Last Sunday was the Chilly Half Marathon in Burlington. I have run and raced this several times and had planned to race it this year, aiming for a sub 1:37. This winter has been great for runners; my mileage was good and I was getting the speedwork done. As luck would have it, though, I was diagnosed with a sinus infection the week before the race. The extra effort that I seemed to be putting into my running suddenly made sense; I couldn’t breathe – simple. So I quickly accepted the meds that I was prescribed, took one day off training, and kept moving forward. By the race weekend, I was confident that I would be able to run the Chilly Half; racing it was still questionnable.
The morning of the race, I was up at 5:30 to drive my oldest son to the GO station so that he could catch a bus to Toronto and it was cold. By the time I got home to run my shake-out, the sun was coming up but there was a face-biting cold wind. At 8:30, when I arrived in Burlington for the race, it was much warmer and I was glad to have a 10:00 start, but the wind was still noticeable.
I went out with 2 plans. I wanted to run a 4:40/km pace, which would have me finishing around 1:38. My back-up was to go out slightly faster than marathon pace, which is 5:00/km. I realized very quickly that the getting over a sinus infection/wind off the lake combination was not a good one and, by 5 km, accepted that I was not going to run 4:40 that day. I was totally okay with that, though, as the last thing I wanted to do was blow Boston because of what should be an easy prep race.
So this race became a chance for me to practise. Not worrying about speed meant that I could relax a little bit and try to enjoy the course. The Chilly is known for it’s pancake flat terrain, but it was cold and very windy. I was really looking forward to turning around at 14K and getting out of the wind, but I swear the wind changed direction at the very moment that I did. Except for the 200 metres at the end, I felt like I was running into the wind the entire time.
I am particularly proud of my porta-potty pb at the Chilly. I felt my gut start to tighten up around 16/17K and decided to duck into a porta-potty shortly after. It was a false alarm – only gas – and I was in and out in just over a minute. With winter layers to contend with, I was pretty pleased with that time. You know you’re a runner when you claim a personal porta-potty best!
So what is the nitty-gritty? I finished in 1:42, 5th in my age group (50-54). This was also a Provincial Championship race for the 21.1k distance and I earned my age group’s silver medal for that, which makes me happy. So while I didn’t leave with the time that I wanted, I walked away with a reminder that you need to be in top condition to race well. And even though I wasn’t in peak condition, I still ran well.
In the past ten days, I can feel myself being stronger and healthier. Around the Bay is next and that will be a strong indicator of my fitness for Boston. I can not wait!