Sunday, May 5, 2013

Vancouver Half Marathon 2013

This would be the fifth consecutive year that I have run in this event, the full marathon back in 2009 and the half marathon in the following four years.  I  have always enjoyed the event as it is well organised, well supported and a scentic course around the beautiful city of Vancouver.

Last year I had a stella performance and achieved my first ever sub 1hr 30min time for a half marathon.  Therefore, I was super keen to run the race again in 2013 and hopefully achieve another PB time.  I had trained well over the winter and managed to remain injury free. I felt confident and was very hopeful of a good run.

Once again my running club friend Susan Reynolds was also running and we always have a little challenge to see who will finish first.  Susan is a great runner and normally comes out on top.  I was feeling quietly confident of giving her a run for her money as we chatted on the start line.

The sun was shining as we ran from the start at Queen Elizabeth Park and made our way down Cambie Street.  The first 2 miles of this race are downhill and I remember last year I took this hill cautiously and Susan took a big lead on me.  Therefore, this time I was determined to not let that happen.  I could see her ahead of me and I picked up the pace to slowly catch her up. I clocked the first two miles at 6min 13sec and 6min 12secs.  Much faster than I needed to run but it was downhill and felt comfortable. 

As we crossed the Cambie Street bridge, I was right behind Susan but decided to slow my pace slightly as I was planning on running at 6min 50sec/mile pace.  She started to pull away from me but I could still keep her in my sights. 

By now it was already getting quite hot and I was starting to look for shade to run in. Thank goodness the race started at 7.00am. I was feeling for the poor full marathoners who weren't starting until 8.00am and would really feel the heat in the second half of the race

As we made our way through the downtown streets, I was running ok.  Keeping closer to my planned pace but could feel some fatigue setting in which was a concern.  I crossed the halfway mark in 44 mins which was good and on track.  However, it was getting tough and I was already having to dig deep to carry on at that pace. 

We entered Stanley Park and a climb up a hill proved to be really tough, I could feel my energy draining away.  This was not supposed to happen and I was feeling very frustrated.  Just dig even deeper, I hoped to feel better as we got further into the race. 

As I approached the 10 mile (16km) marker, I could hear the sound of the 1hr 30min pacer coming up behind me.  A definite de je vu feeling as this happened at exactly the same place in last years race. Last year I managed to find an extra reserve of energy to push on and keep ahead on the pacer. However, I had already had to dip into my reserve energy to get to this point.  I tried to push on again and managed to for another couple of minutes but then the pacer caught me again and slowly passed me, along with the bunch of runners keeping up with him. 

This proved to be a significant moment in the race for me.  I could no longer keep pushing, I was spent. I had no option but to switch to limp home mode.  My pace for the last 3 miles was really slow and I just had to keep going. Time to enjoy the beautful  views and great support along the course.  I crossed the finish line in 1hr 39mins.  10 mins slower than I had planned.  I am not sure why the wheels fell off in this race.  Maybe I went out too fast or maybe I was dehydrated judging by the amount of water I drank throughtout the day after the race.  I feel gutted but will put it down to experience and move on. 

Congratulations to Susan who ran 1hr 28mins. Creamed me again! 

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