When choosing races, the most important factors for me to consider often include: race distance and calendar timing for season goal race, travel, course lay-out, time away from family, and potential financial winnings. The Chilly Half Marathon has always been a perfect choice to include in my marathon builds.
On March 4 I will be returning to Burlington to run the 2018 Chilly Half Marathon. Lately I have been reflecting on past race performances and experiences in my running career. Reading previous blogs on these memories, such as the Chilly Half Marathon, has been quite enjoyable.
I believe this year’s race will be my 5th Chilly Half Marathon.
At the 2012 Chilly Half Marathon, I ran 1:15:46 and got a fun picture taken after the race with Dan Way, Darren Lee, and Michael Doyle who admitted that they were desperately trying to beat me to the finish. We will have to get a 2018 picture this year because the four of us are racing it again in preparation for the Boston Marathon, which we are also all running. During this particular year for our family within the four days leading up to the race, we got the keys to our new house, we had a hockey game and funeral to travel for, and I was still nursing our daughter who would have her first birthday party the evening of the race. Later that month I would run the Around the Bay 30 km race in 1:47:03, which would prompt me to change my spring marathon plan from Ottawa to Rotterdam in an attempt to make the 2:29:55 standard for the 2012 Olympic Games. I ran a seven minute personal best of 2:32:06. Fast but not fast enough for the Olympic team.
In 2015 I ran 1:14:01 at the Chilly Half Marathon, which was 10.5 months after I fractured my femur while defending my Canadian title at the Montreal Half Marathon. On that day in March I was planning to run goal marathon pace in preparation for the Rotterdam Marathon where I would be going after what we later learned was the 2:29:50 standard for the 2016 Olympic Games. I ran my second best time of 2:29:38. It was fast and fast enough for the Olympic team!
In 2016 I needed to run a quick half marathon to prove my fitness in order to be named to the 2016 Olympic team. I had a terrible head cold due to several weeks of interrupted sleep so my slow Chilly Half Marathon of 1:16:35 didn’t allow me to the check the box on that particular day. It was the only year I didn’t win when speedster Leslie Sexton flew by me in the final few kilometers of the race. But I got back to training and successfully proved my fitness the next month on the same course where I fractured my femur.
In 2017 I was new to Speed River Track and Field Club with Dave Scott-Thomas, it was our daughter’s 6th birthday, I had just turned 40, and my bags were packed to leave two days later for a month of training at altitude in Iten, Kenya. My Chilly Half Marathon of 1:14:54 was fast enough for a new Canadian Masters 40 age record and I was feeling good and ready for a bout of intense training for the Virgin London Marathon.
I’m not sure what 2018 will bring but I am certainly looking forward to another Chilly Half Marathon in preparation for another spring marathon, this time returning to Boston since first completing it in 2005. The fun and friendly atmosphere, fast and flat course, typically frigid temps with sunny skies, and pure enjoyment of this wonderful sport will be sure to put a smile on my race as I think back to past Chilly Half Marathon memories while making many more.