I started running late in 2007. I ran my first half marathon in the fall of 2008. I ran two more in 2009,
three in 2010, two in 2012, and two more in 2013. No halfs (halves?) were run in 2011 as I was training for a full (which never happened incidentally).
Oh yes my friends. I have now reached double digits. I have ten half marathon medals on my medal rack. Ten, for some reason, feels way bigger than simply 9+1. It feels like I've now earned the right to call myself a half-marathoner.
When I look back on those 10, I have had fabulous races. I ran races with nagging pain or barely recovered injuries. I have run in lovely weather and weather seemingly sent from the bowels of hell (hello Tel Aviv half!). I have had horrid blood sugar races and I have had races that have gone so well that I seemed to be cured...at least temporarily.
No matter the race, the injuries or lack thereof, the weather, the blood sugar or any other variable, there is one thing that is pretty damn consistent. And that is my time.
Take a look:
1. Run for the Grapes (Sept 2008): 2:30:26
2. Ottawa half (May 2009): 2:30:50
3. Run for the Grapes (Sept 2009): 2:25:39
4. Grimsby half (Feb 2010): 2:18:16
5. Cleveland half (May 2010): 2:22:22
6. Run for the Grapes (Sept 2010): 2:22:10
7. Women's half (June 2012): 2:18:30
8. Niagara Falls half (Oct 2012): 2:19:48
9. Tel Aviv half (March 2013): 2:28:10
10. Niagara half (October 2013): 2:24:31
I am, as it turns out, pretty damn consistent. My last 8 half marathons all fell within 10 minutes of each other regardless of how well or how poorly the day went.
Yesterday's run in Niagara Falls went well overall. My injured foot didn't put up any sort of fuss and felt fine from start to finish. So fine that, after a while, I forgot to worry about it.
My blood sugar behaved quite well. I was 4.9 before the start and I had a Clif bar to bump it up. I was 9.0 at the 7k mark and had about 10 raisins. At 14k I was 6.7 so I had a gel. Towards 19k they were handing out jelly beans which I grabbed because I was tired and hungry. At the finish I was 7.0. Pretty stellar numbers there.
My running fitness was a tad disappointing. I ran the first 7k really well but not so fast as to pay later. The second third was pretty good too although I was already flagging. A little slower overall but still strong. The last third fell apart. My ears started plugging up despite my best attempts to stay hydrated and keep my heart rate controlled. My breathing became a little more laboured and I started doing the ol' run a kilometre and then walk a minute or two routine. I hate when I end up doing that because a) once you stop, it's hard to convince your body that it really should start running again and b) I start every race saying I will only walk at the water stations and have yet to run a race where I didn't succumb to the walk.
For the record, I have run long runs where I run the whole thing (other than blood sugar stops) so I know deep down I can do it.
That being said, I am pretty happy with the overall results, especially considering that I started the training back in September not even sure if I'd be fit enough to get to the start line.
I am starting to form a list of goals in my head for 2014. One of them will be to work on increasing my speed so that I can, perhaps, run a sub 2:15 half marathon.