Sunday, April 14, 2013

CheapRunnerMike's Run for Retina Half Marathon Recap

Posted by CheapRunnerMike

Today was the day, the Run for Retina at Springbank Park...and my first Half Marathon! I had put in lots of hard work in the months leading up to today , but that didn't mean I was without doubts. I had attempted to get a good night's sleep but that wasn't meant to be either...Jackson woke me up around midnight after he threw up in his bed (poor little guy). So I stripped his bed and threw everything in the washing machine, got him cleaned up and sent back to the remade bed with his 'barf bucket'. I heard him again in about a half hour. Thankfully he had made use of the bowl and the mess was held to a minimum.

I woke up 15 minutes before my alarm was set to go off so I rolled out of bed and got the coffee was race day! I have done long runs on plenty of early mornings the last few weeks, so I knew my body would handle a bowl of oatmeal and a couple cups of coffee just fine. Before too long the rest of the household was awake and we were all getting ready for our respective races.

We arrived at the park with 30 minutes until my race started...enough time for us to get some glamour shots in...

as well as a few stretches...

Fives minutes until race time, time to line up with the mob. Lots of nervous energy at the start line, as usual. I passed the time waiting for my Nike GPS watch to find a satellite...this was actually going to be my first run with my replacement watch. In fact, I felt a bit like a bride for my first Half Marathon...I had something old (old Lulu running shirt), something new (the aforementioned watch), something borrowed (Michelle's sunglasses...I'm a mooch) and something blue (those sweet Pro Compression socks).

The horn sounded right at 9:15 and we were off. My early plan was to run about a 4:40/km pace for the first 8K or so and I held to that at the beginning. It was tough to see so many people run past me as I am extremely ever so slightly competitive, but I knew I would be the one reeling them in as the kilometres clicked by.

The 4:40 pace lasted exactly the first kilometre...I then settled into a nice 4:28ish pace for the next 7K until I was almost back to the starting line. That's when I heard the horn signally the start of the 5K. 500+ runners were about to set out right in front of me, and I lamented the fact with the runner I was running with at the time. When we came up behind the big pack I followed his lead and began to sprint on the outside trying to dodge as many as we could. My new running buddy led the way and I gladly trailed in his wake. It took almost 2K but we were able to make our way through...the only problem was how much energy I had to spend in doing so, as I was now cruising along at about 4:10, which was way above my target pace. I was feeling pretty good still though, but I ended up taking my Gu gel almost a full kilometre earlier than planned. I was now 12K in and on my second loop of Springbank Park, and I realized I was now running entirely on my own...there was no one around, save for a few walkers out on the paths. I can honestly say I have never experienced this in any races I have ever done and it took me back to so many of the long quiet training runs I had done up at the cottage and even on these very paths. After a couple more kilometres the path joined back up with the main path and I was again in the company of other runners. The only thing was that they were all going the other way, a good 3K behind me. I knew that I was running at a really good pace, but It was at this point that I started to think that I may actually be out towards the front of the pack. I had seen the speed demons pass me at this same spot 3K ago and I looked at them busting ass the same way people were now looking at me...let me tell you it really gave me a lift. I was at 16K and somehow found another gear, putting the kilometres behind me at just over 4 minutes at a time.

I hit the final turnaround and knew I was only 2.5K from the finish. I had just reeled in another runner and wanted to finish strong. I covered the first kilometre in 4:07 but then when I told my legs it was time to sprint it home, there just wasn't anything left. Maybe it was the effects of the early race burst finally catching up with me, or the fact that I took my gel 1 kilometre sooner than usual, but my sprint finish was going to have to wait for another day. The last hill was a killer and I felt like I was crawling my way to the finish line. I really thought that I was going to see the people I had passed all come storming by me. As it turned out, I ran that last kilometre at 4:14...a whole lot faster than I felt! I cruised past the finish line in 1:31:08 (chip time) and I couldn't have been any happier!

That's me behind the clock :)

21.1K in the books and I had a new PR. On top of that it turned out that I finished 10th overall (out of 178 people). I also had a cheering squad to greet me at the finish...

A great end to a great race, and very proud of how everyone else did in their own races too! Michelle, my sister Emily and my Mum Sue did the 5K and Kennedy took part in the 2.5K.

Now it's time for me to try and relax a little bit before getting the training going again for the Forest City Road Races Half in two week. Training starts Tuesday!



  1. So proud of you - you killed it out there today!!!

  2. So proud of you Mike!! Great day, great post:)

  3. Way to Mike! Amazing time!

  4. Great race recap. Congratulations on you PR. Not easy with the congestion of all the races having to share the public path.