I am coming up to my eighth half marathon this weekend! I know my fitness level right now is capable of a PB. Although mother nature may have a different idea for me. The forecast for Vancouver for that day is low of 17, high of 28! EEK! A beautiful day, but not so much an ideal temperature for a half marathon. It is an early start (7:30am), but it may turn into a long hard effort rather than a race effort. Feeling terrible for the rest of my trip is just not something I want! I am armed with electrolyte tablets and will hydrate properly in the days leading up to it either way.
I was thinking about my first half marathon in 2011. I signed up on a whim! The Run Ajax Half Marathon was perfect for me. SO close to home. I was clueless, had no idea about nutrition, pacing, proper training, or how to prepare. My son was only 9 months old when I signed up. My body was still recovering from child birth. I was breastfeeding, which requires more nutrition to begin with. I dove in with my all or nothing mentality. How do you train for a half marathon? Well you must run a lot. and fast. All the time. You're tired? Well that was a constant as my son was so young, and breastfeeding made me feel terrible, so I probably did not even notice the growing fatigue. My body crying out for some rest. In the middle of another epic run I felt an odd feeling in my left ankle. Odd but not painful, but it made me stop and walk. A few moments later when I tried to run again it was SO PAINFUL. It took a long time to limp home feeling frustrated and a bit scared over what I may have done. When it didn't get better in a few days, but worse and swelled up, I got a requisition for a bone scan. Although once the woman on the phone suggested I stop breastfeeding or pump and discard of the milk for 48 hours, oh and "don't hold the baby too much, as you will be slightly radio active", I cancelled the appt. As a new mom who had to begin working again when my son was only 6 weeks old, I was already overwhelmed and tired. I felt if it was fractured, what would they do anyway? I had it tensor bandaged for about 7 weeks. It took nearly 8-10 before all the pain was gone. I was able to begin running again only 2 weeks before the race. I thought my longest run was 17km about 1 week prior, but when I finally bought a GPS watch a few months later I learned my little foot pod was very unreliable for distance! I probably ran 14km as my longest run. I managed to finish the race in 1:37. Good enough for 3rd place female that year! I paid dearly for my lack of proper training in the hours after the race. I have given birth 2x, one time without an epidural or any pain meds. I felt better after both births than I did in the hours after that race. Haha. Everything is a learning experience! Despite all the troubles I was hooked. It sounds strange but I wanted to be better at it. I wanted to be faster and to learn from my mistakes.
My 2nd year at Run Ajax (2012), I was 6 months pregnant, so I opted for the 5km!
I always remember how far I have come, and I will never know everything. There is something new to learn in each race and each run. Four years after my first Run Ajax experience, I have been asked to be a Run Ajax Ambassador. I am thrilled to be able to work so closely with something that involves my passion! I have also started a running group geared towards women called Miles Per Stride. My overall goal is to inspire women and girls who are new to the sport to try running. To try their first race. To feel the same sense of freedom and confidence running has granted me.
This summer is shaping up to be a good one! Check out the Run Ajax web page for details on FREE tune up runs and other fun things going on! Hope to see you out there!