On Sunday March 5th I did my first race of the season, the first of about 9 events that I have on the schedule for this year, the Chilly Half Marathon. The Chilly Half more or less lived up to its name this year – as many as 4000 runners experienced cool, though manageable, conditions when they showed up to run the event in Burlington.
The race started at 10:00am. Thankfully the late start meant I didn’t have to get up super early to drive out to Burlington. My friends and I arrived at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre just before 9:00am, which gave us ample time before the race to stretch, use the bathroom, and get ready. One thing that I love about the Chilly Half is the number of friendly faces – including many team Running Free members – who meet at the Performing Arts Centre before the race. Nearly every running crew in the GTA and beyond meets there and there is a ton of socializing that goes on!
I ran the first 10 km pretty easily. My goal pace was 10min/mile, and I actually had to pull back on my pace a few times – I knew that if I started out too fast, I’d pay for it later. After the first turn, when the course took us back towards downtown Burlington, it was cold and windy and felt a bit harder than the start. At around 18 km, though, I started to speed up a little. I tried doing the math in my head, and realized that if I kept my pace up, I could get close to my previous personal best. I decided that I wanted to try to make this happen. I dug in and grinded out the last few km.
The result: I ran my personal best – 2:02:35. I would have been OVER the MOON if I had broken 2 hours, but I came very close. I credit the strength training that I have been incorporating lately for the outcome. I plan to focus more on speed work in the coming months to get me past that 2 hour mark.
The Chilly Half Marathon has become one of my favorite races. The course is challenging and scenic, and the crowd support is great. It’s also so nice that the race director is always working to make sure that everyone has a great experience. Already looking forward to next year!