Want to know a secret honey and I haven’t been away for two nights or more for fun since the year we met 15 years ago. Sure we have gone away for fun once this summer for one night for my triathlon at Melmerby Beach but we brought my mom and step dad, buzz kill! We have gone away most years sometimes a few times but it’s usually a night at a time or come and gone in the same day except when his dad was sick. It’s always a night for a big family birthday, funeral or wedding, to do his dad’s chores or we’ve gone separately. This isn’t a feel bad for us post though it’s a yeah me post, with a side of race re-cap. Or really mostly a race recap. This race ended up having a lot of unexpected elements for me so if you’re a dedicated reader you might notice some deviations from the regular form.
We decided to get away for the weekend sort of at the last moment only booking a place, and registering for the race on Thursday night. This weekend was mostly for honey to play a prestigious poker tournament in Charlottetown. Even though I don’t really get it but he loves poker! He went a few years ago with some friends and declared it one of the best weekends of his life. He was tiered, smelly and still kinda high on Red Bull but he was happy when he came home on sunday that year. Two days of rain meant we could get away and he could play, so we did! And while a girl is there to support her poker man, she can still run a 10k right? We had so much fun we both decided we should do it more often.
So why is it hard for us to get away? Well for a long time it was the kids, they were just too little and honey didn’t have any family support. Once they got old enough they weren’t the type of kids you could leave for the weekend, on a related note we did ONCE when his dad was sick and that’s how we got all new plates! Exciting! After that year of him being gone a lot and me sitting in at the house we wanted a year or two off from running the roads. Finally it was only last summer those awesome neighbors I’m always going on about moved in next door to take care of the cats. We have high maintenance cats, that have high maintenance cats it’s a match made in heaven! Last but not least as much as we like the idea of traveling we’re pretty happy at home just chillin’.
A bit about the race (and our weekend)
This was the 15th anniversary of the PEI Marathon and it’s held inCharlottetown (and surroundings) each year. The 5k, 10k and half all start in downtown Charlottetown but one thing that’s really cool is the full marathon starts a bit earlier at Brackley Beach Park and they bus you out there on the day. That way you don’t have to cover the same ground and it’s a really pretty route in. The race supports the Canadian Mental Health Association I think both from your race fees and as an option to both donate and fundraise for the cause. It’s supposed to be flat and fast and a crazy number of people Boston qualify there that said I didn’t feel like the 10k was all that flat but I was really tired that day. Overall it’s pretty big event with about 3000 people participating.
Honey played three qualifying tournaments on on Friday, one early Saturday and another later on Saturday. It took him a while to calm down when he got home around 10:30, plus being in a new place makes it hard to sleep. So neither of us got much sleep both nights and were pretty darn exhausted come Sunday Morning. Mercifully the Start time for the PEI Marathon’s shorter races is well after 9 am. Also a huge bonus our AirBNB host Maxine told us we could stay into the afternoon and pack up leisurely after the race which was amazing. As I lay in bed trying to sleep the night before I was thinking “what even are my goals tomorrow?” I didn’t think a PR was even possible, I’d trained hard for the last one and I even wondered, what’s the point?
Parking and Weather
Usually races mean driving at least the best part of an hour first thing in the morning, lots of alarm clocks and planning the night before for a very, very quick morning. This time I got to see how the other half lives and let me tell you it’s nice! The place I booked was at the very start of Kent St. in the historic district of Charlottetown called the ‘cottage on Kent’ and I share that because it’s the perfect place if you’re taking a similar race-cation! My criteria when booking was mostly still available, not that expensive, cute enough and near Charlottetown, that’s it. This place ended up being 2.5 blocks away from the start/finish line and suited out needs perfectly. Is it weird that I was like REALLY excited to run to the start line like the cool kids do, it made me feel so extra dedicated. I left my car parked on Kent St. in front of the AirBNB and after checking the route maps I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be blocked in after and that was correct. Overall there seemed to be plenty of on street parking available to race day participants on Sunday morning and my mom and I were the only cars in space for 7 an hour before and after start times. Like any race in a more urban area make sure to study the race maps (for all the routes, not just yours) closely and read the street closure list carefully before deciding where to park.
