My journey to the Harvest Half Marathon almost ended before it even began! The day after I signed up, the race sold out – I was thaaaat close to missing the cut-off! Lesson learned for next time!
Race package pickup for this was at The Tech Shop downtown. The Tech Shop is a great store, and I always find lots of cool stuff there…but I hate it for package pickup. As always, I hate having to go downtown, and parking is always a hassle. This time was no exception, and I entered the store only to find a line about 40 people deep, waiting to pick-up. Ugh. Thankfully, they did move through the line pretty quickly…but not before making me late for a meeting back at the office. The package didn’t include anything fancy, but the shirt Is nice – a longsleeved New Balance Tech with a cute race logo, definitely worth my money. This package pickup was also a week before the race, which I found weird…
I took things pretty easy this week, only hitting the gym twice. My knee still isn’t performing well, so I figured I should save it some stress. I also didn’t run all week, not since last Saturday’s Melissa’s Road Race.
We walked the dogs and got takeout for dinner. The house was short on groceries and it was to be an early morning, so no one felt like cooking or cleaning up. My fav pre-race meal is penne with chicken, baked with cheese from Boston Pizza, so that’s what we did! I laid out my gear but didn’t really make it to bed on time – it was at least 12:15 before I closed my eyes.
6am came early and I didn’t exactly spring out of bed. But the dogs are always good motivators – they were quite happy to harass me for breakfast! The 3 of us went downstairs to eat, but again, being that the fridge and cupboards were a bit bare, I had limited options. My usual pre-race meal is toast with PB, but I had no bread…so I improvised a “breakfast dog”: PB and a banana on a hot dog bun! Worked like a charm, and was also more portable than toast!
I threw on my planned outfit and tested it by stepping out the back door – nope, too cold. I was planning on going with a cozy adidas pullover, but it was pretty windy and the gusts were going right through me. Time for plan B. I layered up with a shortsleeve and a longsleeve tech top, and my Ronhill convertible jacket overtop, and went outside to test that setup. Yep, better. It was time to head out!
I got to the start around 7:20, and the race was to start at 7:45. But there was no bag check. Oops… Thankfully my training partner had brought a pit crew, so they took care of my stuff for me.
The plan was to finish around 2:40ish. This was my friend’s first half, and we have both been plagued with injuries this summer, so training had been lacking.
There were no pace bunnies or signs to seed yourself by, so we just stepped into the hoard, a bit too far forward, but no big deal. I ran past a friendly cheering section right around 1k (Thanks, Melanie!) which is always a great boost. From there, up until the 10k point, I felt like a dog at the end of my leash, pulling ahead only to get jerked back. I was having a really good feeling day, but I had to slow to a walk every 1/2 km for my friend to catch back up. Eventually, we had a discussion – slowing and holding back was changing my pace and pattern, and that was making my knee hurt – and so she told me to go ahead. We split up and I ran quietly, alone, from 10-21k.
And I had a great run. I felt so good, it was silly. I was never passed, but I passed so many others; I ran all the way up the killer hill at 17k and felt so strong, and I carried a good pace from that halfway point to the finish.
If you read last week’s Melissa’s Road Race recap, you’ll know that I had a very bad 10k last week. This week was completely different. During the race I took Electro Bites (which came in our September Strideboxes) and a Honey Stinger gel, and the bites hit me like rocket fuel. This combo is definitely going to become my go-to.
I rounded the corner to the finish and saw 2:39… on the clock, which was great. I mean, not a great time for me, but great as in I felt good and had hit our goal as a personal pacer…minus the fact that I left my pacee behind. …Or had I? Turns out she was on my tail the whole time and crossed maybe only a minute after me. And this isn’t the first time – strangely enough, I think for her, a pacer in front is more useful than someone on her shoulder; she responds well to a “rabbit to chase” more than someone to hold her hand.
I was a tad disappointed by post-race, actually. We got water and medals right at the finish, but when I went inside the community hall for snacks, the selection was pretty limited: bananas, yogurt tubes, and granola bars. That’s it. And award ceremonies were supposed to happen around 10:30 I think, but they were having trouble with the timing and age categories or something, so they sent everyone home without official results. In fact, results still haven’t been posted online.
All-in-all, I enjoyed the Harvest Half. The course was gorgeous and challenging, and it was a confidence booster because I felt so great. I think I will probably be back again next year!