The Half Marathon Secret Number – Finally!

22 Feb

When I decided to run my first half marathon in 2005 (after my grandmother told me at a family dinner I was packing on the pounds – seriously), I kept a secret number in my head. Two.

I wanted to complete the half marathon in two hours. Anything under would be amazing. I ran the Toronto Half Marathon in October, 2005, and while I enjoyed my first 21.1-km race, I was a mess. A shear emotional wreak. I ran two other half marathons with the same secret number in my head, but to my avail, the number never came.

2:10. 2:11. 2:07.

Those are my half marathon times. True, it’s a huge accomplishment to even be able to hammer out a half marathon, but there’s pride in numbers. And I know it all comes down to the negative self-talk I do during these races. I don’t need Dr. Phil to tell me that.

I haven’t completed a half marathon in 2.5 years, and since my last emotionally draining half marathon, I started boot camp with Kris Plant, and have gained some mental toughness and some strong legs.

Real Runners. My sister (right) and I after completing the race.

But it’s when I convinced my sister to run the Winterman Half Marathon with me, I knew the secret number was in the bag. She just completed her first half last fall, and she’s a bulldog. When she wants to get something done, she gets it done and doesn’t leave anything behind. Her first half marathon time? 1:57. Oh ya, baby. She was the driving force I needed to complete my half marathon mission.

So on Sunday, we lined up at the Winterman Half Marathon together and took off. It was a five-km course we had to repeat four times, with an extra 1.1-km route to wrap up the distance. All I have to say is, Holy Hills. The entire course was either climbing a hill or descending. I am fine with running in -15-degree weather. But those hills. They were brutal.

On our fourth lap, I started to mentally crumble. Sure enough, the bulldog came through and told me on our fourth lap, “Look, fast or slow, it’s gonna hurt either way, so just do it fast.” After nearly shedding some tears and some kind words, I shook it off, and ran with a right hip that felt like it was chiseling away at my bones.

Keeping up with the bulldog, we crossed the finish line together.1:58.41.

I finally reached below the secret number and I couldn’t be happier. And I credit my sister for getting me through. She gets annoyed with that comment. I may have the lungs and legs, but I don’t have the mental toughness she carries with her. So I used some of hers yesterday and am so grateful to have gotten past that mental block.

Jamally (husband) completed the 10-km race, and following a quick trip home combined with a nap/pizza, we headed to a friend’s place in Ottawa. This will be tomorrow’s report. And let’s just say it involved a decathlon and two documentaries on a kitten we like to call, Mr. Fuzzy Face.

A great day.


7 Responses to “The Half Marathon Secret Number – Finally!”

  1. Heidi February 22, 2011 at 10:49 am #

    You two are awesome! Sisters can get you through everything – especially when you have one like Sue! Congrats!

  2. Molly February 24, 2011 at 2:56 am #

    Cathy! I am loving your blog! This story was awesome – I hope to someday beat the 2hour half marathon mark as well! Is your sister available for hire? lol
    Keep it up!

    • Cat's Cove Writing Services February 24, 2011 at 4:23 am #

      Thanks, Molly! I was beyond thrilled to get under that mark, it’s taken a long time! You’ll get there for sure!


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