This was my first year running at the Valley Harvest Marathon event, and I ran the half-marathon on the Sunday of the Thanksgiving weekend. It is held in the beautiful town of Wolfville, which is just over an hour away from Halifax. Since my Mom was going to be here for her annual visit, I decided that we would travel up on Saturday and stay over night. It was worth it to not have to drive so far the morning before the race. Though I did have to pack our toaster so that I could have my regular pre-run breakfast of toast and peanut butter.
It was great to have Mom there with me; to see me off at the start line and to be the first one to hug me after I finished the line.
The course was beautiful, winding through the country side. The weather was warmer than I would have liked, and the hills longer and steeper than I was ready for. I also felt less trained than I had wanted to be. I did well and was going strong for the first 11 km. Around km 12 I hit one of the bigger hills and a head wind that started to take it's toll. I kept going with my planned intervals until around km 17. I was slower than my planned pace, but I tried to stick with my regular running plan: 1) don't die, 2) finish, 3) have fun.
Runners are some of the most supportive people I have ever met. As I struggled with a hill towards the end of the race, walking slower and slower as I trudged along, a runner doing the full marathon came up behind me. He slowed down, put a hand on my shoulder and started talking to me. He told me what to expect from the rest of the route, gave me some strategies to help me finish and stayed with me till we crested the hill. Without him (I learned later that his name was Sean) I would have probably just given up on that hill; sat down and cried till a sweeper car came to pick me up. Instead I finished the race.