05 March 2018

Race report - 2018 Chilly Half Marathon

My momma taught me "if you can't say anything nice, then don't say anything at all".

Well, I'll say a few things anyway ...

I've had two really positive experiences at the Chilly Half-Marathon, both in 2016 and 2017.  Maybe it's because they were freebies to me, maybe it's because I managed to clock PB times at both races.  But those outings were certainly enough to entice me to go for it a third time around, and this time to actually foot the bill myself.

Alas, perhaps I was getting a bit greedy.

Having signed up a little less than a year ago (to nab the super-earlybird rate) I wanted to once again approach this race as a bit of a barometer as to my fitness level going into the spring racing season.  In consultation with my coach it was clear that this was not a target race and that the training plan would have been structured differently had this been something that was intended to be a goal-oriented event - all the same I knew that in my previous two attempts here I had not peaked for this race either, and held some faint hopes in the back of my head that I might once again pleasantly surprise myself.

The real story of this year's Chilly Half was about my friends - from Gillian (who picked up my race kit for me and saved me an extra trip to Burlington), to Stan (somehow I keep running into this guy despite the masses of people - some 3600 strong - who show up on race morning), to lining up with Jack (a fellow Trinity College alum with whom I'd had the pleasure of reconnecting at the 2016 EndurRUN) and Jeremy (my bud from Barrie who seems to PB in just about every race he enters), to finally Steve (a star Black Lungs athlete who hopped off of the sidewalk to pace me for the final kilometre of the race).  These people are the ones who really made an otherwise difficult race memorable, and who helped temper my disappointment with the result.

All in all it was a tough day - with some gusty winds, although the sun was out, the roads were clear and the temperatures manageable (at about -3°C).  The race again featured a couple of Olympians (Reid Coolsaet and Krista DuChene) and all sorts of performance-level club runners (including my friends Josh Bolton, Rob Brouillette and Tanis Bolton), so the field was fast.  It was my impression that a fast field encourages/drafts all participants to run that little bit faster, but maybe that's more in my imagination that in reality.

The short version is that my legs just didn't have any pop on this particular day, and that every time I thought that I was injecting a bit of pace it was effectively no change at all.  The strongest part of my race came as Steve Elliott jumped in to help me over the final km and I was able to pass a few of the runners ahead of me to gut it out for a 1:29:51 finish.  Thank goodness for small mercies, as if I'd clocked 1:30 or more I would definitely have walked away with my head hung low given where I thought that I was in terms of my speed, conditioning and strength.

It was still a good day out there for Jeremy (who came across in 1:24:14) and my friends Peter (who managed a PB in 1:26:46) and Gillian (a PB as well!), so I'm happy to celebrate their great achievements!  For my part I'll put my focus back onto executing my coach's training plan for my sub-3 marathon attempt in Mississauga.  And we'll see what happens when I step up to the start line again in the Hamilton region for the 2018 edition of the Around The Bay 30k in three weeks' time ...

Key race gear used:
#nononsense #runSwedish #fuelsimply #TeamTap #werunthistown #RunNinjas


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