Half Marathons Six and Seven

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I can hardly believe I’m writing about this.

When I set out two and a half years ago to take a Learn to Run class through the Running Room, the goal was ONE half marathon before a significant birthday. 

Some people thought I was crazy. 

I posted my intention to social media and was told, “why not start with running a 5 k or 10 k?” 

To which, in my stubbornness, secured the fact that I needed to run a half marathon.

Seven months after I started that learn to run class, and just weeks before that significant birthday, I crossed the finish line on my first half marathon. There were tears, there were tired muscles, there was the medal (oooh, shiny!), there were blisters, and there was a new motivation and a bit of an obsession developing for running.

Fast forward to this year and I have started working with a running coach. Cray cray (as the kids say). She is fabulous. A motivator. Knowledgeable on all things running. And keeps me accountable. 

Unfortunately, with a new intensity in training, about seven weeks ago, I started struggling with a running injury. This isn’t my first running injury so I knew right away I needed to get in for treatment (physio… and just recently added chiro).

Sometimes you just need to be humbled.

I’ve scaled back training a bit and focused more on stretching, foam rolling, and other training to keep up my cardio. 

Add in a crazy travel schedule for work and all this is just to say half marathons number six and seven did not come easy. 

But it wouldn’t be a challenge if it was easy, would it?

Half marathon number six was the Vancouver Marathon.

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Fast and flat, said the Vancouver Marathon website. To which I have learned, all things are relative. A flat course to Vancouverites does not mean the same thing to Prairie Runners. There were hills, and lots of them.

My running injury came just three weeks prior and I was unsure I would even make it to the starting line; I had even taken the last two weeks off completely from running – focusing on other cardio like biking and the elliptical. When the race began that morning, I had no idea whether I’d make it 1, 3, 5 or all 21 Km. But I started… and whether it was adrenaline, ignorance or something else… by the time I made it about 4 km, I knew I would finish. My time wasn’t great but between hills and injury, I still managed to beat my last half marathon time by a few minutes. 

And then three weeks later, I was signed up to run half number 7 in Fargo.

Between that, of course – true to Trina form, I had an big trip for work and was running a local 10K. Ah, hindsight, right?

Thinking that I had managed the Vancouver half, it left me with a false sense of hope for Fargo. Are we not our own worst enemy sometimes?

Fargo came, Fargo went. It was a painful, ugly experience. There’s no other way to describe it. 

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The redeeming feature of it all was a road trip with Ramona. When we hopped in the car to start our drive she had road snacks (yaaaas!!!). We chatted and got caught up, we sang along to the radio, and then at some point she tired herself out and had a little nap… LOL! (Don’t worry Ramona, I’ll save the pics of you passed out on the drive down for another time!)

Together we ran a 5k the night before the half. Upon reflect, probably not the best idea! But, we did have fun even if it was a weird race. They were hoping for 10,000 participants that night and had us routed down side streets that totally could not handle that capacity. Walkers were near the start – along with strollers – and it was hard to find your pace, and once you did, you usually got blocked again only to have to slow down and try to find your way to pass.image1

The day of the Fargo Marathon, it was hot. I ran the Manitoba Marathon probably in similar conditions last year (a projected high of 27C and humidity) but I think my body had enough. Around the 4km mark, I started to doubt whether I would even finish, my legs just refused to find my usual pace. I ran straight through to around the 10km mark but I knew once I stopped, I would have a hard time going again. At that point though, there wasn’t much left to give. The heat had sapped any energy I could find and I walked/ran/limped my way through the remaining kilometres. 

There were tears at the end. Frustration for such a bad finishing time, and relief for being done and somehow for finding my way to half marathon #7. 

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I’ve now been able to have a few weeks of perspective on that last race and I’m ready for redemption.

Half marathon #8 be the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Half Marathon (WFPS) in October. It’s my favourite race. It truly is fast and flat, and it’s super well organized.

As much as I would love to get back to prove my 21km worthiness before then, my running coach has well-advised me that perhaps this summer we need to focus on speed and look at challenging myself to some 10kms (particularly because Winnipeg summers tend to be super hot).

In some way, it’s a relief not to have another looming half marathon. And truly, it’s only 18 weeks to the WFPS half! 

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What are your goals for the summer? Are you a runner? Have you ever run any of these races? Also, are you on snapchat? I’m just starting to get the hang of it (I think… who knows if I using it properly? If you are a snapchat user, come find me at tgallopblank and I’ll be sure to add you back!)

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