5:45 a.m.
  • Up 15 minutes before my alarm without waking up my family in the hotel room
  • Plug in the toaster I packed, made my toast and ate it quietly in the bathroom. Feeling superstitious and wanted to eat all the same food that worked on my last long run.
  • Got dressed
6:10 a.m.
  • Headed down to the hotel restaurant to ask to buy a cup of milk for my cereal. Hostess grabbed me a cup in a to-go coffee cup, lid and all – didn’t charge. I was so full of emotion, I got choked up and had to hold back the tears! People coming out of the elevator as I was on my way back upstairs must have thought I was a freak!
6:30 a.m.
  • All done my cereal (in the bathroom again!). Kissed Derek goodbye and headed out to meet my new friend Mona (we met through an online Facebook running club).
  • Took the train to the marathon grounds – ended up with $14 in change (COINS) in my fuel belt… great! Pretty sure mostly $1 and $2 coins, at least:

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6:45 a.m.
  • Arrived at the marathon grounds… got familiar with the territory… and waited. Pretty chilly out, but anticipated a warm race, so I soaked up the cold instead of bundling up.
7:30 a.m.
  • Marathon starts! Exciting!
7:38 a.m.
  • I saw a girl running to the start line, in tears. Her camelback has a sign on it, indicating it’s her first marathon. Poor girl missed the start! I did see on Facebook that she did finish!
8:00 a.m.
  • Time for the half-marathon! I lined up with the 2:15 finish group. Everything noted after this point will be listed in general mile-markers.
  • Excited to see they were doing 10 and 1 intervals.
3-5 km
  • Side stitch… bah!
5 km
  • Spotted Derek and Owen watching on the street – Got a great high-five from Owen! I don’t seem to remember having a side-stitch beyond this point – They must have brought me good luck.

 

6.5 km
  • Arriving through Railtown Condos – huge group of spectators with music, horns, funny signs, and kids with misting bottles! Awesome! Brought a huge smile to my face.
8 km (?)
  • Came to a bridge – many people took the sidewalk, I took the bridge. BAD IDEA! It was a metal bridge that totally hurt my feet! Looked something like this:

metal-safety-grating

9.5 km – 10.6 km
  • Passed by some very lovely big houses! Really pretty views of the river valley.
Turn-Around
  • Started to slowly lose my pace group. So like me to fizzle out at the turn-around! I do it on every race with a turn back, despite how much I love out-and-back routes.
11 km
  • Started getting into my Gu Chomps! Mmm food!
  • Started seeing mile markers and realized Runkeeper was nearly a full kilometer ahead! Talk about making things difficult, mentally! Every kilometer after this point… Runkeeper would say I was at whatever kilometer mark, then I’d see the actual kilometer marker sign on the road much later. UGH.
  • On the bright side, my Nike+ SportWatch was nearly bang-on!
  • Feeling happy the weather wasn’t too hot so far.
13 km
  • Remembered I had pocketed a Ziploc bag of EnergyBits, ended up losing two of the 10 on the road.
  • Slowly trying to catch up to the 2:15 group, trying to take minimal walk breaks.
14 km
  • Passed through Railtown again, everyone still out cheering in full form!
  • Feet feeling pretty hot (like burning), feeling blisters forming.
16 km
  • Had plans to dedicate my final miles to different people, thinking it would help keep me going… I had no mental focus for this, unfortunately. Maybe next time.
  • Looked around for Derek and Owen, but they must have made their way to the finish line
  • Spotted Krista, the amazing woman who gave me my training plan! High five moment!
  • High-fived some kids and a homeless-looking old guy with a very long beard. He reminded me of my ex-father-in-law, who had passed away last year. It made me smile.
17.5 km
  • Some more lovely views of the river valley.
  • Passed a not-so-lovely view of a poor girl down on the ground while EMS tended to her. Her bib showed she was in the marathon – she would have been around the 23rd kilometer of the marathon, just over halfway done.
18-20 km
  • Noticing my legs stiffen when I took my walk break.
  • Everything at this point was a bit of a blur!
20.5 km
  • The turn back into the marathon grounds… had no idea how far away the finish line was, but we were in the parking lot… it felt SO close, but I couldn’t see the finish line at all.
21.1 km
  • DONE! Not far off my target finish time, finishing at 2 hours, 17 minutes. Gladly accepted my medal – I didn’t even have to wait in line to grab it! Opted out of the photo-op… had to find somewhere to sit down! Someone who finished at the same time as me opted out too, stating she couldn’t breathe. For some reason the photographer looked surprised.
  • Saw Owen and Derek as I exited the chute, but headed in the opposite direction so I could sit down! Started to think about food when Derek reminded me about my pre-booked massage!
  • MASSAGE! Didn’t have to wait too long, and it was a great treat. I will always pre-book a massage when it’s available. He suggested I get another massage ASAP when I get home.

Me, very tired:

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Runkeeper did some really funky mapping – not snapping to roads and creating points well off-road. No wonder it was so off on mileage! It put me at 21.7 kilometers. My Nike watch got me in at 20.97 km. *sigh*

Despite my thoughts going through my head about not doing another half marathon in a long time, I can’t wait to do another one now! Unfortunately, living in Grande Prairie means travel is necessary – and travel is expensive in Canada. Until we get some debt cleared, I will be sticking to local races.

 

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