Hamilton Marathon-Road 2 Hope Recap

Two Sunday’s ago was race day, and I “competed” in my third half marathon! I really enjoy this distance, boarder line love it! While the day didn’t pan out quite how I hoped, it was all in all a great day! 

I started the morning off bright and early, my alarm went off at 5:05am.  Thankfully it was day light savings, and though the clock said 5 my body thought 6! which was perfect. I quickly got my gear on, and made breakfast and was out the door.

I usually eat a bagel or toast with peanut butter, and a banana on race mornings.  I did not have bananas at home, and forgot to go buy some, so all morning I was stressed over not eating it. It seems silly, but race rituals help keep the nerves down.  I also made sure to drink my pulse nuun and cherry limeaide all morning too. It has added caffeine in it.  I don’t drink coffee morning of, for washroom reason fears, but need that kick of caffeine to function.

I made it to the finish line, and parking lot with lots of time to spare. Loaded the bus and waited to get to the start line.  It was neat to have one of the race directors on the bus with us, she talked to us about the race, and why they started it, and how a part of all registration fees goes to charity.  Ester & Gord (the race directors) have gone above and beyond and the care that they put into this event flows out from them. As a runner, I love this, I love the sense of community that there is around this event.

While waiting for the start, there is a nice warm arena to use. It is great to be inside and able to stretch, and keep warm, use the bathroom, while waiting.  About 30 mins before start, I took Advil, tylenol and am imodium (just incase).  Ate my honey stinger waffle while waiting in line for the porta-potties and had enough time to place myself in the start area within my “pace-group”.


I always go into a race with a few goals:
1. Best case scenario time (that being, everything play out perfectly)
2.Realistic time goal
3. Worst case time
4. Run Happy!

I ended up falling in-between two and three.

I was focused on the first three miles, for me, I have to get over the 5km hump to get into my zone, and then I am typically pretty good. I had planned to drink at each aid station both water and nuun (did I mention how excited I was that they were the electrolyte drink on course!) I was thrown at the first aid station because they called out gatorade, and I couldn’t see what was in the cups. My stomach was fearful and I passed.  I should’ve taken it.



My splits were however going just exactly as planned, and I was trying to slow myself down a little bit, so I could keep pace to the end.  As I played this in my head, the weirdest thing happened, my body just stopped, and next thing I knew I was standing on the shoulder wondering what just happen (has this happened to anyone? I did not pass out, but my body just stopped running, even though I didn’t want it to). At this point my knee was a little sore, but the sore that I can typically run through, and then it feels fine.

I knew I needed to fuel more, and drink more, so my nutrition plan went back to grabbing both water and nuun ( it always was nuun on course, but I get it, its easier for those who don’t know, to assume gateroraide and nuun are equal, they are not).

It took me a couple miles to get back into it, and by mile 10 I was feeling okay, and got into a pace that I was happy with, for that mile anyways.

The hardest part of the race for me in the last 5km.  It is an out and back stretch, along the lake shore( so beautiful, waves crashing perfectness) but somehow it gets me, I keep longing for that turn around spot that never seems to come.

I hit the 11.5mile mark and my left knee/hip/ ankle started to seize.  It was probably the worst pain I have felt while running, I could not stretch it out or get rid of the pain.  This is when my 2 hour pace group passed me, and the first marathoner passed me, and when I let my emotions take over. I walked for a bit, swore and cried, and then tried to run again.  This cycle lasted for longer than I wanted.  I was able to gather myself and run/shuffle from mile 12-13.

The last km or so is great because finishers are walking back to the lakeshore to cheer on other runners, and find their friends on the course.  My perfectly times play list had already finished, so I could hear all the cheering, and encouragement (it was timed to finish when I thought I would cross the line, but it worked out anyways). The end was so close I could see it.  One more turn and it was the straightaway to the finish line.  Regardless of what happens throughout the race I ALWAYS make sure I sprint the finish.  If you get one take away from this post, it should be this: FINISH STRONG.

I crossed at 2:06:42, chip time 2:06:13.

Post-Run, I felt pretty dizzy, and out of sorts, so the wonderful volunteers took my into the aid station, where I got a concentrated cup of soup (for salt) and a couple glucose tabs.  Within minutes I felt extremely better, but know I really need to focus on pre-race and during race nutrition.

I got some more snacks, and water, and went to get my checked -bag so I could warm up and stretch so I could make my way home.

All in all, even though the day didn’t go quite as I planned, it was a great race day. From the weather, to the course to the volunteers. All of it was wonderful.  And I cannot wait to go back next year.

Did I mention that this is one of the #1 Boston qualifier courses in Canada?! check out this article here


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