Tuesday, December 01, 2015


Number buddies! She was getting over the flu
and couldn't run. Bummer!
In what is a very rare occurrence, I woke up before my alarm went off Sunday morning. I believe I set it for 6:45 and I ended up waking up at 6:35. Just the day before I let myself sleep in and didn't begin to gain consciousness until 11:00. That means one of two things... I was excited or nervous. I'm going to go with #2. It has been a while since I remember not looking forward to a race this much. Just not super peppy about running in general at the moment and the fact that it was going to be 28 degrees... just, no.

However, if I sign up for a race, I'm going to do it, so I used the slightly earlier than normal wake up to have a little bit more of a relaxed morning (by setting the alarm at 6:45, that means actually getting out of bed at 7:30). By the time I picked up Katie I was mostly awake but still very much dreading the race. No getting out of it though. We found parking right next to the start line, grabbed our bibs, stayed in the car to be warm, then left for the start line with about fifteen minutes to spare. I had to use the bathroom so by the time I was done with that there were maybe two minutes before the race started. I jumped into the corral and worked my way toward the front.

The gun went off and away we went. Despite not looking forward to this race at all, once you get running you are sort of committed. The temperature was 28 degrees when it started, making it the coldest race I've done. I did a HoHo 5k with Brandon a couple years back that was 18 degrees, but that was more of a jog for me. Surprisingly, the cold weather didn't really effect me at all. I was slightly cold at the start, but once I started running I warmed up pretty quick. I pulled my beanie off my head about a mile into the race and never felt the need for it again. Even rolled up my long sleeves about halfway through the race.

About to cross the finish line!
When I said the first four miles or so were downtown, that was me speaking as a person who doesn't know Vancouver. The first mile was actually in the city, the second mile was near Fort Vancouver, which was neat, but then after that it was pretty industrially/stark until the very finish. Long story short, the scenery didn't offer much of a distraction. The race is mostly a giant out and back along this rural/industrial section and while it was nearly pancake flat, it was pretty dull.  A trade off I suppose. It was about what I expected and I certainly appreciated the flatter course.

I was surprised at how well I felt most of the race. I locked into my half marathon pace without really thinking about it too much. One of my few skills running is being able to lock into the appropriate paces for various distances. Somehow my body just knows the right speed to go, whether it be a 5k or half marathon. So that was good. The half felt like it should, a challenging pace but one that could be sustained semi comfortably for nearly two hours. The first mile contained a fair bit of uphill running, so my 7:40 was actually a pretty good split. 7:27 second mile on some gentle downhill we got back.

My splits for the first eight miles are as follows: 7:40, 7:27, 7:47, 7:43, 7:51, 7:52, 7:53, 7:55. So around 7:50/mile with a very gradual slowdown. I was feeling pretty good until mile seven, when I apparently took a funny step and then all of a sudden my glute muscle that flared up during Detroit started acting up. For a little bit I was thinking I'd be having a repeat of Detroit on a smaller scale. While it got close to feeling like it was about to really pull and cause an issue a couple times, it never really did. I just ran through it and tried to maintain the same effort level. My times were already heading upward, but you can see an instant 10 second a mile increase at this point likely due to this muscle.

So the final five miles were: 8:05, 8:07, 8:07, 8:24, 8:06. So I was able to "lock in" to my new pace and stick with it. The 8:24 was the uphill portion I mentioned during preview. It would normally be nothing, but mile 12 of the half marathon with a flaring up butt muscle... it was a slight something. Regardless, I scaled it without too much issue and continued on my merry way. The route to the finish line was a slight downhill so I was able to do the final little bit at a sub 8:00/mile pace. Energy wise I felt pretty good, which was nice. My legs were complaining a little, but not too much. The glute toned down for the final few miles and wasn't as much as a worry as miles 8-10ish.

First time on Santa's lap in years!
The last mile or so I was paying close attention to my watch and knew I'd be close on getting my sub 1:45 goal. It wasn't until the final two blocks or so I was assured I'd get it. Rolling through the finish line at 1:44:22, I immediately sucked down a couple cups of water. I had some at the first aid station but that water was so cold and made my stomach hurt that I didn't stop again. On a day like that during a half you don't really need too much liquid anyway. It was nice to have at the finish though. Turns out I placed third in my age group, so after getting our hot buttered rums (yum!) Katie and I found a Starbucks and chilled out for a bit before I collected my medal.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with the race! Not my best time by far, but I still don't think my legs are back fully from my double marathon adventure. That's a post for another time though. I felt really good during the run, except for my glute muscle, and in the end was glad I did the race. That day, and the next day, my legs were very sore, which means I gave it my all. As long as you are hobbling the next day I don't know what more you could do during a race. Good times! While the course wasn't the greatest, I did enjoy this race and would definitely sign up again!

Official Chip Time: 1:44:22, 7:58/mile. 41/380 overall, 30/134 male, 3/12 M25-29.

1 comment: