It was an amazing experience. The last time i ran, before the race yesterday, was on tuesday and i made it one mile before i had to turn around and walk back because my hip/quad hurt so much. So when i woke up at 5am on 10-10-10 i was really unsure of what was going to happen and was trying to fight the feeling that i wasn't even going to be able to finish.
My original goal, months ago, was 2 hours and 20 minutes, then i got injured and switched to 3 hours and then just finishing.
It was still dark out when i rolled into Victoria at 6:30 am, but the streets were packed with runners heading towards the starting areas. I found a place in the massive crowd around 7am and just hopped around and let the anxiety roll out of me. When the gun finally went it took a couple minutes just to get to the start line and start running. Nearly 7,000 people were running the half marathon.
The first couple kilometers we snaked our way around downtown and i got used to being in such a huge crowd. One of the most amazing things for me was the sound. Nobody was talking, just the roar of 13,000 feet pounding along the streets. It was incredible.
I kept looking down at my watch as the miles went by thinking "i'm going too fast, i'm going too fast. I'm totally going to burn out soon." But, as i passed the 10 k mark i just kept on going. I had no pain. And i found myself in the middle of the same little group the entire time. I felt good. The only thing that happened a couple of times was my breathing would suddenly become quick and shallow and i would panic a bit, but i would try to focus on something else to take my mind off it and then it would even back out.
Around the 13 km mark the leaders started passing me on their way back to the finish line. It was thrilling to see them fly by. I knew my brother would be passing at some point in that first bunch of people so i kept my eye out for him and when i saw him i yelled out his name and crossed over the yellow line so we could give each other a big high five. Total motivation.
Soon after i crossed the 15k mark and headed back along the seawall and at that point realized i was actually going to finish this thing. There was a really strong, cold wind coming off the ocean and it started to wear me down. The last four kilometers were really hard. It was one of those moments when you just have to reach deep inside and keep going, despite the pain and fatigue. When we were about a kilometer from the finish line a woman behind me yelled "5 minutes left before two hours!" and all the people around me took off.
I sucked in a big breath and sped up as much as i could. I didn't see anybody along the sides of the road or hear any of the cheering. It was a total out of body moment. I looked up and saw the clock tick past the two hour mark as i crossed, but my watch said 1:59. I heard shane yell at me, but could only pick him and the kids out for a moment till i was pushed in to the crowd of runners making their way out of the gated area.
And it was done. And i felt amazing. I do feel amazing. I can't do justice to the feeling i got from setting a goal and following through with it despite so many setbacks, from the feeling of pushing your body to it's extreme. To doing better than i could have ever dreamed. Thanks for coming along on this journey with me!
2032 897/3701 F 118/463 7548 56:08 2:01:01 1:59:30 5:40 Jess Howard Shawnigan Lake BC
From left to right:
Overall Place (out of 6700)
Place among Women 897/3701
Place in Age Group 118/463
Bib Number 7548
10k time 56:08
Gun time 2:01:01
Chip time 1:59:30
Average Pace/km. 5:40