The weather on the day was very cold for the season 4 degrees Celsius (39 F) and outside of the down town quite windy. I brought a pair of thiner capris and perhaps optimistically the cutest flared running skirt that would have matched my race shirt perfectly. I went for a run the day before just to make sure that I would be warm enough the next morning. It was chilly and I started the race with a long-sleeved merino wool undershirt and gloves.
I’m not as familiar with Charlottetown as I should be but that’s why your running app generates a map right? We started downtown and quickly headed into Victoria Park (which was pretty windy) and then through a residential neighborhood. There were lots of volunteers at every intersection pointing the way but it was pretty twisty and turny. So if you expect to be first (or last) you might want to be extra familiar with the route. While in this neighborhood I did see a lady about my age doing what was unmistakably the walk of shame. Mini skirt, high heeled boots and smeared make-up, poor lady someone send her a medal too, she deserves it! Then we headed out to a more industrial area near the superstore I had visited on Friday. The windiest section was out by the University I think, what stood out for me was the NRC building on this section and then back into downtown. Check out the map for better details than that. I guess it was pretty flat overall with an elevation gain of 79 m but I ended up running way harder than I anticipated. I find when I race and end up really going for it I can swear the whole thing was uphill! Does that happen to anyone else?
Sort of by accident, sort of by coincidence, my mom and stepdad were there for the 5k too. As soon as they finished the Bluenose 5k they informed me they registered for Valley Harvest and this one. Like I’m pretty sure they registered in the car on the way home soon! But mostly this was a poker weekend with just a side of running. Since I scored such a primo location and we got to check out late they swung by before and we walked up to the start line together. Unfortunately for him, sad face, he didn’t qualify for the big game on sunday but it meant that he was there to hold all of our stuff and cheer us all on, plus the trainees stayed for my finish line which was a bit shorter of a wait than originally expected. My mom and step dad suggested that since he was so tiered he should just wait and come to the finish line. Well they more so decided it for him, moms right? So we all gave him our sweaters for after. But he just followed us all out the door anyway, obviously our most dependable race day photographer was coming too! Then we all took our sweaters back for the walk up! We’re a pretty lucky bunch to have such a dedicated supporter on our team. However if you see him running, other than that one time I tricked him, you should too because something is definitely chasing him and it’s bigger than he is!
Logistics and support
This race is pretty well established and they do an especially great job on a few things that really stood out. One is on the non-closed roads they do a really great job keeping the traffic away from you. Another thing that really stood out for me is those mile marker signs are like bang on for the distance you’ve gone! So often at races they are not or they were but aren’t anymore. Not that that’s a really big deal but strangely I really, really liked that! There were three water stops on the course, at least some had a selection of gatorade flavors, how neat is that? Also these were are the 2.5, 5 and 7.5 k marks too! It might sound like I’m reaching here for nice things to say, I’m not, the race runs like a well oiled clock otherwise. One thing to note, while I was registering I noticed a paid option to pick up your kit on race day. So know that picking up your kit in the morning might not be an option at this one!
Normally I talk a little bit about my goals for race day here and fess up if I didn’t have any. But this time things were a little different so I’m going to explain that a little here. The night before I was thinking meh I guess I’m just getting it done tomorrow and collecting a medal and I was a little torn about that and less excited that I usually am to race. That said I was excited to run my first running race since May (and only the second one of the year) where I wasn’t at the trainee’s pace and got to go at my own.
Pretty early on I was going faster than I thought I would but I as still very much not thinking that breaking my record was possible. So I kept trying to slow myself down and telling myself “you haven’t slept in two days and you have a 4 hour drive after this”. I even stopped at one point to take a picture. But for all my trying to slow down it didn’t work. Around km 7 I realized that a PR just might be in sight if I really picked it up so I decided to go for it. I also want to put it out there that when I’m really going for it determined to break a record or at least give it a try I literally notice nothing that happened during the race to the point I have to check the map to see if I ran by the water. This race did not feel like that and I took a lot in along the way.
