Tuesday, October 8, 2013

~Harvest Half Marathon October 2013: Race Report~

My last half marathon of the year is over. While it wasn't speedy, it was still an amazing experience. I'm glad that I stuck with my training & was able to complete this race as it was the perfect way to end the race season. The Harvest Half Marathon is by far one of my favourite races and both times it has treated me well.

Saturday morning I woke up at my usual weekday time to my cold having moved into my chest and to what sounded like a lot of nasty wind. I was still unsure of what to wear so I packed a few options to decide once I made it to the race site. Unfortunately I realized the night before that my camelbak chest & shoulder straps leaves chafe marks on my shirts so I had to choose wisely what I would wear so as to not ruin a favourite shirt.

I headed down south to Midnapore, where the race started/finished. The weather was warmer than what they had been forecasting and it didn't seem as windy down there. I found a parking spot on a side street not far from the start line, loaded up my camelbak and headed to the community centre to go find people.

Right away I spotted the circle of co-workers who were also racing. I chatted with them for a bit before going inside to use the bathroom and find some other friends. Sure enough I spotted a bunch of CHRR runners in the bathroom line up.

Once back outside, I saw Cori standing with a few other people, that she introduced me to. We chatted briefly before I went in search of the rest of my friends. I ran into Nikki, who planned to run with me so that was a relief. I decided at this point that I would give my throwaway shirt to her daughter to hold onto and I would put my sleeves on. So glad I brought those for the beginning part of the race.

Everyone was heading over to the start which is where I found my co-workers. Turns out I missed the group photos when I was in the bathroom. We took a few other photos as we nervously waited.

Nikki, me and Penny at the start
CHRR Represents
Then the gun went off. As I was walking to the start line, Leigh found me so we wished each other good luck and off she went.

Nikki and I decided a couple weeks ago that we would run together and treat this as a fun run rather than a goal race. She has been battling some injuries and I'm obviously pregnant and slower than usual. My biggest concern was pelvic pain which seems to start after 10K, and multiple potty breaks.

We started steady through the residential area of Midnapore and up the steady climb from 2-5K into the Shawnee Slopes and Evergreen communities. As much as hills suck, I'm glad I run in a relatively hilly area so this section didn't kill me. It was obvious that a bunch of people didn't hill train at all. The volunteers were so awesome and there were so many of them out there.

Nikki and I just chatted the entire time, running for feel, other than taking our walk breaks every 10 minutes. We walked a few hills if we felt like it, and ran others. It was quite freeing to run for fun rather than pushing myself to reach a time goal.

Around 5K you start the descent into Fish Creek Park. This park is amazing and I miss having it so close to me. I learned to run and did a lot of cycling down here when I was doing triathlons a few years ago. It's spectacular at this time of the year, with all the leaves changing. You feel like you are running in the wilderness. Every time I run down here I want to move back to the area.

I studied the course map so I knew where all the bathrooms were. I've never had to stop for a potty break during a race before so this was a big first for me. I knew there was one around 7K so I planned to hit it.

Also at the 7K mark was Keith who came down to spectate. It was so nice to see him. I had to run past him (and go off course) to hit the bathrooms. While it was nice to have "real" bathrooms along the course, a lot of them were a ways off course so that definitely wasted time.

Once back on the course, I high fived Keith and carried on with the race. It was here that we caught up to my co-worker, D, who had passed me while I was in the bathroom. We said hi and encouraged her on her first half marathon.

We soon came to the fork in the road that left a few runners going the wrong way last year. This year they had a volunteer, an arrow sign and a bear warning sign! This lady would not let me go the wrong way!! I tried...

I wish I had taken pictures along the course. I was planning on it but my phone isn't very accessible in the camelbak so usually during a walk break drinking water or eating some nutrition won over grabbing my phone. I should have bought a camelbak that had a front pocket, and that doesn't chafe my shirts!

Around the 10K mark we almost got plowed over by a cyclist that didn't have a bell and apparently no voice either. I shouted out after her that a warning would have been nice and Nikki yelled to let the runners ahead know that a cyclist was approaching. Seriously, if you have a bike, you should also have a bell. If you don't have a bell, use your voice! This cyclist was so silent that we didn't hear her approach at all. Neither of us were listening to music and we weren't talking loudly. It was obvious that a race was taking place so a bit of pathway safety and common courtesy would have been nice.

Anyway, back to the race...

