Monday, 17 September 2012

Milton half marathon race report

I was working night shift this week, so there wasn't any way to set a proper sleep schedule in anticipation of this race.  It's just barely close enough to drive there in the morning, so I was up at 4:30am.  Arriving at Milton around 7, I roamed looking for a Tim Hortons.  There's the Coffee Culture, the Starbucks.  What kind of Philistines are these without Tim Hortons all over.  I found one nestled in a gas station and stopped for a coffee and bagel #2.  Bagels with peanut butter are my pre-race food.  I drank a can of Monster on the way, and got a coffee with the bagel, which didn't sit well with the Monster.  I felt bloated and ended up vomiting the excess before heading to the race site.  

The race was the Go train station which was great.  There's tons of parking by at the start line, so you can sit in your car or keep your warm clothes on right up until they play the national anthem.  The weather was great too, sunny and cool, but not so cold at the start to be wishing for gloves.  Local hero Ed Whitlock was there trying to set another world record.  I got a picture of me with Ed, but one of us looks like hell in it and it ain't Ed, so I'm not posting it.

We headed to the outskirts of town.  The cyclist in me swooned over what a lovely field it was there under the morning sunshine.  I settled in just ahead of the 2hr pacer.

Outskirts of town East
I was feeling disappointed however that we weren't headed anywhere near the escarpment.  They promised spectacular views of the escarpment.  We turned to the West, and suddenly there it was.

Outskirts of town South
Turning the corner to the North I took another picture.  When I put the camera back in the  satchel  it must have bumped my phone because my music volume went way down.  The volume buttons are on the side of the phone.  My bluetooth headphones have been acting up so I didn't expect them to be able to fix it.  If I hit the wrong button, I could change the track, and my music of choice today was two 60-minute tracks recorded straight off the radio.  If I changed track it would star one of them at the beginning and I would have to listen to that section over again.  So I took out the phone and clicked up the volume.  Fine. Put the phone in the satchel and the music stopped.  I took the phone out and went looking for the play button.  I use the phone for business and if I lose it I can't have someone browsing my e-mail or spamming my contacts, so the screen is locked.  I have to enter the code just to open it to turn the music back on.  I was crossing an intersection about then, so the drivers must have thought geez what a loser I am texting during the race.  I got the music going.  At least it didn't reset to the beginning of the track.  I didn't want to put up with this nonsense anymore, so I put the phone in the other pocket of the satchel...  with my Gu. I don't leave packets behind, so it was in there with the gummy first two packs.  Soon I would add a third.  For me, the half is a 3 Gu run.

The promised spectacular view of the escarpment
This was just past halfway and there was plenty of gas in the tank so I turned it up a notch.  ...or maybe I just thought I did.  The 2hr pacer continued just moments behind me.  I passed a handful of folks.  Then there's a short out-and-back after looping around the block.  I wasn't paying attention and missed Ed Whitlock running past the other way.  Last time I raced him was in 2005 and he beat me by over two hours.  This is half the distance and I've been practicing, so I managed to keep it to 20 minutes.   
They were lining up for pictures with local hero Ed Whitlock

Was that course official?  Sometimes they can adjust the start/finish to reconcile the distance, but usually there's an out-and-back with a turnaround. Start/finish was right at the entrance of the parking lot. Hope so because Ed set a record for 80-84 in the half at 1:38.  I'm going to come back in 35 years to try to still be within 20 minutes of that.

I hung around after trying not to look too much like I was stalking Ed.  Most of my shots of him were brutal, being fuzzy or in shadows, but I got something good enough to post to his Wikipedia page.  

Oh all right, here's the pic of me with Ed

I went to phone home to say I was on my way back but it was glued inside the satchel by now.  It took quite a wipedown to rescue it.

Why haven't I done a half before?  This is a great distance.  It's far enough that you really have to work for it.  It takes long enough that you have a sense of accomplishment.  A 5 km race is over so quickly it seems hardly worth the bother.  It's like Olympians in fencing who lose their first and only match in 2 minutes and that's all they get.  Years of training, the long trip to the event, and over in a flash.  For me, runner's delirium sets in at about the 10 km point, and fades away around 20 km.  In my marathons, the 3rd quarter is fatigue and depression, and the 4th quarter is a world of pain.  Here in the half marathon, it's nothing but good times.

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