Oh Halifax. The big city of the Maritimes. With your pretty harbour, big bridges, Lululemon and endless array of carb-loading options, you are truly a runner’s heaven.
And now after taking part in the 10K run at the giant Blue Nose Marathon over the weekend, I can say I’ll definitely be back again.
There’s something about racing in another city that is so exciting. Being a part of this run – with more than 2,600 in the 10K alone – was such a blast. The race was massive (apparently the biggest east of Ottawa) but so well-organized. I never waited in line to get my bib, check my bags or pick-up post-race food. The atmosphere was electric. And best of all – despite rain and hills and my typical state of sleep-deprivation – I ran fast!
I finished in 54:14, more than a minute faster than my super-flat 10K two weeks ago at the Saint John Airport. It’s only 45 seconds away from my personal best (from Moncton – a very flat course). Yay!
There are a few reasons why this run went better for me: it was interesting and invigorating – running over the MacDonald Bridge, running through a Dartmouth neighbourhood, seeing so many spectators – it really revs you up.
Also, after several bad sleeps with Silas, he gave me the gift of only waking up twice the night before the race, and promptly falling back to sleep. Thank you, Darling.
And finally, I stopped stressing over the numbers – as discussed in a previous post – and instead focused on running by feel. On the up-hills, and there were a few, a slowed down. At the top, I waited till my heart rate regulated, then built up my pace again. On the down-hills, I coasted. I focused on passing people when I had the energy. When I didn’t, I held back. I ended the run feeling like I pushed as hard as I could, but I didn’t feel horrible. In my books, that’s how to do a race.
Some other notes on the run:
- We had the most delicious, wholesome meal at the Henry House on Barrington Street the night before the run. I had a Cornish pastie and craft beer. My glycogen stores were definitely full.
- We got a Hotwire deal at the Halliburton on Morris Street, a charming inn in a building dating back to the 1830s. It was a gorgeous spot that included a delicious breakfast every morning (I had toast and homemade jam the morning of the race along with hot coffee). It was just blocks away from the starting line and so close to the water.
- With so many people running the 10K, we had to line-up a good 25 minutes before the gun. It was a chilly 8 C, and it started to rain as we waited. Not the greatest feeling. Luckily, I decided to wear the tech Blue Nose shirt, which quickly dried off as soon as I started running.
- I felt pretty special in line because I got to go near the “front” of the pack, since my estimated time was between 50-60 minutes. That’s a pretty average time for a 10K, but I was actually on the fast spectrum. I finished 92/521 in my age category. Yeah!
- I spotted some local CBC celebrities, including my former j-school classmate, Mackenzie, who was helping out with First Aid.
- We showed Silas how to cheer for runners as we walked back to our hotel. I think he liked it!
- I mentioned the bridge, but it was definitely the coolest part of the 10K. There is a pretty big slope upwards as you head toward the middle of the bridge, but then it heads down again as you reach Dartmouth.
- If I sign up for the Marathon by the Sea in Saint John (planning on it) and the PEI Marathon in October, I’ll receive the Maritime Challenge medal.
I’m so happy I had the chance to train for and run this race, still on maternity leave. It’s so a great feeling to have my running abilities almost back to where they were pre-baby. Making a weekend of the Blue Nose was so much fun.
My race calendar has been a little crazy over the past couple of months, as I have felt the need to make the most of my time off work to fit in races now while I have the chance. When I head back to work in a few weeks, it will probably slow down. But I’m planning to continue running, and hope to train for a half-marathon this summer or fall.