I just felt like running (a half marathon)

Yesterday I ran the best race of my life.

I took part in the Surrey International Music (Half) Marathon and finished the course in 1:32:40. Not quite the sub-1:30 I had originally hoped for, but a solid six minutes off of my previous fastest time.

To say that I was (and continue to be) super stoked is an understatement.

This is something that I am really, very proud of. I trained hard, rested up, ate well (look Ma, no junk food!), and watched Chariots of Fire the night before running (CLASSIC).

And when the time came to kick some ass?

I KICKED IT HARD.

Oh and even crazier still?

I placed third overall out of all the women competitors and thirty-first overall. Like, out of all the runners!

How nuts is that? I mean, we’re talking mixed, salted, 60% peanuts here.

NUTS.

On Saturday, M and I walked down to the River Market here in New West for a sunshine filled brunch, and also so I could pick up the foods I like to eat the night before I run (butternut squash ravioli with pesto, rye bread, and dessert – vanilla ice cream.)

Later that night, as previously mentioned, Mr. M and I snuggled up in bed and watched Chariots of Fire for some last-minute inspiration.

It’s ridiculous how much I love that movie.

(I also have mad love for – and a bit of a crush on – the character of Lord Lindsay. He’s just such a foppish privileged prick. The scene where he practices hurdling over the hurdles with the champagne? Love it.)

This morning I woke up to an absolutely stunning sunrise.

There is something insanely calming about eating a banana with peanut butter, sipping on a steaming hot mug of coffee, next to your little cat, staring at a creamsicle coloured sky.

Soon enough, it was time to wake up the mister, and get our butts out the door.

We skytrained it to Surrey Central and upon our arrival took in more of the sunrise inside SFU’s main atrium. There were a ton of runners about, stretching, gabbing, just generally getting their game faces on.

You could definitely feel that there was a buzz in the air.

As the minutes ticked down to the start of the race, we wandered over to the start line chatting with a few of the participants, taking some photos, including this one of my race day nails:

Is it weird that I am almost as proud of these as I am the outcome of the race? Because goodness knows I have a hard time painting my nails as it is, and I just love this combination of colours.

With about eight minutes to go, M bid me farewell, wanting to get to a different part of the course in order to take photos and cheer me on.

When the gun went off, I was very close to the start of pack. I wanted to make sure that I didn’t go out too fast, but I was feeling really good so I figured I would push myself from the start, focusing on keeping my strides long and breathing consistent.

There weren’t a ton of spectators lining the route, but M met me at the 7km and 18km markers; my brilliant and beautiful friend Stamata met me at two different stops along the way (the 8km and 10km I believe?), dressed in her amazing-as-all-heck pajama pants, hoodie and chucks (!); and M’s parents met just before the 12km mark.

I cannot begin to say enough about how important it is to have people cheer for you along the course. It really, REALLY pumps you up.

When my hips started to feel it like mad (sometime around the 19km mark) it was the support of the crowd that really helped me solider on.

Speaking of that blasted 19th kilomenter, I finally experienced something similar to what I imagine “the wall” is like (let’s call it a “mini wall”).

It was brutal!

The only thing that kept me going was the thought of just getting myself to the 20km marker. That and a TON of self-talk.

(I should also take this opportunity to stress the importance of shortening your stride during these testing episodes.)

On the whole I knew that I was running a good race, but didn’t know exactly where I was in terms of positioning, especially in relation to other women out on the course.

Having started so close to the start line when the gun went off I knew that my chip time would be very, very close to whatever was going to be displayed on the clock at the finish line.

As I neared the end of the race, I saw 2:01 on the clock (the marathoners having begun thirty minutes before us halfers) and I just gave it everything I had – pumping my arms, lengthening my stride –and WHOOSH!

Before you could say tight hip joints – it was over.

I heard the emcee announce my name, and something about me being the third woman to cross the finish line.

Third!

I was so shocked and exhausted, that when the woman handed me my medal, I automatically went to shake her hand, and she was all “What the eff?”

So I kind of just shook her hand without her shaking mine back.

AWKWARD.

But oh, how I laughed and laughed.

And then I celebrated! I drank some sweet, sweet chocolate milk, got a free massage at the athletes expo, listened to some of the entertainment, and stretched.

Speaking of which, I could probably stand to stretch some more. I’m not going to lie – I’m a little more than stiff.

So there you have it friends – another life milestone achieved.

Until the next time!