Yay for us!
We got to Ali and Colin's in the afternoon on Saturday and we all just hung out for a little bit, while Logan finished his nap. After he woke up, we went to the race expo just to do some quick browsing and shopping.
We ended the night with an amazing dinner that Ali and Colin made for us, chicken parmesan, it was delicious! Since they know us well now (i.e. they know we aren't creepers) we were able to stay at their house which made getting ready for the race pretty easy.
On race morning we woke up and got dressed. The entire night before we didn't really know what we were going to wear (well Mike and I had limited options), but we all went with lighter clothes since we knew we were going to warm up.
Inside Copps before the start
We got to Copps Coliseum, where the Hamilton Bulldogs play, around 8:30am and we went inside to avoid the cold and find some DailyMile peeps (including MacNic who I would be running with).
Once we were inside, Mike and I saw Laura which was crazy since we were of the minority being Americans and this is a HUGE race! After we did all of our meetups and bathroom (aka washroom) pitstops, we made our way slowly to the start of the race.
Mike's half marathon PR allowed him to get a bib number for one of the corrals, which was new this year. He had to go a different way than me, Ali, Colin and MacNic so we wished each other luck and we were on our way.
Apparently at 9:30am the race started, but we didn't hear it since we were so far back (one other reason I need to run faster in the half marathon distance). We slowly started to walk toward the start and Ali dropped back a little bit since she was planning on running slower than us. Finally 7 minutes and 11 seconds after the start, we were off!
I'm going to break up the rest of the recap into three sections, since it is only appropriate because this race was almost like three different races for me.
What we would be running around
1 - 15K (AKA running with three strangers)
MacNic, her two friends Wayne and Phil, Colin and I were all supposed to run together averaging around 9:50-10:00 pace. Right away we "lost" Colin, he knew that he wouldn't be able to keep up with us and we literally did lose him after 5K.
The first two miles we had to dodge some people, this race is crowded which I knew from last year, but we still averaged 9:46 pace for both miles. The one hard part was that I was the only American so the other three were all used to kilometers! One time MacNic said our pace was 6:00 something and I said that my watch said we were going 9:45 pace (knowing she meant kilometers), and she jokingly said, "we are going so slow!"
This was later in the race, but she was like this the entire time
There were water stops at 3K and 5K and each time I had to go get my water and then "sprint" to catch up to the group, they all had their own water. I tried something unusual for me this race and I walked through all of the water stops, later it was out of necessity because they were so crowded. More on that later.
I was getting a little nervous because my 9:50-10:00 pace plan had really gone out the window. Miles 1-6 were: 9:46, 9:46, 9:36, 9:20, 9:23, 9:25. At the 10K point I commented that this was where I was done running last year during the 3-person relay, and I took my first energy gel. Unfortunately the next water stop wasn't until 11K.
At this point we noticed a HUGE group of people and we saw a train in the distance. I guess some people were stuck waiting for the train up to five minutes! It only caused issues with congestion at the water stops for us (and Mike missed it too, luckily).
Miles 7 and 8 were both 9:16 pace, and in my head I knew I wasn't going to be able to keep up with MacNic, Phil and Wayne. Mile 9 we did slow down a bit, it was 9:31 pace, and when I ran over for the 15K water stop I intentionally slowed down. I also don't think I would have been able to catch up to them since that water stop was EXTREMELY crowded.
And since this was REALLY long when I had it all together, this is all you get for now. Come back tomorrow for part 2!