I Finished My First 1/2 Marathon at 46

WIN 1/2 Marathon May 27, 2012Saturday started off like any other Saturday…except for the fact that Andy and I went and picked up our race kit for the Whitby International North (WIN) 1/2 Marathon at the Abilities Centre.

Picking up race package for WIN 1/2 Marathon at the Abilities Centre

A dollar for every WIN Marathon registrants will be donated to the Abilities Centre in Whitby, Ontario.

‘The Abilities Centre will be a world-class recreation, athletic and performing arts facility fully accessible to all persons of all ages and abilities.’

In our ‘goodie bag’ was an official WIN T-shirt, our racing bib with our number and chip.

T-shirt in race package for WIN 1/2 Marathon

Very exciting!

It was early to bed for an early to rise occasion for everyone…including the boys!

Oh, how I was fretting Saturday night…my nerves were getting the best of me…surprisingly, I awoke much calmer and ready to go!

I like to run alone…I get intimidated by other runners and lose track of my own pace. I was so thankful that there were pacers at the race…1:30, 1:45, 2:00 and 2:10 were the times to follow.

I figured I would be somewhere between 1:45 and 2:00…so I kept in between them for good measure!

When the 1:45 pacer passed me with his entourage…I held back joining in on the pack and just tried to run my own race.

It was a perfect day for running…cloudy, and cool with a slight breeze. I truly enjoyed the run as part of it was running along the lake or out in the ‘boonies‘. Serene with no traffic!

The first half of the race, I felt I was making good time and worried that perhaps my pace was too fast. However, towards the end…when I hit the 18th km  marker…I knew I had more to give. Unfortunately, there were no markers for the 19th and 20th km so I was in a bit of a blunder…I increased my pace just knowing that I must be close.

Turning, what I felt must be the last corner, I was told there was 200m to the finish line. WHAT! I immediately kicked it into high gear, passing the last of the runners in front of me…”You win!”, he said as we ran side by side, and I took off with all that I had left in me!

With all the turns, I had lost the 1:45 pacer but knew I couldn’t be that far behind so I was in shock as I got closer to the timer posted that read 1:45:…WHAT! It couldn’t be? But it was!

I turned it up yet another notch…I wanted to cross the finish line before the time turned to 1:46…

Me finishing the WIN 1/2 Marathon

and I did…1:45:41 was my official chip time…1:45:47 was my gun time.

I was blubbering mess, out of breath…I just couldn’t believe it!

There at the end were my boys full of smiles and celebratory congratulations…it was very emotional for me!

With my medal around my neck and water bottles in hand, I made my way over to watch for Andy with the boys.

He was aiming for under 2:00…

Andy finishing the WIN 1/2 Marathon

he made it! So proud! Andy’s official time was 1:59:45!

We did it!

Andy and I with our WIN 1/2 Marathon medals

The official standings for each age group were finally posted. Matthew and I ventured over…”Mommy, I see your name!”…”There, look!”, Matthew announced. Oh my gosh I came in second in my age group!

Wearing my winning shirt from the WIN 1/2 Marathon

I choose this lovely pink long-sleeved running shirt with the WIN logo on it as my prize!

Turns out, I actually came in third. As the winning overall women was in my age category, I believe she was not counted in the standings. Still, I will take third out of the 42 women that ran in my age group!

Years ago, I had the pleasure of listening and meeting Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons. What an inspiring man! He signed the back of a Christmas card (all I could quickly find at my desk) addressed to my Michael (just around a year old at the time).

“Michael, Dream Big!” was what he wrote along with his signature. The card was framed and has been displayed in his room ever since.

When I heard that Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons was speaking at the 2005 Allergy Expo in Toronto,I knew I needed to take the boys to hear him speak for themselves. Michael Clemons’ wife has asthma and is allergic to shellfish and his middle daughter is allergic to all seafood. Click here to read an interview with Michael Clemons and his wife by Allergic Living Magazine on their life with allergies.

My boys were enthralled…they were captivated…I had never seen them sit still and focus for so long…if you ever get the chance to hear Michael Clemons speak…take it!

Five years ago my dream of running would have seemed unreachable…in fact, all my life this dream was just that…a dream…and yet, here I am today…pinching myself!

I was an unathletic, asthmatic child with big dreams who grew up…I think we are never too old to ‘Dream Big!’ Click here to read about my journey.

P.S. Thank you to my husband for believing I could run this race with him and my boys for all their support along the way! I think the experience of being at the race is just as inspiring…I think Matthew is ready to take up running!

P.P.S. Michael was our official photographer of the day…great shots Michael!

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22 thoughts on “I Finished My First 1/2 Marathon at 46

  1. Great job…that is an excellent time for your first! Seriously! And you can consider yourself second in the age group…they almost always take out the overall winners so you got second! I have been wondering how your race went. I would love to visit and/or work at a place like Abilities Centre…at least by seeing the outside…did I ever mention I am an OT–in pediatrics?!! It looks like a beautiful center. Congrats! And nice pink shirt too:)

    • Thank you! Just finishing was such an amazing feeling…hard to put words to it…I am ‘over the moon!’ The inside of the Abilities Centre is just as impressive…it’s going to be a fantasic facility for the area!

  2. Yippee to you and Andy! How great to have the boys cheering you at the finish! Remember that age is only a number :)

  3. Oh Susan!!!! I’m am SO PROUD & EXCITED for you!! I seriously have tears in my eyes… lol! You are an amazing woman and such a huge inspiration!!! Congratulations!!! :)

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