Today was the 3rd Annual Millarville Run to the Farmer’s Market Half Marathon. Last year, I ran this event, and you can find the recap here: Millarville 2013
I had such a positive experience at this event last year, that I decided to run it again! Two things were different though: I didn’t go up the night before, and the weather was cool and had a slight drizzle!
My alarm was scheduled for 3:45 AM today, but I woke up naturally at 3:43 AM. How does that happen? Anyway, if you read earlier this week, the husband and I are on this “Clean Eating Cleanse” diet for two weeks. This morning was breakfast number 7. I knew this “diet” could play into how my race would go, but I was using this race as a scheduled speed training workout, not necessarily a personal best. That being said, I had green tea, black coffee, steamed asparagus and two poached eggs as breakfast…not my normal race-morning breakfast. I got dressed, packed a bag to check, and hit the road at 4:50 AM.
I made it to Black Diamond Oilfields Arena at around 6:40 am. I was able to park close the the start line, went in for my morning-of packet pickup, and got myself situated. Packet pickup was smooth, and the shirts are great. Same logo as last year, but different size, orientation, and shirt color.
The bag check was located right behind the start line, and I was able to drop my bag about 10 minutes before the 7:30 am Half Marathon gun. One thing to note about this event—they have a half marathon, a half marathon relay, an 8 miler, and new this year was the 8-Mile “Bun Run”, where participants had to consume a homemade cinnamon roll from a local bakery at (I think) two different locations during the race before proceeding! The half marathon also offered a 7:00 AM early start for walkers, where I say about 20 people took part.
I started off the race feeling very solid! The weather was in my favour, and I pumped out a 7:26, 7:51, 7:27, 7:35, and 7:29 for the first five miles. I will note, though, that the first portion of the course had little to no incline, and was mostly flat, or rolling country roads. So what goes down…must eventually go up.
After the relay exchange point was where we hit the first substantial hill. I made mile six in 8:04. No biggie, I still had a great average pace. If I wanted to beat my 1:38:40 personal best from March it could still happen. My legs got a little tight from the climb, but started to loosen during mile seven and eight, where i ran 8:00 and 7:55.
Then came the rural highway from hell.
If you look at this overview map from my NikePlus app, you can see that long, long straightaway, which I would like to nickname “The Mindfuck.” It isn’t just a straight shot for nearly 4 miles, but it’s a straight shot that then keeps rolling upwards, going flat, then climbing up again. During mile 9 and 10 is when I started to feel the tightness in my quads and hip flexors. While I kept telling myself to go for a 7:45 for both these miles, my legs just couldn’t. I ran an 8:35 and 8:11.
After the climb that wouldn’t end, I looked at my watch around 10.33 miles. I looked at the average pace (which was around 7:49/7:50 a mile) and I quickly assessed my pain level. I also thought about the training I had all summer ahead of me, and most importantly the big Boston Qualifying race I have in Edmonton in August. At that point, I quickly decided to run smart and run slower, coasting into the finish line. I did not quit—I just weighed my options and realized since a PB wasn’t going to happen, it wasn’t worth killing it to just run somewhere in the 1:40s. So mile 11-13 were 8:40, 9:04, and 8:15, which brought me in at 1:44.32.
After walking off the soreness in my leg, I received my sweet handmade bling, and then I broke our cleanse rule and devoured a quarter of a cheese bagel. Sorry Dan! And I also downed a bottle of water. I also immediately felt at ease with how I did! Last year, I ran this same event in a 1:52.10….I ran almost 8 minutes faster! Sure, I was 6 minutes off my personal best, but the improvement I have had over the past year and a half of doing all these races makes it all fine! I finished 36/331 overall runners, 12/213 females, and 8/47 in the 20-29 female category. You can’t have a personal best every race, and sometimes running smarter and safer is key, so that the “Big Show” goes as planned!
How did I feel after? Legs were sore, my knee was fine….but my stomach was beating me up. Did not hurt till after the race. I wanted to keel over into fetal position during the shuttle ride back to the start line, and while I drove back to Lethbridge, I had to stop at a Wayside before Claresholm. This is when I laid in the back seat on Snoopy’s blanket, wincing in pain, and napped for one hour. I did eventually make it back to Lethbridge, and now 10 hours post race, my stomach seems to have settled. Lesson learned—-don’t expect to feel like a rock star after a half marathon when you are on some whack job clean eating cleanse! Next half marathon is the Stampede Road Race in Calgary on Sunday, July 6th. I WILL NOT be on a weird diet then!