Around 13K we ran into a couple more co-workers of mine. I thought they were walking the whole race so I was surprised to see them ahead of me at first. Turns out they ran/walked the first half and then walked the 2nd half. Not bad considering they had close to zero training!

Around 14K we saw a couple of our CHRR running buddies and caught up to them when they were on a walk break. They were having a great race and feeling strong.

At 15K, we stopped for another bathroom break by The Ranche, which was also quite far off course. We were both feeling pretty good at this point which we were really happy about. My pelvis was holding out and Nikki's hip and hamstring were behaving.

At 17K we reached the dreaded hill out of Fish Creek Park. We had already decided we were going to walk it so that we could run strong the last 3+K. It didn't make sense to kill ourselves on the hill, especially at this point in the race. We were still feeling pretty good, just a bit tired.

The last 3K went by fairly quickly. I remember it dragging last year so I was pleasantly surprised this time around. I think having company helped a lot, and the fact that I walked the hill rather than ran it like last year.

We made it our goal to pass this one lady that we played a lot of cat & mouse with along the course. Even when we wanted to walk towards the end, we were motivated to keep up our pace and finally passed her in the last kilometer.

Finally up ahead I could see the hill that the finish line would be just around. I said so to Nikki and she was said "We have to go up a hill!?!" We were both done with hills! This is also where the spectators start appearing so we knew the finish line was sooo close.

Sure enough, I spotted Cori and called out her name. She kindly snapped a couple photos. She said she had a good race so I was happy to hear that.

Almost at the finish line!
I also saw some co-workers sitting on the grass so I said hi to them.

And right around the corner was the finish line! They moved it closer this year.We sprinted our little hearts out and finished together.

The clock said 2:45:xx which I was happy with. I barely looked at my Garmin the entire race so I really had no idea how we were doing for time. I thought a realistic finish time would be 2:45 so I was very happy to make that time.

My official chip time was 2:44:37. 

**I hadn't stopped my Garmin during any of the bathroom breaks but Nikki stopped her watch. She said our running time was 2:35 so if it hadn't been for those darn pit stops we would have been a lot quicker.

We did it!

We went inside to get some food and find the rest of our group. I had a banana and granola bar but my calves were killing me. They hurt way more than my pelvis did. They released after 20 minutes and walking around so that's good.

CHRR Post-Race

After the race, I met a bunch of co-workers for brunch. It was celebration time!

Once I got home, I had an ice bath, and hot shower. I was amazed at how good I felt since I was a disaster after my 18K run two weeks prior.

Ice cold water

Bib, race shirt (that currently doesn't fit), and medal
Post Race Thoughts

~ I was quite worried going into this race due to my previous long run pelvic pain AND my cold. Thankfully both concerns were barely an issue during the race
~ Bathroom breaks during a race suck. I hope I don't have to do them again
~ Running long distance while pregnant is hard
~ I had just as much fun this year as I did last year
~ I loved seeing so many people I knew racing this event
~ The volunteers and aid stations rock. Even though it's a small race, there is a lot of support
~ I can't wait to do this race again next year

I'm so glad I have such a supportive running community. Even though hubby and Audrey couldn't come down to cheer me on due to her swimming lessons, there was so much support before, during and after the race.

** I should also note that I went to the chiropractor for an adjustment the day before the race and went back 3 days later for another adjustment. She said that I was in better shape after the half marathon than I was when I came in before. That probably explains why I had barely any pelvic pain during my race but had lots during my two prior long runs as I was out of alignment.

Official Photos are available now- I don't like 98% of them so I won't be purchasing them.


  1. Congratulations again! You had an amazing race :) I will definitely be doing this race next year. It was so pretty and nice minus the hills of course!

  2. You rock mama!! good for you. sounds like a good race!

  3. Bathroom breaks do suck! But I think I would be taking 4-6 of them if I was pregnant and running a half!

    Well done!!! That is a great time :-)

    I'm signing up for the Ottawa Run Weekend half - ahhhh!

  4. Way to go Nicole! That's a fantastic time considering the baby on board and everything else! (It felt really weird reading a report with my name in it so many times!)

  5. Congratulations..I did my first harvest half as a walk in 2012, then intended to walk the harvest half again in 2013 and did but ended up running more near the end..and this year 2014 I will run with my 1 minute walk breaks :)
    What training program did you use for your runs? I"ve tried with the running room, but my pace is slow so I always end up wayyyy at the back, so I just do my runs on my own...


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