Hamilton Half Marathon Recap

Annnnnnd another race in the books! It was definitely a chilly one, but very fun indeed.

The day started off nice and early ( although thanks to the time change, I got an extra hour of sleep.. win!) in preparation for a 6:30 pick up from my BC bud Kyler.

I ate the usual PB and toast (it was a pb naner sandwich thin as I am all out of my Squirrel Bread because my regular ( ie. bus able) grocery store does not carry it.. WF I miss you dearly!).. and began the hydration with lots of H20.. and chia seeds!

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I listened to the wise words of my mother, “always plan your outfit and have everything packed the night before”..its amazing how lessons in grade school transfer over to college!

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Race Outfit and essentials – Are you wondering as to why I included a dead lamb in the picture? That was my amazing throw away jacket.. which I had a hard time parting with to say the least!

Once we hit the road it seemed like no time had passed before we had been bussed from Hamilton’s Confederation park to the start line outside a high school in Stoney Creek and the race was underway. As I was in the company of some turbo runners (by turbo I mean having the ability to run a 1:21:00 half marathon, despite never having run more than 10k in your life!) I started off flying right away. I went with my strategy from Victoria and left my Garmin behind as I just wanted to run on feel and not have a digital reminder of pace to look it.

The first 10k felt great, it was chilly but sunny and as I was prepared for, the course was really flat. I took half a gel at the 11km water station and kept feeling good until around the 16km mark, when my mind started to wonder and as a result I think I started slowing down. It was at this time that Kyler (who I had passed at the 11km mark) came up from behind and proceeded to pass me. Of course, I was happy to see he was having a great run but I admit, the competitive side in me was a little bit rattled! I decided to try to pick up my pace, which already seemed pretty fast and keep Kyler in my grasps. A few more kilometres went by and I started feeling rather stagnant for the lack of a better word. I knew there was less than 5km left, a distance I have been running every weekend for the last month.. however I was lacking the desire, fire and somewhat fresh feeling I had going into the homestretch of the Goodlife Half in Victoria.

And then, almost like an angel from the sky I heard something along the lines of “Hi Alyson, man you`re looking good” come from a man pulling up beside me. Wouldn’t you know it was my Dave numero 2!.. David Manuel from the St Catharines Running Room, who was ran the marathon clinic I dropped out of after leaving Broadway contemplated joining when I got back to school. I have ran with David a few times and he is a great man, an older and less extroverted version of Broadway’s fearless leader who to my knowledge lacks a gibbled hip, logo making skill and ultra running abilities.. so basically he is a lame excuse for the “Real Dave” ( I say this knowing Ontario Dave  is not the most frequent and appreciated comment poster on this blog!)..

NONETHELESS!.. running into him at this point of the race and having him tell me “we are going to ride your footsteps to the finish, you’re doing great”.. ignited that fire I was struggling to keep alive. Soon enough I was not only in line with Kyler but bolding yelling at him (he is an iPod wearing racer).. “ARE YOU SERIOUSLY GOING TO GET BEAT BY A GIRL!?!”. This was apparently enjoyed by the group of ladies who started screaming “you go girl!”.. Less than 15 seconds later after we both started sprinting, I believe the words that came out of my mouth were “okay, lets just be nice now!”.. A slight oversight in my cockiness boldness was that despite hearing the announcers voice we were still about a kilometre, and a ridiculously long one at that, away from the finish line. Although long, the last kilometre was fun and in what was the most entertaining finish I’ve had in a race to date, I crossed the finish line (with chip on shoe, wooot!)  in a time of 1:33:33, identical to Kyler, with him screaming “Letttssssss Goooooo!” loudly in my ear!

Was it a PB … No

Was I a little disappointed a first… Yes

Did this disappointment go away when I was greeted by my three XC Buds who all finished sub 1:30:00 in their first half marathon ever… You bettcha!

Overall, the race was very enjoyable and in hindsight, I am happy with my time despite not improving on my time from Victoria. I finished 2nd in my age group, and 90th overall.

The greatest part of this race, was that I was able to take away a number of learning’s from it, specifically these three things..

1. I need to take a break from racing! Since arriving in St Catharines at the end of August, I have ran 3 half marathons and 5 5km CIS X country races… There has been no meaningful training going on, just a great deal of racing. Don`t get me wrong it has been awesome but I am going to put away the pink and white racing flats until the end of February. Although, there may be a minor exception in the form of a 5km run in a Santa suit, how could I seriously turn that down!

2. When training for Boston I need to continually remind myself of this saying.. “Long, Slow Runs Equal Long Slow Runners”. After seeing the amazing results from my teammates .. in particular the amazing Aless, a 2nd year Brock XC runner, who I may or may not`ve coerced into running the race today ( muhahaha) who ran more than 10k for the first time ever this past Sunday, hammered out a 1:41:00 half marathon! Unreal! Yes, Aless is fit and a naturally fast runner (who did track in high school so she had a good base to work with) but she did not put any effort into training for the half marathon distance, and she was way faster than I would say the majority of people who embark on long slow half marathon training programs.. I am now going by the assumption that if I want to get faster for Boston, I cannot be doing complacent, comfortable long runs (which is what I naturally want to do!) I need to be getting out of my comfort zone and focusing on both distance and speed. Any takers want to touch upon this subject? I would love to hear any thoughts both supporting and/or discrediting my thinking!

3. The third and final thing I learned today is… Dang, I miss the Babe Patrol!!..

But with that being said.. I am pretty darn lucky as I have found another awesome group of runners in St. Kitts and although we don’t have a Sea Wall ( or matching shirts and a logo!), I feel fortunate that I was able to run XC this year and meet such awesome people (who love running!!) and I’m excited for the running adventures we are going to have in the months ahead!

What is that famous saying.. make new running friends but keep the old, one is gold and the other is too!? Something like that 😉

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The Amazing “First Timers”

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BC/SPMA Connection

Up Coming Races (Tentative)

Grimsby Half Marathon – February 27th

Around the Bay 30k Road Race – March 27th

BOSTON! – April 18th

For the next little while, you are going to be hearing Can Fit Pro related rambles as I am starting my journey to becoming a group fitness instructor this weekend!

And as usual, I have school work that should be getting done as we speak, and although I enjoy you boggies a whole lot more than Malcolm Gladwell… I best be going!

Oh one more thing..take a look at these bad boys! I wish I took a before picture, but this is a dramatic improvement to the sad state of my race tired feet earlier today! Hooray for post race pedicures 🙂

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Thoughts on posting pictures of feet on blog  …Too much!? And yes I know I have freakishly long toes…

Good night and have a great Monday!

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, Begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it, Begin it now.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Oh and how dare I almost forget! Big shout out to my roomie and human pacer Britt, the resident BU XC speedster who being too “cool” to run the Hamilton race with us, ran her local Markham race in an amazing time of 1:30:20 and was the top overall female! B- What!? 🙂

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Hamilton Half Marathon Recap

  1. haha I have been thinking i need to be more like you and go for longer, slower runs! get dave on this.

  2. PS: CONGRATS MS SECOND PLACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Britt

    Love the bogs/rambles Alyson!! Great work with xc and the half- I will miss you next year.
    Ps. Your toes look so pretty 🙂

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