I drove up to Canada on Saturday morning, and met up with my friends Donna and Shannon at Donna’s parent’s house. Then we headed off to the expo. After finding the most indirect route to get there, we parked across the road, and headed in. Check in was a breeze, and I got my race packet and shirt. For fun, I asked the shirt guy how many miles the half marathon was. He said he thought about 10 miles. Then he said the full marathon was 26 miles, so yeah, he thought the half marathon was about 10 miles. And to make it funnier, I was wearing my Boston Marathon jacket. We checked out the rest of the expo. A lot of the vendors seemed to be selling women’s running clothes. I had brought a bag of old running shoes to Canada with me to donate to one of those shoes for Africa things, but they didn’t have a booth at the expo this year. That’s okay, since I forgot the shoes in the trunk of my car anyway. The expo wasn’t huge, so we were soon headed back to Donna’s parent’s house. They were letting me stay the night there which was great as it saved me the cost of a hotel, and I got to spend more time with my friends.
It was a relaxing day. We had a nice spaghetti dinner and watched some TV. I got all my running stuff laid out for the morning. I set a couple alarms and went to bed.
I slept restlessly, but about average for a pre-race night. I was up before the alarms went off, and turned them off. I got dressed, and had a little oatmeal for breakfast. I decided to wear my Brooks T6 Racers, Brooks shorts, Brooks singlet, and one of my Headsweats Ironman hats. I also had my Garmin 305, and an mp3 player loaded with music. It was raining out, so I got a large trash bag from Donna’s parents to wear so I could keep dry while waiting at the start. I also coated my feet with Vaseline to help prevent blisters.
Then we headed to the race start. We arrived about an hour before the start. I made a quick trip to the porta potties while there was no line. Then we waited in the truck out of the rain. Donna was supposed to have been racing, but she was injured. So Donna and Shannon were going to be my cheerleaders/support crew! Great friends! The rain stopped, but it was still chilly and wet. We bumped into another friend of ours named Shirley. We hugged and got a few pictures. Shirley needed to pee, but the lines at the porta johns were now long. I wanted to go again too. We headed between some cars. I used my plastic trash bag as a privacy curtain for Shirley to go. When she was done, she headed to the start line. Then I peed while under the bag.
Then it was time to get lined up. I headed to the front since I was planning to run relatively fast. I stretched, and stripped off my plastic bag. A lady asked me and another guy to hold up a sign that said I (heart) Mississauga. So we were holding up the sign. Then a news cameraman came and interviewed me while I was waiting, holding up the sign. Shirley said there was going to be a 1:30 pace bunny, but there was no sign of him.
Soon, it was time to start. There was a countdown, and we were off. I was trying to hold a pace around 7 minute miles or slightly faster. I had looked at the elevation chart many times. The course didn’t seem as downhill as I remembered the chart looking like. The first part felt slightly uphill. I was running and dodging puddles. I still managed to completely soak my left foot in a puddle. Great, I thought, I an going to get some blisters. I crossed a bridge I had seen in a video of the race. In the video it looked like it was downhill. But while running, it seemed like it was uphill. Ugh!
A guy ran by me, carrying a 1:30 pace bunny hat. He eventually slowed, and put on the hat. I caught up with him. We talked for a bit. He commented on my Brooks T6 Racer shoes saying I should have no problem in those light shoes. I had a pace band pinned to my shirt. I was on pace for a 1:30 half marathon. We came to a good downhill, and using gravity to carry me along, I dropped the pace bunny. When it evened out, I dropped back into my pace. Eventually the pace bunny caught up with me again. Soon we were running into a head wind. I tried to match my pace to the pace bunny, but he seemed to be running a little fast. I tried to use him as a shield from the wind, but eventually let him go. I drank Gatorade at every water stop.. I didn’t slow to drink, just squeezed the cup and poured what I could into my mouth. Much of it would go down the front of my shirt. I also swallowed some Carb Boom Gels at the 6km, 12km, and 17km marks, and drank some water.. I came to the split for the half and full marathon. I saw no signs, just a cop pointing people this way or that way. In the video I watched of a previous years race, they had big signs at the splits. Maybe they didn’t have them up this year due the rain and wind? I did touch the Mississauga Lucky Shoe as I passed. Magically, there were two Mississauga Lucky Shoes on the course, but I only touched the first one though. Maybe I should have touched the second one… I was no longer on pace to run 1:30, but I was still going to crush my previous bet half marathon time
Being from the USA, I am not fluent in metric. For some reason during the race, I kept thinking there were 22K in the half marathon. My brain gets fuzzy during a race. As I passed the 15K mark I was thinking, I still had 7K, which is 3.1 miles plus 1.25 miles, or about 4.35 miles. But when looking at the mileage on my Garmin, and adding that mileage, I started thinking the course was long. Somewhere towards the end, I figured out there were only 21K in the half marathon, and that I didn’t have as far left to run as I thought.
The course was very nice, though it was have been nicer if it was dry. It is mostly on roads, but winds through a couple parks towards the end where you are running on paths. The last part of the course is a a little windy/twisty with lots of turns. Soon I could see the finish line. But it was across some water, that I had to run around. I hate seeing the finish line and not being to run straight towards it. So I was running around the water and could no longer see the finish. I kept wondering how long it would take for it to come into view again. I came to a big puddle that spread the entire width off the path. You could run around the side of it on the grass, but that was now just mud. No choice but run through the puddle. I went over a little hill, and saw the finish line. I picked up the pace the little bit that I could. Not much gas left in the tank.. I saw Donna and Shannon on the sideline as I ran to the finish. I crossed the finish line, and slowed to a walk. I stopped my Garmin at 1:32:20. I knew I was under that. My official finish time was 1:32:09, which crushed my previous best half time of 1:42. I stopped and leaned against a railing to catch my breath. I asked one of the medical people if I could sit in a wheel chair for a few. I just needed to get off my feet for a minute. She also gave me a mylar blanket. Then I saw a girl worse off then me, so I surrendered the wheel chair for her to sit in, but she hobbled passed. I got the chip cut off of my shoe, and then I got my medal. No hug though. Just at Boston I guess for the hugs. LOL! The food was standard marathon fare…bananas, bagels, Gatorade, water.
I found Donna and Shannon and they had my dry clothes. I went into a porta potty and changed. I felt like I was moving in slow motion. Partly from the cramped space, and partly from fatigue.
Then we caught the shuttle back to Shannon’s truck. On the way back to Donna’s parents, I asked Shannon to stop so I could get some real food. I wanted a burger! We swung through a Harveys, but they weren’t open. Geez, I am not used to being done with races at 9:30am! We found an A&W, and they were open. They were serving breakfast, but made me a couple burgers. They were very good after a hard race. We headed back to Donna’s parents where we relaxed for a few, then started packing. I headed out shortly to head home. The drive was smooth other than an hour wait at the US border.
It was a great weekend! Even though I didn’t hit my goal of 1:30, it was still one of my best races. And I got to spend some time with my friends!

Mississauga Half Marathon

Mississauga Half Marathon