The Chilly Half Marathon was on my bucket list for several years, but given I never raced in the winter, it would be of a challenge for myself. So knowing I was aiming to do this race, I decided to continue running throughout the year to build for the race.
I was also recovering from multiple injuries last summer that I had to put run and bike on hold for several short periods during the summer and fall. I was constantly seeing my massage therapist / sports acupuncturist Johnny Lo from Athlete’s Care who was always very patient and met my needs to save me so I can continue my recreational racing.
As most people know, winter racing is different than running in the warm weathers, or even in the rain. To prepare for it, I started running in November starting with short distances. I paced my friend for the Salvation Army Santa Shuffle and ran Tannenbaum 10K on the same weekend to start the muscles and legs getting used to running in the cold to meet my minimal distance requirement. I had a high level plan in my head. Now speed was not my priority, if I got a PB (great) or else it’s the distance that counted. During the course of December and January, I trained mainly for 5Ks/10Ks. I purchased the proper running gear, I bought a pair winter Uniqulo Heat Wear tights, Running Room compression calves sleeves, and a light weight running jacket to start it off. I knew I had to be hydrated more than usual so I started hydrating more often and stocking up on Guu gels for training. And as usual, I always use my TomTom Multi-Spot GPS watch and have it sync to Strava I can keep track of my distances / times so I can analyze my run afterwards.
Throughout the course of February, I continued to bump up a small amount of distance every weekend until I reached 18K, even if it was a walk/run activity. I knew at 18K- that I would make it to the finish line as it was the racing mind set at that distance to finish the race.
On race day it started off to be a cold start of the day, with temperatures dropping below zero with the wind blowing from various directions. We all found places indoor to heat up before the start of the half marathon. The organizers were very helpful and sent out locations for parking and indoor wait areas beforehand; so people knew where to go and what to do. Around 15 minutes before the race started, we all went to the proper corral and the race began.
The first 3K was painfully cold as the head wind came and we were right next to the water. The roads we ran on were also fairly tight, meaning you were very close to the person next to you. So at one occasion when we hard to do a sharp turn that basically meant a lot of people turning at once, and some of us had to stop and we lost our pace. Regardless, the rest of the route was fine. There were a lot of amazing volunteers that helped out at hydration stations. I maintained a good pace overall as I followed the pace bunny for 2 hours. I manage to outrun them at the end when I knew I could finish the race at the pace and time I wanted. To my surprise, my time ended up being better as at the end I sprinting the last 1K and ended up with 1:59:03. I guess all that softball sprinting really helped bumped up the tail of the race. This was around 25s faster than my previous half marathon. This marks the completion of my fourth half marathon and amazing way to start of the March.
Next up would be training for longer distances, stay tune!