In my first post I mentioned that I recently ran my second half marathon. This race - the 'Hypothermic Half' - is put on by the Running Room and has versions all over Canada. My brother ran the Halifax version and I took part in the Edmonton run.
I had been training for this all winter; after my first marathon I decided to register just to keep motivated through difficult -30° mornings. I no longer find a 13 mile run to be any great challenge as most of my weekend runs are at least that distance. Regardless, as I drove to the race my stomach was churning just like it did prior to my first 25km race, first half, first 5k, first marathon.
This wasn't a particularly large race, probably under 200 runners. I'm always shocked when I attend a race. Runners come in all shapes and sizes; you can never tell the fast from the slow based on appearance alone. Still, most of the runners here looked the part - you have to be hardier than the average weekend jogger to make it through a winter running season. There were a good number of beards at the starting line.
The route was fast and flat, though I would have preferred a full loop rather than running two laps. Fortunately, the route was scenic enough, with some great views of the river and some nice older homes, the type of small character houses I could see myself living in when I'm older. The course was road from start to finish which, in this city, means terrain ranging from bare ice to packed down snow to dry sidewalks. Throughout the race, I locked in with a few different runners who helped push me to keep up a hard pace. For a solid stretch I ran head to head with the eventual 2nd overall woman. She pushed me hard for three to four miles before falling off and finishing three minutes behind me. I don't think I could have put up as good a time without her.
In the end I posted a 1:39:48 time - a full four minutes faster than my goal, and nearly eight minutes better than my personal record. When I came down the home stretch and saw I was still in the 1:30s I could hardly believe it. I'm really proud of my time and all the hard work that went into it; I ran the highest mileage of my running 'career' and did it through a brutal Albertan winter. I feel that after this training cycle I'm ready for just about anything. I have a marathon coming up in a few months with my brother - his first, my second - and my weekly mileage is going to be even higher. I can't wait.