October 14th, 2017
Spring and Fall weren’t great race seasons for Ottawa. It seemed like every race day Mother Nature cranked up the furnace for us and threw in some humidity for fun. I had big goals for the year and hadn’t hit them. My best performance was at the Army Run, where I PB’d my half marathon with a 1:54 in sweltering conditions. I was off my 2017 goal by 4 minutes, and I knew I had it in me so I did what every runner does and signed up for the 9 Run Run half marathon in support of Ottawa’s first responders.
Of course, on Friday the 13th, the day before the race, something has to go wrong. I ended up with some indigestion issues that evening and knew I was in for some trouble race day if I wasn’t careful. I drank loads of water, hydrated and got to bed nice and early.
5:00 a.m., the alarm goes off, my race morning rituals start. Walk the dog, have a coffee, eat breakfast, check out social media and the news, get changed, out the door. At the very last minute, I decided to pack some non-drowsy Gravol and I’m glad I did. Twenty minutes before the race starts, nausea strikes hard. Thank the heavens I packed that Gravol!
During the race, I fought my stomach every step of the way. I wanted to stop and walk, but I wanted a PB more. Every 0.5km I was assessing how I felt and if I actually needed to stop. Think strong. Be strong. Finish strong. Words I repeated constantly.
I saw my husband twice on course, the second time was where I needed to see him most. He asked me how I was doing, without thinking, I gave him the thumbs up and pressed on. At 19.5km I could not continue running, no matter how badly I wanted to keep going. The race was almost over, and I had to walk for a minute to get myself together and finish strong. The last 500 meters I pushed as hard as I could, fighting my burning legs and lungs, fighting the urge to stop and hurl. I crossed the line in 1:50:32, a 4 minute PB and my 2017 half marathon goal finally accomplished. The madness does not stop there.
As I crossed the line, I just about lost all the gels and electrolytes I had consumed, I was on my hands and knees trying to get it together. All the spectators, first responders and photographers were spared the sight of me wreaking havoc at the finish line. This moment of “oh god, here it comes” was obviously caught on camera.
Running is not a glamorous sport. You will likely lose toenails. You will experience chafing. You will experience a level or sweat and stink you never knew were possible. You will learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable. Show up when you don’t want to. Put in the work day in, day out. Run a race when you’re not at 100% because you know you have to at least try. Running will teach you many life lessons, and it will reward you greatly.