I was a sicky leading up to this race. Early last week, I noticed that I was more tired than usual. Wednesday night, I started feeling nauseous after dinner. Thursday morning, I could barely get out of bed. I had terrible nausea, dizziness and headache, and I vomited once. It improved a lot over the next couple of days, but I still had serious GI tract issues. I was worried about the race, because I was inadequately fueled and my body felt weak. I warned my relay partner that I may be much slower than our planned pace.
I made my way to Hamilton and followed a line of cars into a parking lot. Then I proceeded to wait 15-20 minutes in line to buy a ticket at the one ticket machine for the lot. In the cold. I think the weather forecast was for a high of 12 deg, but it was probably only 2 or 3 deg at that time. Finally bought the ticket and jogged over to Copps to find my relay partner and other running buddies.
The race was capped at 5200 entries in the 30k and 500 relay teams. It sold out. How exciting to be in a crowd of that size. I lined up pretty far back in the crowd, since I thought I was going to be slow. The race started promptly at 9:30 and it took me about 3.5 minutes to get across the start line. I tried not to get caught up in the race excitement and started off at a conservative pace. However, I had set the virtual partner on my Garmin to 6 min/km so I could track how I was doing compared to my goal pace.
Many people reported on the fantastic crowd support for this race. Lots of residents standing outside their homes, some with bowls of cut up oranges, some with signs, little kids holding out their hands for high fives. Unfortunately, I am such a focussed racer that I don't take in enough of the atmosphere. Particular in a race where I thought I had to deal with an upset stomach. Amazingly, my stomach did not bother me during the race.
My km splits:
1:04 (for 0.19 km)
so I came in at 1:28:59 by my Garmin, 1:29:25 by my chip time (after subtracting off the time it took for me to cross the start line). My chip time includes the time it took to hand off the timing chip to my partner. My goal time was 1:30. So, despite being sick, I beat my goal time (and virtual partner) by 1 minute!
My partner did an excellent job of conquering the hills on the second half of the course (glad I didn't have to do those!) and finished her half in 1:31:36. So, we ended up being a very evenly matched relay team, despite the height difference! (see picture below).
My time for 15k gave me a lot of confidence. Now I know that I can hold a sub-6 min km pace for 15k. It shouldn't be much of a stretch to hold that pace over 21.1km and improve my half marathon time. In fact, my relay partner has challenged me to a duel at the Forest City half marathon. Nothing wrong with a little friendly competition! :)