Pretty basic on this one a very nice medal with a very nice ribbon and a t-shirt. No complaints though even at last minute prices I think it was only $65 which is pretty cheap all things considered. The t-shirt was really nice that very thin very breathable fabric that I love so much. I say was because I already cut it up and it will soon be part of that race shirt quilt I’m working on.
Time: 1:01:06 (chip)
Overall: 127/ 241
Category (f 30-39): 22/51
Shoes: Asics Gel Cumulus 19
Normally I only have a sentence or two here would I do it again or not really but this time I have a lot more to say. And as this is the end of race season I’m looking ahead to next year too. I was kinda feeling all woe is me about not getting to go for a PR at Valley Harvest (which I knew I was doing in advance) after getting in olympic triathlon shape. In fact I even told the trainees that they only get pace bunny support now if they go for a new distance. On a related note I’ll definitely be pacing my mom at a 10.5 k at sole sisters next year (such a fun race) and it seems my stepdad might be doing a 1/2 next year too and I am really excited about that, I am! But as the season draws to a close a girl starts to dream about the next one and as I see it now I’m looking at two options. Option one use all those half marathon training runs that I’ll be doing with trainee 1 and then just double them and do a full. Yes I know I recently wrote all about why I’ll probably never run a full but I want to find out who wins the bet! Or really work on my technique and form, do some really intense speed work for the first time ever, while doing that bare minimum half plan and go for it on my 5k and 10k times.
Before this race I was ho hum about both options really and as much as I want to do another olympic I want a year off from that distance. I really genuinely felt like those 5k and 10k times were pretty immovable for me where they are now. Next year I’ll be two years older than when I set them too. The thing is this race was 4 SECONDS off my 10k PR time and the second half was 15 seconds off the 5k PR. The thing is this race was a relative breeze for me. I stopped to take pictures, blow my nose, took in the sites and tried to slow down. All of a sudden those times look pretty darn moveable!
I’ve also added a super secret maybe not possible on a couple of fronts thing to my bucket list since I checked a bunch of stuff off this year. I’m not ready to share yet but trust me it’s on there and if that happens this year I want to run a marathon next year. Don’t worry though if I don’t get it the first year I’ll keep trying! But moving those 5k and 10k times is on there now for sure! If and when I eventually tackle this distance I want to do it at the PEI Marathon. I love that you get driven out and run into town, it’s a flat, fast course and I’m mostly worried my time will be embarrassing maybe slightly less so here. Finally I love the date of this one, cool with no chance of snow but it’s Canada so you never really know.
So here’s where I’m going to do the regular thing. Isn’t it crazy how a last minute race, on a weekend that wasn’t for you, that you ran dog tiered with no goals can sneak up on you and teach you a bunch of stuff and reignite some big passions you have for the sport. I say I hadn’t trained for this but that isn’t exactly true. We all feel like we loose fitness so fast but as a biologist I know that isn’t true. Training for an olympic with a half marathon as a base to start from isn’t no training. Trainee 1 was still very much on program and asking me how far I was running on a given day. To which I replied “I don’t know till I’m tiered, or half tiered then I’ll turn around.” But the point is I was still running and therefore jeeping my fitness up. I thought 5 months of heavy training was more than enough for me this year and spending my whole summer getting ready for a full does give me pause. It’s also a lot to ask of honey and my family too! The non-marathon option would give them a deserved year off!
Would I do this race again, hells yeah. Plus it always coincides with honey’s favorite poker tournament weekend so chances are you’ll see me back! Oh and by the way I accidentally registered for the Mahone Bay Reindeer Run so I guess this isn’t it for the season after all. In my defense they tricked me this year, the reindeer is wearing a tutu!