Running my First Half Marathon

I ran my first half-marathon on Sunday after a stupid bet I made with someone (because that’s always how it is right?)…and after my initial fear of having to run it alone it felt amazing almost the whole time.

I say almost because it wouldn’t be a race without hitting the dreaded wall at some point now would it?

The start of the race – Source

Let me recap:

After a 6am wake-up call I got ready and headed to the start of the race. I’ve raced before for a 5km but the atmosphere was nothing like it – this time there was anticipation, excitement and given it was meant to be 30°C of humidity I was also surprised to see so much solidarity between runners. The more experienced athletes were not hesitating to give advice to newbies like me about how to hydrate properly and stay safe.

I was in the before last corral so I started about 30 minutes after the faster ones. Every corral had its own countdown though and I thought that was nice. 10,9….3,2,1 go time!

The race starts on Pont Jacques Cartier and quickly descends to Ile Sainte Helene a nice, shaded and flat area where you go through the Theme Parc “La Ronde” for kms 1-5. After that it’s on to Ile Notre Dame for the Formula 1 race course and kms 6-11. The first part of the race is remotely flat and easy and I didn’t struggle too much although it being my first half I was taking my time. My splits were 38 minutes for the 5km and 1:16 for the 10km, quite a bit slower than my normal speed. Again I was being safe.

Source

The second part of course was harder – at km 11 you start making your way toward Downtown Montreal and cross over the Saint Laurent River on Pont de la Concorde. The bridge is long and there’s nothing to see through kms 12-14. I started struggling a bit there as my knees were hurting a little and the initial euphoria was fading but I kept on going; telling myself that the hardest was over (next time I’ll know that the worst was yet to come!).

Kms 15-17 saw us go through Old Montreal via Rue de la Commune where we got a good look at the Piers and were cheered on by multiple locals and tourists. It was well needed since there was literally no shade there and it was getting hot! Then we went toward the gay village via Sainte-Catherine street for kms 17-19. At that point so many people were walking but I powered through – I had been drinking electrolytes at each station and coincidence or not my energy had peaked kms 15-19.

Obviously this was soon after we started

The 19th km ended with a big hill and thank god for the crowd gathered around each side to cheer everyone on because by then I had had enough! I guess it’s a strategic point to watch and cheer the runners on because it’s where it’s most needed since everyone is just done by that point.

I managed the hill and I’m not quite sure why but when I looked at the map before the race I had assumed that the finish line was just after. Well it wasn’t and I still had 1.5 km to go but because I didn’t know I started walking, my legs refusing to run anymore. When i realized I hadn’t arrived yet that’s when I hit the wall hard and I think it took me another 15 minutes to walk / run the last 700 m. My body, my head and everything else were just done.

I continued one step at a time and finally crossed the finish line in just over 2h45 which given my poor training and the heat I will gladly take.

The obligatory medal photo

Over all I had a great time and the race itself went much better than I was anticipating! My second 10km was faster than the first and I caught up with a lot of runners at that point. Lets just not mention the last 1km and forget it ever existed.

Would I do it again? Yes! But if I could avoid a heatwave in the process i’d be happy.

Questions:

  • Have you ever run a half-marathon and how did it go?
  • Have you ever run during a heatwave?