As usual, I didn't sleep all that well. I never do the night before a race. I probably managed a good 5 hours or so. Good thing I packed everything last night; who knows how I would be in the morning!
The night before I'd been studying the stage map, trying to prepare myself mentally. The course follows many of the roads I biked on during my stint as sherpa at the St. Johns Waterloo Half. So I knew there were going to be some rolling hills. The half marathon course consists of a 13km loop, followed by an 8km loop, starting at RIM Park (also the start for the Waterloo). Nice to have some familiarity with the course.
Right before the race started, just as we were walking to the start line, who shows up, but my friend Dave! I'd been chatting with him the night before on IM, and he had mentioned that he might come out to watch. Not only did he show up, but he also signed up to do the stage! Very cool to have him along!
Despite doing a warm-up lap around the RIM Park complex, the legs still felt a little stiff. It usually takes me a few km to get into the rhythm. At the 4km mark I started to settle in and sped up to the pace I wanted to maintain. I figured I'd try for between 4:45 and 5:00 min/km. The heat and humidity made things very rough; it was literally sapping the strength out of me. I made use of every water station to have either water, or my eLoad tablets.
As I came through the start line at the end of the 13km loop, I really felt tired and hot. The heat was like a big heavy blanket pressing down. The first 4km of the 8km loop were the hardest; I had to walk up part of the one major hill on the course, I just couldn't get it going. But shortly after I got to the top, the last mouthful of gummi bears kicked in, and I started to pick it up. I gunned it the last km and finished strong.
Total time: 1:47:13
Total distance: 21.1km
Pictures can be seen here: http://picasaweb.google.ca/paulmora/ENDURrunStage1HalfMarathon?feat=directlink