of the difficult part was hardest for me; uphill, against the wind, up Moonlight Beach Rd. It was only after this 8 km portion that I took a look at pace. My goal pace was 6’00/km, and I was happily surprised to see that I was at 6’09. I could use the next (flatter) 8 km to catch up.
About half way through, I found myself running a long stretch on Howey Drive that offered a view of the university buildings. It was a beautiful view, but I realized that there was still far to go.
I was doing fine until the 16 km mark. I had brought my average pace down to 6’05/ km.
The last part was of the race was the hardest – a slow up hill to the campus. I was tired and my body would no longer respond to my positive thoughts. I flipped my watch to the km screen instead of the pace screen so I wouldn’t get discouraged as the pace was getting slower. The trail markers 18, 19, 20 were more of a discouragement to me. I knew I was slowing down and would not reach my goal of 2:06. I thought I’d settle for 2:10. Heading up the track, the big clock posted a time of 2:11:42. I think I sprinted to the finish (but I’m not really sure), trying to get there for 2:12:00… And made it…
Trail markers and my TomTom GPS watch were synced to perfection. There were no surprises for me during my run. My watched beeped, letting me know I had reached my goal distance just as I crossed the finish line.
The weather was perfect on this Sunday Morning. Beautiful blue skies and a cool end of summer morning with Temp between 12 and 15 C. I wore a light long sleeve shirt and cropped leggings and felt perfectly comfy. I did sweat, however, not too heavily. After I had cooled down I found I had rather thick white film of salt all over my face and a rim of it around my sweat stains. I am, I guess, a salty sweater.
After completing this 1/2 marathon I can’t even fathom running a full marathon. I think I will have to recover from this race before I want to even think about signing up for another half marathon.
I had great support during my training. It is time-consuming to get ready for a distance race.
My husband and kids were very patient and understanding about the time I took out of our busy life for myself.
I’d like to thank my good friend Nancy for coming out to run with me sometimes for the last 10 km of my long runs. It helped to push me through the pain and develop a better pace as she is much faster than me.
I have many coworkers and a running group who I joined only for Friday core workouts that I am very thankful for. Much helpful advice was given and absorbed during the summer.
And Lucie’s blogging, competitiveness and over all interest in my activities motivate me to keep moving.
Thank you to all for the support.