Road2Hope Recap – My First Half Marathon

I never know how to write a good recap of what I’ve ever experienced on ‘race day’. I find each and every single time I’ve raced to be the most amazing day ever! However, I know you all want to hear about this so here it goes…

I prepared the night before and had the added bonus that race day was also day-light savings (YAY for an extra hour of sleep) we dropped Logan at my moms and as mentioned on instagram, had an awesome homemade pasta dinner :) I love carb-loading. So after setting out my clothes, rolling the complete crap out of my legs and making sure everything was ready to go. I was in bed, asleep by 10pm.

The race started at Dofasco Park which is only a 15 min drive for me :) When we got there it was time to start texting NicMac to see where she was. “I’m wearing a white hat” could’ve described probably 3/4’s of the participants…and I also described my racing outfit and then put clothes over top ;) …but eventually we found each other :)

* I had a feeling Nicole was on the shorter side but I wasn’t prepared to look like a giant in all the photos ;) 

I decided to leave everything (including my jacket) in the car and obviously needed to get some pre-race rolling action in before the gun….

I will probably mention Nicole over 500 times in this recap (I never even asked her what she prefers to be called, oops) because she was seriously AMAZING!!! not only did I get to run my first half with an internet friend (we all know those are the best) but she made me feel like an elite athlete the entire time!!!

…she even brought me a toss cape :)

The starting line was packed and the race was delayed because of the marathoners: long story short, Hamilton kindly allowed anyone from the cancelled NY marathon to come over and race ours! so there were a lot more people to organize :)

As we were starting NicMac was sending out tweets :P lol as I didn’t want to waste one ounce of energy taking photos this race. Colin managed to get us leaving the start…..

For the next 5km’s NicMac said we were planning on running a 6:23 km avg (10:13 mile) we somehow managed to carve some time off that goal as we never went over a 10 min mile the whole race! (our slowest km being our first one) <—- she definitely knew how to race. If I had done this alone I’d have fallen flat.

Once we hit the 5k mark we turned onto the Redhill Creek Expressway and is was smooth sailing – literally. It was almost all completely downhill, a nice gradual one at that. I loved it. We picked up the pace and enjoyed the scenery. Trucks on the freeway going to other way were honking, people on overpasses were cheering and NicMac was yelling at everyone telling them it was my first half – everyone was cheering. It was AWESOME!!!

* I know she’ll be upset if I don’t get honest with you and let you all know that at the 7km marker I “coped a feel” of a guys ass when I was trying to slap his belt thingy back together :P lol There! I said it :)

Anyway Colin was waiting for us at the 11th km, where we came off the highway  and I wish I had my camera out to capture what I sawa zoned-out husband with hands in his pockets and NO camera ready. He surprisingly managed to capture Danielle‘s face, even though he’s never met her – spooky.

 * the marathon and the half over-lapped in some areas so even though Danielle got a PR and sub 1:55 she wasn’t beating that kenyan ;) 

Needless to say I was pissed! My first half with no camera-ready hubs!! I started yelling at him I don’t recall all the curse words that came out of my mouth but I definitely remember saying “what did you think I was going to run this race?” After he yelled out “You’re ahead of schedule” Being the awesome husband that he is – he took off running fast and managed to get in front of us and snap some shots of a much more happy Ali Mc…

* I love the girls looking over like I’m crazy!  I also seriously wish I looked this happy at km 19 :P

We were feeling great at this point and on our way onto the beautiful waterfront trail.

The trail picked my spirits up and it was smooth sailing along the gravel trail. I wish I could’ve taken some pictures for you. We saw Lyndsey at around 12.5km holding a “You’ve Got This Ali Mc” sign which I felt was amazing!

We crossed a walking bridge over the highway and headed down towards Lake Ontario. We just kept a steady pace and we were never passed by anyone we passed :) 

I can’t remember what kilometer marker I was at by the time we hit the waterfront but that’s when I began not loving running a half marathon. The route went out and turned around and went back beside itself so seeing runners go by you on their way to the finish as you were continuing to go further away from where you knew the finish was, was tough for me.

