When I heard the weather forecast Saturday night for race day I had some apprehensions. By all accounts it was shaping up to be a hot day. Sunny and a high of 29C - much warmer than the previous couple of weeks.
Nevertheless, I put my reservations aside and headed over to Vancouver Island for the Landsend Half-Marathon. A beautiful rural setting for a road race awaited with winding roads and rolling hills shaded by a canopy of evergreens. The route is lined with secret coves, pastoral farms, and quaint cottages. I had run the route 2 weeks prior (see Week 10) and knew what to expect. My goal was to maintain a 9:05 pace and finish the race just under 2 hours.
At 9am sharp 178 runners headed off into the countryside. We passed by horses, cows, sheep, and other curious onlookers. Most of the way I managed to stay on schedule, though my speed fluctuated wildly with the numerous climbs and descents.
Things deteriorated pretty quickly after that. Those last few kilometres turned out to be a gradual uphill all the way to the finish. There was no shade and no more aid stations. Then out of nowhere I started having trouble breathing: I was having an asthma attack.
I stopped to walk and suck air for a few minutes, trying to calm down and keep myself conscious long enough to gulp some shallow breaths. The whole episode was worsened by a growing sense of panic. My over-developed imagination took hold and I had a terrible vision of myself collapsing and no one finding me in the long grass....
After a couple of minutes walking and calming myself I manged to start a slow jog. My mind started functioning normally again and one thought entered it: I don't want to do no stinking marathon.
With 1K to go I started running in earnest, just wanting it to be over, and made for a strong finish. I passed two old ladies in the final stretch and heard the announcer calling my name out. A few more strides and I was home.
I guess I didn't look as strong as I thought, because as soon as I was through the line and my number was taken I was whisked off to the aid station against my will. The volunteers had me sit and lower my head. Ice was placed on the back of my neck while one of the ladies checked my pulse.
An elderly runner, who had finished the race about an hour or so before me, asked if I'd ever run a half-marathon before. Humiliation set in. I struggled to breathe for a few minutes and saw the worried look on my Dad's face.
About 5 minutes later I was walking around and my father was plying me with chocolate chip cookies and watermelon slices. I was not pleased with my time in the end (2:04:39), but it was just one of those events you are just happy to finish.
-had 2 packages of instant oatmeal with some walnut crumbs on top + one coffee 2 hours before race
-drank 4 small bottles gatorade mixed with water (2 scoops gatorade in total)
-asthma problems occurred 2 hours into the run, so I need to keep my inhaler AND PHONE handy
-no significant stomach problems -no significant aches or pains (except mental)
-preferred the new fuel belt with 4 small bottles to the 1 bottle version