This was my second time officially running in bluenose marathon weekend festivities. I did the 10 k last year, in a lot of pain but got a PR none the less, to be fair I hadn’t run many 10k’s. One time I sort of ran a bit of the 5k as a bandit in a floor length evening gown, not what you’re thinking I promise. One thing that always get me about the 1/2 ers and full runners is how early in the season it is! 3 months out it February 15th, 4 months is January 15th. Brrrr. Those kids are some tough customers.
A bit about the race: The Bluenose was started in 2004 and includes a 2K, 4K, 5K, 10K, 1/2, Full and team events over the long weekend in May in Halifax NS. It’s definitely Nova Scotia’s biggest race and probably the biggest in Eastern Canada. Scotiabank is the major race sponsor and it’s really well organized.
Charity challenge: This was my first time participating in the fundraising aspect of the race. About 75 different charities are affiliated with the Bluenose marathon. This year I fundraised for The Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada in memory of my brother. Up until last year the foundation they had their own spring sprint in Halifax which I participated in many times. Or team raised just a bit over $30 000 and I raised $1020 of that. As I team member you race in you charity’s shirt mine was grey but you get the regular shirt too.
Parking and Weather: Parking downtown Halifax is always a challenge. But this year I came armed with my mom as chaufr-ess and my brother in law’s Scotia square monthly parking pass. Score! We started in the sun at 8 degrees Celsius and the wind picked up to 40 km/hr by km 7.
Cheer Squad: My doting fiancé almost always accompanies me to my races unless they are small and silly and of course he was there for Bluenose. And this time… my mom came! She came to my 1/2 finish line in the fall and got all emotional and decided to come this time too. It was super nice having her there and not just because it meant I didn’t need to drive and she bought brunch after. It was really nice of her to come out and support me so early in the morning!
Course: Beautiful and not all the challenging especially given the hills that exist in Halifax. The elevation gain is just 108 m. You run to beautiful point pleasant park, through the park and then back to the scotiabank centre, but at km 9 when the finish line is a mere 100 m away you have to run around Citadel Hill. Sad face 😦
Logistics and Crowd Support: This was bluenose’s 14th year and the logistics are pretty damn well figured out. I always pick up my kit early if possible and I got mine on Friday before any runners are clogging the streets at Scotiabank centre where there is a race expo going on. The nice thing about this race is that the 1/2 is an extension of the 10 k so all the racers follow the same route and the full runners do two loops of the same course. The marathoner’s and teams start at 8 am, the 10K racers at 8:05 and the 1/2 runners at 8:15 one after another. Halifax has often been voted one of the friendlies cities in the world so you bet there are lots of cheerers and sign holders out there. You are corralled from the centre it’s self in order of your start and line up behind your pace bunny who are all doing the 1/2. It was cool this year I walked into the centre with my 65 minute pace bunny so I got to thank her properly instead of breathlessly when I cut from the crowd. The only thing is you wait at least 1/2 an hour in line which can be cold. The split timing mat is set at 5.7 km as you leave the park which is a good spot for the organizers but it’s not an even split. That said it’s a great first race lots of people telling you where to go and when, not too hard and lots of fun.
Race Goals: Last year I PR-ed in this race but with a time of 1:04:13 but within the first Km I was in a lot of pain. I had popped my knee due to over training that Tuesday in yoga and I probably should have stopped then. But I didn’t and I couldn’t walk properly for a week after or run for a month after. PS that’s when I started wearing a brace. This year I was in the same shape after my Christmas Day run but I re-habbed it slowly over the winter. By race day I was back to long runs and speed work for about 7 weeks. I knew I was less injured than last year and better trained overall so I was somewhat confident a PR was possible but to take a minute off last year’s time I would need to maintain a 6:18 pace for 10 km. I had run that for the last three week’s speed workouts in spurts up to 800m and it seemed too fast. My goal was to run 6:20 for the first 5 and see from there, since my only natural running ability is to run a negative split. I figured with all the fundraising I did it might more than just my mom and me checking my scores. I also wanted to raise awareness for the brain tumour foundation and that now we were fundraising here.
Swag: Bluenose shirts have never been my favourite, they don’t seem to wick well. You’re kit comes in a scotiabank re-useable bag. I also got a brain tumour shirt which was cute and not too bad for wicking since it’s 35% cotton. I did tuck the back into my bra at certain points. I got a brain tumour pen, a button I didn’t wear and two grey ribbons. I wore one on my front and one on my back.
- Time: 1:01:02 (PR)
- Overall: 1018/ 2504
- Gender: 479 / 1604
- Category (F 30-39): 162 / 513
- Shoes: Adidas Boston Boost 5
Kilometers 1-3: This started great with the line of runners really moving close to pace over the mats but within a dozen steps the middle strap on my brace popped open and I had to pull over in the first block when I could. I have tended too go out faster than I wanted too in the past but today this wasn’t an issue. I think it was because I didn’t drive myself in but I was way calmer than usual. I kept on pace and soldiered through to the park entrance. Fist water stop, a few sips of water.
Kilometers 3-6: These are run in the park on gravel trails and there are a few good hills at the end where you see a lot of walking. I always go a bit slower on this sort of terrain and I feel like it’s because you have less friction and so have to put in more work to keep your pace. The hills were getting to me at the end and that water stop couldn’t come fast enough. When I heard my 5 km alert time of 30:56 I knew a PR was in sight but I felt like I might screw it up because the hills were pretty rough. I knew the hills had taken some good out of me and that last km is brutal so a negative split seemed out of reach.
Kilometers 6-9: Back out on the roads and a few good down hills and a short steep one up as well. Around Km 7 I realized I would have to fall twice to mess up the PR. Support stop gatorade, full sugar and taste actually made me a bit icky as I always got for the lighter version. At first I was happy for fuel but it was too intense at that point.
Kilometer 9: It’s right there, so close like 200 m away. But before you finish you have to run around the biggest hill in the city first. I knew this one was a bit brutal. I wasn’t feeling last km strong and I walked up to the last water station and actually finished it. On the down hill to the last slight up hill at the finish line the YMCA cheer squad kicked butt for the day. There was a police officer holding them back, you go guys! I found my power for the last uphill to the finish line got my medal and got my picture taken!
Looking Back: I’m pretty happy with how the day went. I took a hair over 3 minuets of my PR time. I was probably most happy that I had the idea to make and take a picture for social with a thank you sign for social media since I fundraised there.