Posted by: nikicf | March 14, 2010


Shamrock’n Half Registration: $50

Gas from Surrey to Abbotsford: $7.00 (total guess here!)

Festive green props (green bandana and nail polish): $2.50

Finishing my first ever 1/2 marathon in a time I’m proud of?


I did it!  I’m still having trouble believing it, actually.  Though my body sure was reminding of this fact in the middle of the night last night!!  😛  Seriously!  I actually had to get up and take some Advil for my legs and some Rolaids for the indigestion.

The race went great!  I actually slept pretty decently the night before, waking only a few times.  (Once to nudge Andy awake to listen to the pouring rain!!)  I didn’t have any race nightmares like I did the night before, which was a relief.  My alarm went off at 6:45 and I was ready to get up and go.  My stuff was all packed up and lined up by the door, so I just needed to get dressed, brush my teeth and get into the car.  I was very thankful for the GPS Andy got from his mom and dad for Christmas, as it meant I could just relax (or try to) and drive and not worry about directions and getting lost.

I had a very cool moment on the drive actually.  I was praying and talking to God about the race (and my fears) and a huge bald eagle soared over my car on the highway.  This verse (Isaiah 40:31) came to mind and I got a big smile on my face:

but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Thank-you God!  Just what I needed!

I had to be at Bateman Park 45 minutes early to pick-up my race package (bib #, shirt and timing chip), so once I got that, I was able to relax (or try to) in my warm car till closer to the start time of 8:30.  At about 8:10, I got out and headed down to the start area where runners were beginning to gather for the warm-up and start horn.  I was getting pretty nervous at this point, but mostly just wanted to get out there and start running, as I knew the nerves would subside once I was on my way.  I stood there alone (this is when I wish my running friend was doing the 1/2 with me!) at the back of the tent, running on the spot and doing some stretches while waiting for instructions. (And taking the goofy picture of myself with my cell phone!)

Finally, at about 13 minutes late, the race started for the 1/2 marathoners.  I had looked at the course online, but having never been there before, I was just following the pack and race marking arrows and waiting to see what came next.  The race was 10.55K loop, so I kept telling myself the first time round was just practice!! ;P

The write-up for the course on the Try Events site said “only one hilly area”, which I had read as only one hill.  So I was a bit surprised, after powering through a hill on one of the trails, to see another (much bigger) switch-back type hill still ahead of me.  Whew, you should have heard me huffing and puffing!  (Hoping everyone around me had headphones with music blaring!)  The second hill was steep enough that I actually hoofed up it hiking.

Reaching halfway I was feeling good and happy with my progress. I knew I was running faster than my normal long run speed, but felt comfortable with my pace and hopeful I could keep it up.  It was nerve-wracking knowing I had to save enough energy for the same “hilly area” (between the 17 and 18K mark) on the second go round, but I tried to mentally prepare myself, knowing what was to come.  I kept telling myself I just had to get through that and then I could relax and enjoy, as it was mostly downhill and flat from there till the end.

A highlight was finishing this killer trail hill and getting to the (mostly downhill) road that would lead me “home”.  I was still catching my breath and getting back in my groove when I saw a woman running towards me with a stroller.  Didn’t think anything of it until she got closer and I realized it was Megan!  At this point, I wasn’t sure whether she’d come running this path to see me or just happened to be there, but it MADE MY DAY!  She shouted her encouragement as we ran past each other going opposite directions, and I was filled with an extra rush of excitement and adrenaline to finish my race.  Thanks Megan!!!!

And it was all downhill (in a GOOD way!) from there.  I tried to enjoy and savour the moment for these last three kilometres, as there were no more hills and I was indeed going to actually do this.  Me, Niki Mansfield Frew, finish a half-marathon.  A HALF MARATHON!  Who would ever have guessed it!

I’m still awaiting my official time, as I forgot (as usual) to stop my nike+ and ipod right when I crossed the finish line.  But I do know it was less than 2:04, and I am very happy with that.

Forgot to mention that the weather cooperated the whole morning!  Mostly cloudy skies, but not a drop of rain.  And the puddles and trails weren’t too bad either, so I didn’t have to puddle jump or run in squishy, wet running shoes.  Yay!

Unfortunately, my little family was a little late getting there (mix-up in directions) so missed me crossing the finish line.  😦  I was  little disappointed, but happy they did eventually come, just a few minutes late (I should have run slower, eh??). It was nice to have them there to support me and savour the moment.

My (late!) cheering section!

The prize!

So if you made it through all that, you’re amazing!  A 1/2 marathon-length race recap!  🙂 Thanks too for all the encouragement!  I appreciate it a lot!  Now I’m just trying to figure out what is next.  I’ve secretly had this goal in my mind since about November, so I now need a new goal to keep me motivated. (And no, NOT a marathon!  I like to think I’m only HALF crazy!! 😛 )


Edited to add my official time: 2:01:28.9, 52nd overall (of 109) and 8 in the age/sex category (of middle-aged mommy runner). *big smile* I’m happy!



  1. nikkkkkiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii – you did it! Woot! Woot! You are amaaaazingggggggggg. xoxo

    • Thanks, my friend! Appreciate all your encouragement!!

  2. YOU DID IT!!!!!! And what an awesome time. Congratulations again on such an amazing compliment. I actually basically just ran the route in reverse…I was determined to find you….glad I didn’t have to do the trail though…I know the one you’re talking about!!!!!

    • Thanks again for doing that, Meg! It was so fun to see you there!

  3. woohoooooo! so amazing. good job, girl!

  4. Maybe your next challenge could be to do that again and shorten your time?

    • I think you’ve picked the perfect next goal, Rachel. I wasn’t sure I’d want to do it again, but I really did love the sense of accomplishment enough to give it another go. Just figuring out when and where! 🙂

  5. Wow! You did it Niki! And what a great time. By the way, it isn’t too late to register for My First Tri!!!

    • Still thinking of the Tri. Don’t have a good bike to use, but if I can find one to borrow, I’d love to do it!! When are you doing it again, Jess?

  6. Congrats on finishing your first 1/2 Niki!!! Wow… you’ve totally inspired me. I did my first and only 1/2 marathon 10 years ago. My goal is to do a triathlon before I’m 40 (that makes me sound old!) Your time was amazing for your first 1/2 marathon. Thanks for sharing with BLAH.

    • Thanks for the encouragement, Tracy! Didn’t know you’d done a 1/2 before. Cool!

      I’d also like to try a tri. Trained for one about 10 years ago, but then hurt my hamstring right before I was supposed to do it. 😦 Maybe this summer I’ll give it another go. 🙂

  7. WOWEEE Niki!!! that is positively AWESOME!!! i’m not sure i want to aspire to do that myself (fear, probably), but i am ultimately impressed with your ability to do a 1/2 marathon!!!!!

    • Thanks Kelly! Still can’t believe I did it! In my head, I’m so not a runner and still remember not being able to run one kilometer!

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