In January I wrote that my goal this year was to run a sub 2 hour half marathon. I’ve run 15 half marathons, but none of them in less than two hours.
I gave myself a couple of chances to do it this year: The First Half, the BMO Half Marathon, the Scotiabank Half and Lululemon’s SeaWheeze.
The First Half in February was cancelled (for the first time ever!) due to extreme weather. So there went my first chance at a half marathon PB (personal best).
The BMO Half Marathon in May was my next chance (half #16). And I knew by kilometre 3 it was not going to happen. I hit the wall early and it took me awhile to plow through it (like another 18 kilometres!). It was a really tough race and I was proud of myself just for finishing. Another medal but no PB.
I ran the Scotiabank Half in June (half #17). It was scorching hot that day. Not my ideal running conditions. I stopped looking at my watch 6 kilometres in and just ran the race. Definitely not a PB run.
In August it was time for the SeaWheeze (half #18). I went in knowing I wasn’t going to get a PB; I definitely didn’t train enough for this run. So instead my friend Ang and I enjoyed the course, stopping to take photos and enjoy the atmosphere.
I thought my chances were over for the year.
Enter Gemma Slaughter (seriously… her last name is Slaughter.) I started training with Gemma at Steve Nash Sports Club in August and by September she had convinced me to sign up for three races: the Under Armour Eastside 10k, the Granville Island Turkey Trot 10k and the Fall Classic Half Marathon.
I felt good after the Eastside 10km and battled through the Turkey Trot (coming in at 55:48 and 54:47 respectively). But the true test was coming up… the Fall Classic, aka my last chance of the year to PB.
Gemma gave me an intense (by my standards) training plan and I followed it as best as I could (those kids and that full time job really cut into my training time!). And then she gave me the best gift I could have ever asked for… she offered to pace me for the Fall Classic! This woman’s half marathon PB is 1:22. If anyone could get me across the finish line in under two hours, it was her.
Come race day, with Gemma by my side, I felt ready.
At kilometre 5, I felt good.
At kilometre 7, I couldn’t believe we had only run another 2k.
At kilometre 10, I felt like a rockstar (we hit the 10k mark in 56 minutes!).
At kilometre 12, I knew it was time to start digging deep.
At kilometre 17, I wanted to quit. Gemma, two steps ahead of me, held up 4 fingers. “Only four more!”
At kilometre 20, Gemma really had to push me…. figuratively and literally. She had her hand on my back for the last hill and made me maintain my pace until we hit the top.
At kilometre 20.1, I wanted to puke. I wanted to give up. I wanted to lie down, curl into a ball and make all the other runners jump over me. But she wouldn’t let me.
With 150 meters left, she looked at me and said “You got this!” Then I saw my husband and my kids on the sidelines cheering us on. And I knew I had it.
I crossed the finish line at 1:59:26.
And that, my friends, is a PB!