Having run it twice before, there is a comfort in knowing what to expect and when to expect it. I know where the hills are, where the orange slices and jelly beans will be handed out and where those "will they ever get here' turnaround points are.
This year, I went in with more apprehension than I usually do. My training had been so fraught with tough long runs, blood pressure plummets and ear plugging fiascos that I was not sure what to expect. All I knew is that if the blood pressure stuff started too early, there was a chance that I'd have to walk a good portion of the race or, heaven forbid, not finish. Doug was out there to make sure that my blood sugar was taken care of but there wasn't much he could do for the blood pressure issues other than be there and, if necessary, drive me home.
Forget any goal times and run to finish. Keep my heart rate under 165 at all costs, take salt tablets and electrolytes at every water station, and don't stop running if at all possible.
Oh, and wear my type 1 diabadass shirt for a little extra boost of confidence.
And that, my friends, is exactly what I did.
I ran easy. I kept a steady pace between 6:50-7:10 min/km, even when I felt like I could pick it up. If my watch alarm beeped to let me know my heart rate had climbed above 165, I slowed down until it came back down.
I stopped at every water station, had a salt tablet and either two edisks with water or some Powerade.
Guess what happened?
My ears did not plug.
My heart rate did not spike.
My blood pressure did not plummet.
My blood sugar held steady between 4.5-6.5 the entire time.
My energy held and I never once took a walk break (other than when gulping a cup of water or powerade of course). But my typical 18k crash never happened.
I ran the same pace at 19k that I ran at 2k and I felt fine from start to finish.
I finished in 2:33:52. Not my fastest time ever but certainly in the 2:30:00 give or take ten minutes range that I typically finish in.
I stood at the start line not quite sure if I would finish.
And I finished what turned out to be the easiest half marathon I have ever run.
Those pre-race jitters never do get any less jittery do they?
This might be my favourite running photo ever. Living life well with diabetes indeed!