1:22:44 – 21.1km Half Marathon
Last Sunday I raced the 21.1km Half Marathon in Ottawa, Ontario as part of the Canadian Forces (CF) National Running Championship which was part of the even bigger National Capital Marathon (NCM) Race Weekend. Ottawa is an excellent race. Very well organized and a fast, relatively flat course. This my first return to the CF championships since since 2008, where I placed 2nd in the CF Open Category (age 40 and under).
This is an opportunity for Canadian Forces members to put their training to the test against the best the CF has to offer, promote the CF in general, and compete against a very competitive civilian population. How it works is, the CF brings in qualifying members (based on previous verified races) from all across the country to race within the greater NCM races, then we are compared between each other based on time. So, not only are we competing in the greater race we are also competing against each other.
Having not ran a 21.1k since 2009, and having my training and overall fitness gone down since my 10 month deployment in Afghanistan, I wasn’t expecting a personnel best time but I knew that I was going to give it all that I had. I’ve been training hard since my return to Canada in Sept 2010 but mainly I’ve been fighting to get back to the level I once was. Despite all of this, come race weekend, I felt good, the body was relaxed and I was ready to go.
Race day was warm and very humid. Everything knew the humidity was going to play a factor and slow everyone down. I decided to play it safe and run comfortably for at least the first half, knowing that come 15k or so, it would start to get really tough. Everything went according to plan. I felt fast and fluid for that first 15 or 16k, after that it was a free for all and back into the ever contentious “pain management” game. How much pain can I endure at what intensity for how long. If you read my other post about “The Runner’s High” you’ll know what I’m getting at. As I’ve always said, the faster you go, the faster the pain ends.
The roar of the crowd was incredible. Almost throughout the entire course there was people on the sides cheering, yelling and banging drums. If definitely helped to keep me focused and motivated towards the finish. All this despite the fact that it started to rain during the race and they were getting soaked didn’t phase them one bit. I don’t think there really is any better place to run than Ottawa. 1k away from the finish my coach from the Laval University running club was yelling name from the sidelines and offering encouragement. “Let’s go! Only 1k left!” I kicked it into high gear. Bobbing and weaving between the slower marathon runners that were nearing the finish (their race started 2 hours earlier) and passing a couple of my fellow half-marathoners.
At 1:22:44 I crossed the finish line. Exhausted, I stopped a couple meters after the finish line and put my hands on my knees to catch my breath. Immediately first aid personnel were checking to see if I was OK (again, very well organized). I raised my hand and gave them a thumbs up. Everything was great. The race was done and I was looking for my after race banana and yogourt.
Placed 42nd of 9331 overall
42 of 4022 males
9 of 452 in age category (25-29)
4th in Canadian Forces Open Category (not confirmed)
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