Army Run Half Marathon - Run

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Ottawa, Ontario
Canada Army Run
Total Time = 1h 30m 46s
Overall Rank = 232/
Age Group = M 30-34
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

I woke up feeling very good despite not having a good night of sleep. I was constantly turning around during the night. I guess the nerves and excitement got into me but overall, I was good to go. Took a shower to wake me up and slowly got ready. I ate a banana along with sipping on a bottle of Gatorade on my drive to the race.
Event warmup:

My wife was running the 5k and I was running the HM. The 5K start was at 8am while the HM was at 9am. Once we got there around 7:30, she got ready and left for the start line. Having some time to spare, I walked around a little before deciding to drop my backpack at the baggage check. Since it was very cold outside, I took refuge in the City Hall building and waited until 8:30 to meet up with my cousins. I got to the meeting point but only saw one cousin. We waited a bit for the others but by 8:40, we decided to leave for the start line. So basically I did not have much as a warm-up. Just sat there waiting while trying to keep myself warm.
  • 1h 30m 46s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 06m 56s  min/mile

Leading up to the race, I felt strong. My training was great and I felt ready/excited to run my first HM. From my last 2 long runs, I knew that I was close to my goal time but still needed to shave some time off. I was hoping that the adrenaline will give me the extra push to achieve my goal. Strategy was simple; follow the pace bunny and not let him drop me as long as possible.

Got to the start line and was able to find some room about 10 people deep from the starting line. I was jumping around while trying to stretch until the canon goes off. (Yes a cannon and not a horn) Finally after a few minutes wait, it was the final minute countdown before we start.

Heard a big ‘bang’ and there it was; the start of a new adventure for me. Folks started to run and after some zigzags, I position myself right behind the pace bunny. Now it was time to just relax and enjoy the run.

Just before the 1K mark, we were running at a good pace when suddenly 2 runners away on my 11 o’clock; a runner went to the ground pretty bad clipping the one behind also. Folks screamed right away ‘runner down’ and pointed to make sure others in the back will see it and try to avoid the runners on the ground. It was a scary moment but I saw both runners getting up so I assume they were ok.

The first 5 kilometers went by very fast and I was feeling good. The pace bunny did a good job keeping us at a good pace and there was a good group running with him. My legs and breathing was holding up so far. It was also very inspiring seeing some soldiers racing the race too. Saw one pulling a tire and 2 on a ‘hand bike’. It was just awesome to see their courage!

Before I knew it, we were at the 10k mark. Things were looking good and I was still able to keep up with the pacer. Took a few deep breathe and kept on going. 10k split- 41:22.

Crossing the Alexandria Bridge and turning into Sussex was amazing. There were so many people cheering. The atmosphere was great. While running on Sussex, we passed another soldier with one prosthetic leg. He was running strong! Gave him a high five and kept going with a smile.

Reaching the Rockcliff area was when I started to feel a little exhausted. It was a loop that you run down and come back to the downtown area. Going down I knew that it will be hard running back up. It was not a big grade hill but enough to slow you down. I just kept telling myself: “keep going, don’t let that bunny get away, stay in the game, …” Pushed through it but about the 16k mark, I stated to feel it hard.

That is when I saw my cousin and a co-worker running by and was able to high five them. It gave me back some energy. There was also a cheering station with all the cadets line up in front of the Governor General place and I decide to run by and gave them all a high fives. That gave me a big spur of energy to keep going and increase my speed.

Once I reached Colonel By (the canal), it was the home stretch. Seeing the 3k and then the 2k sign was a huge relief. At that point I was pretty exhausted but knew it was going to be over soon so just kept on running. I was so focus that honestly, I was not able to read signs anymore or really hear all the cheers. It was like a ‘tunnel vision’ and my only goal was to put a foot in front of the other. I was so focus that a colleague of mine basically had to jump right in front of me as I did not see her at all. But that brought a smile to my face and for an instance forgot about the pain.

Crossing the last bridge (Pretoria Bridge) marked the last kilometer of the race. My lungs were working hard and my legs felt like they were gonna give away at any time. I saw the gap growing from the pace bunny. I took a look at my watch I saw that I would miss my target time but still wanted to get as close as possible so I tried hard to quick it to another level/pace.

Usually in my training run, the last 500m to 1k I try to ‘sprint’ and get my legs used to a last burst of energy. It worked pretty well in training but this time, there was no energy left. I was able to increase my speed but not as much as I wanted. My mind wanted something but my legs was refusing to follow. It took a lot to keep running as fast as I can to the finish line. That ‘tunnel vision’ I had was even greater near the end. (My wife told me after the race that she was about 20-25m from the finish line and yelling my name out but I did not hear anything.)

Finally after much effort, I finally crossed the finish line. It was a huge relief and I was so glad to be done. I was so out of it that I forgot to stop my watch until 30 min post-race. It was done and I had a huge smile. I made sure to take time to thanks as many volunteer and soldiers as possible walking out of the finish area. Collected my dog-tag (medals are replaced by dog-tags for this race) and took a finisher picture.

In summary:
Goal time – sub 1:30
Time: 1:30:57
Chip time: 1:30:46

Overall I am very happy with my race. Not only I enjoyed it but it was for a very good cause. I could not ask for a better experience for my first HM. This race will become a tradition from now on and I can’t wait to do it again next year!

What would you do differently?:

It was the first one so lot of experience and lesson learned from it. I believe I ran a good race with the fitness I build up during my training. There are things that I will adjust for next time but that is for another day. Right now, I just want to enjoy it.
Post race
Warm down:

Meet up with my wife and got changed. We had my mom taking care of the kids for us so it was a good opportunity to have a nice brunch without having to chase the kids around. We walked through the market and when to a nice restaurant to enjoy some hot tea along with a great sandwich. Can’t beat that for post-race warm-down!!!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Be more consistent in my training leading up to the race.

Event comments:

This race is amazing. Not only it is a great course but it is for a very good cause. The race itself has raised $300K for the soldier charity. I would highly recommend this race to anyone!

Last updated: 2013-09-25 12:00 AM
01:30:46 | 13.1 miles | 06m 56s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]