Monday, April 27, 2009

Hartwell Half Marathon Race Report

Yesterday I participated in a local community event, the Bob Hartwell Runner's Challenge.

The Bob Hartwell Runner's Challenge is organized by the Aurora running community to celebrate the spirit and life of the late Bob Hartwell.

Bob was a well-known Aurora, Ontario businessman, civic leader and veteran marathon runner. Bob died October 14, 2001 while running a marathon.

It had always been Bob's dream to organize an event in Aurora that would appeal to competitive and recreational runners alike. His friends have joined together to make Bob's dream a reality and to honour his memory.

I volunteered last year and loved the community spirit that surrounds a smaller, local event. This year, I was excited to participate in the half marathon - especially since it took place just minutes from where I live. It was also nice that at least a dozen of my running friends were also participating (and hubby, of course!) and my Mom and sister came out to volunteer.

The course was an out-and-back forming a zig-zag, running along only three streets. I enjoy straight stretches of road, but the elevation profile looked pretty intense, especially when all of my previous long distance races have been flat or downhill. Still, I had confidence that I could handle it since my clinic instructor incorporates significant climbs into almost all of our training runs.





I had a difficult time coming up with a game plan for this race. It's week two of a four-week stretch of races, including another half marathon two weeks from now. I knew I wanted to PR, but I also didn't want to wear myself out too much. Ultimately, my goal was to make it to the finish line without completely bonking in the last few miles as I have in all three of my previous half marathons.

On race morning we awoke to a temperature of 8C (46F) and light rain, which was expected to continue all day. We arrived at the community centre (and start/finish area) about an hour early to get our time chips and sign up for a post-race massage being offered by our physiotherapists. We were able to hang around inside and stay dry until just minutes before the start. Thankfully, the rain had reduced to a drizzle by this point.



I approached with first half with a goal of holding a steady pace around 5:30/KM (8:51/mi) without allowing the hills to wipe me out. I felt strong and remained right on target. Some of the hills were definitely challenging, but I was always able to make up any lost time on the downhills. My mantra the entire time was "What goes up, must come down!"

And then the skies opened up. We got caught in an absolute downpour. I had to laugh as I got completely drenched and sloshed through puddle after puddle.

When we finally hit the 7K marker I knew the worst of the hills were over and we turned onto a relatively flat stretch of road (still some rolling hills, but nothing like the first part). As we approached the turn-around, we crossed paths with the lead runners and I also got a quick glimpse of hubby and some friends. It was a good distraction.

Half-way split: 58:03 = 5:30/KM. I was right on target and feeling great!

I made my way back along the flat(ish) road and kept my pace pretty even. Before long, we hit those big rolling hills from the first section of the race. It was definitely more "down" than "up", but I felt myself struggling to hold my pace on the climbs. I took them one at a time and fortunately was always able to recover on the downhills.

I found myself waiting for the inevitable "wall" that I tend to experience around 16K/10mi in a half marathon, but it didn't happen! 16K, 17K, 18K and I was still feeling strong. I was definitely tired, but not feeling like "OH MY GOD, I'M NEVER GOING TO MAKE IT, SHOOT ME NOW, WHY DO I ALWAYS START TOO FAST?" I was proud of myself for holding a steady pace the entire way so far and intended to do so all the way to the finish, hopefully with a little pick-up at the end.

Sure enough, the last two kilometres were my fastest at 5:09 (=8:17/mi) and 4:57 (=7:58/mi). I sprinted around the corner and totally "chicked" this guy who is clearly in pain.









And the results are in!

1:56:16 (PR by almost 2 minutes!!!)
114/222 overall
4/11 AG F25-29
32/95 gender


This was my first half marathon with even splits (second half only 10 seconds slower than the first), my first half marathon without a single walk break and my first post-race trip to the ER... but that's a whole other story. Here's what the affected area looks like now. Ow.



