If I had to sum up my race experience in two sentences, it would go something like this:
“Yay, I ran a PB. Ouch, I need to retire my road shoes.”
At the Start Line
I was lucky to have my family spectating at this race. My Dad, brother and niece were all waiting for me on the start line at Stanley Park. The plan was, I’d start my race, and my brother would take my niece to the Vancouver Aquarium, then we’d meet again at the finish line. I always find it interesting to find out what people can accomplish while I’m out for a long run – a trip to the Aquarium, brunch at a nice restaurant, holiday shopping etc…
The Vancouver Historic Half Marathon is a wonderful course that takes you twice around Stanley Park. It’s a nice, mostly flat, course along the water. Another bonus was that there were less that 500 runners registered for the half marathon – so that gave everyone a lot of room on the course.
Ready, set, GO!
It was a chilly morning. Sunny and -1 degrees. One of those days where you need a toque, gloves and sun glasses.
KM 1 -11 – Zone 1
So this run pretty much went as planned. The plan was to run the first half (11 or so km) right at the top of my Zone 1 heart rate – around 164bpms. Then, for the second half, keep my heart rate a bit higher, closer to 171bpms. The few first kms of the race were a bit congested, it takes the runners some time to spread out, but by KM6 everyone had lots of room.
Had to fiddle with my heart rate monitor for a bit at KM4. I had left it on a setting to beep when my heart rate exceeded 160 bpm (my previous Zone 1 high). Couldn’t figure it out while I was running, so used my first walk break to sort it out. Then I had to get my music set up. I intended to run without music but then decided at KM4 I really needed it. This little electronics break added a minute or so to my time, but I’m sure I needed the walk!
KM 11 – Owie
Hmm, my knees, feet and ankles feel sore. I knew my road shoes were on their last legs. However, I just thought I could do my road shoes up tighter and they would magically provide more support for my feet. Not the case. Anyhow, my hydration pack has this handy “pill pouch” where I stuff ibuprofen. Popped 400mg of ibuprofen and that numbed the pain.
KM 11-18- “I’m tired.” “Who cares? You are running a race, keep going!”
I had the same conversation with myself most of the second half of the race. Just keep going, you’re tired but you’ll be fine.
KM 18-20.8 – I’m going to set a PB
At about KM18 I checked my watch to see how I was doing. That’s when I realized I was going to set a PB. That kept me motivated to keep pushing the last three KMs and finish strong!
KM 20.8-21.1 – Really? The finish chute runs uphill?
So here’s the kicker about this race. The final 300m is all UPHILL. I think I managed to push my heart rate up to 189bpm up that final hill (the highest I’ve ever recorded).
- I had a lot going for me on this race day. It was a beautiful, crisp, cold, sunny morning. The weather was perfect for a PB.
- This sounds obvious, but I was amazed at how much easier the half marathon was to run than the full marathon. I managed to easily keep my thoughts positive during the whole race.
- To put this PB into perspective – my split time during the Montreal Marathon in September was 2:35 AND my previous PB was 2:21 which I set in 2005.
- I still think I have room to improve. I’m looking to cutting my time down to 2:10 before the Antarctica Marathon in March 2014.