Sunday, November 4, 2012

Hamilton Road2Hope Half-Marathon Recap

Note: I know this is a photo blog, but it’s also a personal blog so I’m going to include a few more morsels from one of my other passions, which is running. But if you hold on to end of the post I’ll share a photo tip.

The Hamilton Road2Hope marathon and half-marathon races took place today. The marathon is the number one Boston qualifying race due to its downhill route. Both races traverse the Red Hill Valley Parkway in Hamilton, which is all downhill for about 6km, and the rest of the course is fairly flat except for a few hills between 11 and 13.5k.

My wife and I ran the half-marathon, which was our third race at this distance (21.1km or 13.1 miles). The morning started out rather chilly with the temperature hovering around 1 or 2 degrees C (33 F for my American neighbours) with a little bit of a breeze making the wind chill a bit below the freezing mark. The nice thing was that the start line was at Dofasco Park, which has an indoor recreation centre so we could at least stay a little warmer. 

After arriving at the start area we went through our usual routine, find the porta-potties, get in line, then after go find some place warm for a few minutes, then back out to the porta-potty for one last pit stop before the race! Planning is key here folks! 

The race got started about 10 minutes late, same with the marathon. Not sure why, but since we could wait inside until close to the start time it didn't really bother us too much. Once you’re in the start corral it’s always a bit of an anxious time waiting for the gun to go off, but once you hear the countdown you’re pretty relieved to finally get the show on the road. It felt really good to get moving, especially knowing that you would begin to warm up pretty quickly. It took me about 2.5k before I warmed up. 

The upper part of the course was pretty flat and went for just over 5k before we hit the Redhill Parkway. This is what every runner was waiting for, the downhill! It was really an amazing site to see all of the runners ahead of you winding their way down. It’s not everyday that you get to run on a major highway. I really liked the extra wide passing lane down the left, and you wouldn’t be pulled over for passing on the shoulder either! 

My goal time was to break the 2 hour barrier and I was feeling pretty good, I felt even better when I caught up to, and passed, the 2hr pace bunny at the 8k mark. No offense to her, but as I passed I thought to myself I never want to see you again! My wife asked me what I would have done if she caught up to me again. I said I would have tackled her! Just kidding, but it was motivation enough to keep her behind me for the rest of the race.

I had a race plan and forced myself to execute it to the letter. I have found that in the past if change my plan during the race it results in disastrous consequences. I kept going pretty strong, and never saw that 2hr pace bunny again. I started to slow down during the last 2 to 3k, but kept pushing and came in at 1:57:12, well under my goal time. I was extremely happy with the result. My wife came in at 1:51:10, she totally rocked it!

Huge thanks to all of the race volunteers and the Hamilton Police service for getting all of the runners through the route safely! And can’t forget all of the spectators cheering us on along the way.

Next up is the Disney World half-marathon in January. Looking forward to running with Mickey and friends.

Photo Tip: 
All of these races have photographers along the route so I decided to wear grey...about 18% gray, you know just in case they need some help in correcting white balance! OK - agreed it’s a lame tip, but proper colour balance is critical and you can’t argue with that.



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