Ok, so now I see it was the 14th km….and we were literally only separated by pylons. So many times I felt like jumping over ;) lol Especailly when I saw my friend Payden fly by – she PR’d with a 1:37!!! YAY!

Thank God for Nicole! She was so amazing. I think I literally complained the entire race. I have no inner monolouge – I always talk aloud to myself so I think meeting me for the first time in this kind of setting must’ve been crazy :P lol Sorry girl. Although I complain daily on my blog, so you should’ve known ;)

I was really in my head for the rest of the race. My ability to talk started to go at the 16km marker and I was literally wishing I was already done. I wanted to walk but I never did (aside from earlier through one water stop to fill my bottle). I felt like we were slowing down but I see now my last 5km’s were run at an increasing pace. I’m so PROUD.

NicMac kept saying encouraging words and didn’t stop even when I rudely told her to shut up. To the people I told to F*ck off at the 20th km, I’m sorry – but please NEVER say “you’re almost there” unless you can see the finish line. To the people smoking at the 400 meter marker – Why? it’s a race. Smoke somewhere else.

To the gentleman that elbowed me back when I went in for the pass and then slowed down and I passed anyways ….. CHICKED. enough said ;) 

I can’t describe the last miles of this race. I was really holding onto everything and anything I had left in me and really trying hard to tell my mind to shut up and my body to keep moving. 

Then finally we saw the finish….which, of course was around a corner and up a hill <—- why do they do that?!?

Nicole took my handheld at the end so I could sprint to the finish and because I was so “in the zone” I missed Colin, but he didn’t miss me….

* See how awesome she is – she’s still pointing and yelling “1st Timer” lol I’m pretty sure all of our race photos are of me smiling (except the last one) and her pointing at me :) 

* My form was AWESOME! I was seriously so hardcore at the end! We passed everyone.

* That’s right buddy – I’m going for it.

* giving ALL I have left to the finish – NicMac right behind me cheering of course :)

I don’t know how I managed to sprint to the end. I just locked focus on that finish line and as soon as my eyes saw 2:05:_ I went for it! I felt bad leaving Nicole behind but man did it feel good to have that left in me!!!!  

I crossed the finish line at 2:05:41 (2:04:07 chip) and I started to cry. I didn’t think I would but finishing my first half marathon was UNBELIEVABLE!!!!! NicMac was right there and I gave her a big hug because I truly believe I would’ve stopped to walk without her. * the paramedic asked me if I was ok and I said I’m great! I just finished my first half! 

Colin found us immediately and after we got our food, had a bathroom break and met up with Lyndsey, we took a few post race photos and went our separate ways.

For those interested here are our splits from the race, but they’re in km’s which means nothing to me, even though I’m Canadian. Epic Fail on my part ;)

As you can see by her chart I managed to get a 10k PR … that doesn’t count but I wish it did. AND that aside from the km’s on the hill some of my fastest km’s were AT THE END!!! YAY!!!!

Nicole was SUCH AN AWESOME RACING PARTNER. She wouldn’t even let me open my own chomps ;) she carried my gloves….everything! LOVE HER! We passed tons of people and they never passed us. AMAZING!!!!

* My initial goal for this race was sub 2:30. After my training was finished I was hoping for sub 2:15….so the fact that I ran 21km’s/13 miles in 2:04 makes me SO PROUD OF MYSELF!!!!!!



1. did you run Road2Hope yesterday??

2. what’s your half marathon PR/PB???

3. don’t you hate when people say “you’re almost there” ?? or am I just a bitch??

4. do you sprint at the finish line or do you have nothing left when you get there?

EVERY race aside from the one I ran with Rex, I haven’t had anything left to sprint. This race felt the same as those others BUT something inside me just pushed past it. I felt amazing!!!