Monday, May 7, 2012

Vancouver Half Marathon 2012

After the huge disappointment of the London Marathon, I went into this race with baited breath.  Could I pull out a good performance at Vancouver and salvage something from a winter of hard training.

I have run this race the previous two years and always enjoyed the event. A good atmosphere, scenic course, fantastic support and catching up with old friends too. 

A new fast and super scenic course for 2012 drew a sell-out field of 10,000 runners to the start line. The skies were blue and the temperature was cool.  I lined up behind my friend and nemesis Susan Reynolds. We had once again made a challenge, first to the finish wins a beer. Everything was set for a great race!

Then we were off.  The first 3 kilometres were all down hill and the pace was fast.  I was trying to ensure that I didn't overcook it down the hill but still wanted to make the most of this flying start.  A fine line!  I could see Susan ahead of me by quite a distance and was tempted to try to make up ground but decided to run my own race and what will be will be.  Stay calm David! 

As each kilometre marker came, I clocked my time and was pleased to note that my pace was good and my legs were feeling fine, so different to London.  I was in good shape, just focus and prey the legs hold out.  By the half way point I was still on track, my time was 44mins and everything was going according to plan, well almost. I could no longer see Susan. Oh well, maybe she will tire towards the end, she did go off like a steam train.

Once we reached a turn around point in Stanley Park, I saw Susan for the first time for a while.  She was way ahead and looking very strong!  Damn it.  Keep focused David!

Start line with Susan
By kilometre 16, I was starting to feel it.  My pace had slowed a little and then I heard voices behind me.  I guessed it was the 1hr 30min pace bunny and the group running with them.  I was right. Shizer, I can't let them pass me!  I regrouped and picked up the pace.  Just 5 km to go, time to grit the teeth and reach into those 800km's of training over the winter. You can do this!

Each kilometre seemed to take forever. Then we could see Canada Place ahead of us as we exited Stanley Park.  I had stopped looking at my Garmin watch by this point, just stay ahead of that damn bunny!  I dug really deep in the last couple of km's. I was hurting but just had to do this.  Could I break 90 min's after two years of failed attempts.

As we reached the finishing chute, I could see the clock above the finish line.  I was going to do it but boy I had to sprint like Usain Bolt at the end to cross the line in 1hr 29mins 50secs. Redemption!! 

Congratulations to Susan. She ran 1hr 27mins 46secs to achieve 2nd place in her age group and, more importantly, whip my ass! Next time Susan, next time!  However, I'm delighted with my performance and to break that 90min threshold blows me away. 

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