Hubby finished in 1:39 and placed first in his age group! We didn't even realize it until we heard his name over the loud-speaker in the community centre. Yay hubby!



We enjoyed our free post-race massages then headed home for an ice bath before heading to our friends' house for the post-race BBQ.

Thanks for reading!

29 comments:

Run Sarah said...

Yay Marlene! I love the photos of you passing that guy!

4 races in 4 weeks, wow! You're inspiring me to sign up for some more this summer.

RunningLaur said...

Congrats on another race and another PR!!! Yay yay yay!

Melanie said...

Congrats again on the PR!!, but OUCH on the frost bite. Hope it feels better soon! You look so focused in your pics, obviously it worked! :D

X-Country2 said...

Great PR! Even in the rain. And yes, that guy TOTALLY got chicked. :o)

I Run for Fun said...

Congrats! A PR with all those hills? Man, you rock! And love the pics.

Lacey Nicole said...

great pics! and congrats!!!! omg i totally have done that with ice before on my knee and FREAKED OUT-- at the time i thought it was an allergic reaction maybe the ice pack chemicals had leaked or something... mine wasn't as severe as yours but def so scary!!!!!!!!!!!!! congrats again :) glad you are okay :)

jawsome said...

Awesome job! A PR on a tough course is a great accomplishment. I love how you look like you're breezing by that poor man - what a great finish!

Denise said...

OMG...your burn!! Yikes! You really did a number on yourself!

GREAT, GREAT job on the PR!! I'm so happy for you! You kicked butt!

And congrats to Hubs!

D10 said...

Congratulations! Way to PR, 2 minutes is a lot.

Heather said...

Way to gon on the PR, and congrats to your hubby! Awesome job.

That frostbite spot looks painful!

J said...

Congrats to you and your husband on running great races! Too bad about the rain but it totally awesome that you ran consistently! Way to go!

lindsay said...

congrats on the pr! 2 minutes is awesome! also congrats on your other goal - you've been training hard and it paid off in helping you "survive" through the finish! :)

now, take care of that post-race injury. why is it that runners tend to get way many more non-running injuries? ;)

Jess said...

Awesome job on the PR!! Congrats.

Carly said...

Girl you are a machine and kicking butt on all these races! Nice work. Ouch to the burn...I just read that post too.

Chic Runner said...

Great job on the PR! :) Too bad about the rain but you are hardcore to push through that. I would have been having some issues. no me gusta rain. :) Hope the burn gets better soon!

Brian said...

Holy crap, awesome job!!! Your a friggin IronWoman for doing your own little race series. Keep it up!

The Happy Runner said...

Way to go!!! That is a great PR! AWESOME!!!!

Nice job chicking the dude :-)

tfh said...

Congratulations to you and hubby! You both have fantastic times and look great running!

Runner Leana said...

Woohoo Marlene!!!!!!! Nice PR! Your running is coming along so well. Nice job!

joyRuN said...

Congrats to you and hubby!!! An awesome duo :)

Marcy said...

Ohhhh Marlene that is AWESOME for both you and the Mr!! I am sooo LMAO at that "chicked" pic. I would SO frame it. Way to run him down ;-)

Laura said...

Fantastic job...congrats!

Nitmos said...

Congrats to you and the hubby! Awesome job!

How did you contract ringworm on the course? No?

aron said...

that elevation profile isnt messing around! CONGRATS on the PR girl!!! you are doing so awesome :)

Marky Mark said...

wow-great race! sorry about the icing mishap

Hope to see you Sunday--sorry to here that there will be even mroe runners-it's a stampede with past numbers!

Dori said...

Great job! Congratulations on your two minute PR and for running even splits.

Fair Weather Runner said...

I'm still catching up on blogs, this is so great! I hope I can get a speedy half in like you at some point in my life! I also loved all the Boston reports, what an awesome experience.

Vickie said...

Congrats on your PR!

Aneta said...

Hey, I was just reading through your old posts and saw that you did the Hartwell Challenge. I was there too!!!!