Sunday, June 23, 2013

Scotiabank Half Marathon 2013

After having a great experience at this race last year, I was keen to do it again in 2013. Although last year I virtually jogged round the course as I was recovering from various lower leg injuries and completed the race in 1hr 46mins. My slowest ever half marathon time.  I was hoping for a much faster time this year after a solid year of running so far.

After the disappointment of my experience at this years BMO Vancouver Half Marathon, I was very focused on controlling my pace and not going out too fast.  I knew my target pace was just under 7min/mile.  I was hoping to just dip under 1hr 30min for the race.

The first couple of miles were downhill and then we turned around and climbed back up those 2 miles and a little further, so I was watching my Garmin carefully on the downhill. Don't overcook it especially as I would have to run back up the hill, not my strong point at all.  Things went pretty well for the first few miles and I reached the 10km point in 43mins.  Just about on track.

Everything was feeling good as I crossed the half way point and began the second half of the race.  I had a gel just after the halfway mark to ensure I had a little extra energy.  However, at the 15km marker I was feeling tired, my energy was fading.  Oh no, not again. Shit!!  Dig in and focus.  As I reached the 10 mile point, I knew I wasn't going to be able maintain the pace, I was struggling and I started to slow.  My target time was gone and I just had to keep going. 

I was confused why this had happened again.  I had controlled my pace better, I had used gels at the start and halfway point, I had trained well. So why could I not maintain the pace?  I spent the last 5km searching for an answer and looking forward to the finishing line.  I realised that when my target time is no longer an option, my mind can tell my body to just take it easy now, cruise to the finish. I tried to resist as best I could but I have to admit to succumbing a little towards the end. 

I crossed the line in 1hr 37mins.  Not what I was hoping for by any means but 9 minutes better than last year. Look for the positive eh!  When I finally broke 1hr 30min for the first time for a half marathon at the BMO in 2012, I had just done the London Marathon a couple of weeks before. So maybe I need to fit in some longer training runs before my next half marathon.  Guess I'll find out in the next one.   

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Longest Day 10k 2013

I remember running this race last year for all the wrong reasons.  Going into it with very little training due to a calf injury. Then feeling my achilles tighten half way around the course, so having to slow down and very disappointing time. Then limping away after the race and not able to run for weeks after.  Very frustrating.  So I was hoping for a much more positive experience in 2013.  

I have been running pretty well this year and so far, touch wood, no injury problems.  I have managed to shed a few pounds and get some good speed and endurance into my legs.  Therefore, I lined up at the start line optimistic of a good race. 

It was a warm sunny evening as we set off to run the first of the two 5k loops.  Due to construction, the race organisers had been forced to run the race in the opposite direction to normal. This meant that we had to run up a long hill instead of down it, made worse because the course also detoured off the road and up an even steeper climb along the sidewalk path.   

I was really focused on controlling my speed in this race too after the mess I had made of my pacing at the Vancouver Half Marathon in May. So I was glancing at my Garmin on a regular basis throughout the race.  The first lap went by smoothly and to plan.  The climb up the hill came just before the halfway mark and it proved to be quite tough and slowed my pace down. However, I crossed the halfway line at 21mins 12 secs.  I felt good and was running well.

As I started the second lap, the field had spread out and I found myself running alone, no other runners nearby.  I really like it when this happens.  I seem to relax, just focus on my running form and get in the zone.  I felt strong the whole way round the second 5k and then gritted my teeth and pushed as I climbed up the big hill for the second time. 

I kept pushing all the way to the finish line as I was really hoping to break 42 minutes.  However, I crossed the line in 42 mins 07 secs.  Dam that hill!  Still, I was pleased to run a good time and a solid race.  I was also pleased to note that I ran a negative split too, with my second 5k loop being quicker than my first.

The post race BBQ was fantastic and chance to catch up with a few PRR members who had run, volunteered or spectated.  All in all, a far more enjoyable experience compared to 2012.  Now onto the Scotiabank Half Marathon next weekend.  

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