July 01, 2010

Scotiabank Half Marathon

The Scotiabank Half Marathon attracts a good field of runners, with 2009 winning times 63:35 and 76:10. It’s always helpful to check previous results to determine where you should seed yourself at the starting line. I was comfortable starting close to the front but made sure there were a few rows of runners ahead of me.

The start was fast and furious. It’s always a bit hard to gauge your pace in the first kilometre, since you are fresh and raring to go, and so is everyone around you. While I am very comfortable running my own pace, I know that trying to keep up with someone else is the best way to lift your performance. So in the first kilometre I thought I might try to stick with a few girls ahead of me.

The pace felt a little fast. At the first kilometre marker I could see why, with my watching indicating 3:44. Three weeks ago I ran a 10km where my average pace was 4:12, so beginning a race double that distance almost 30 seconds per kilometre faster isn’t ideal.

On paper the Scotiabank Half Marathon course looks very fast, and it certainly is a nice one, but I had been warned by friends who have run it that it doesn’t feel as downhill as the course profile indicates. I eased my pace and hit the second km in 4:16, which was perfect. I felt comfortable and kept up a good pace for the next 8km, running each km between 3:41 (which included a large downhill that I just ran down as fast as I could while repeating, Free speed, Free speed, to myself) and 4:20.

At 10km my time was 40:42 and my race was a success right then and there, as I have not run this fast over that distance since January 2009. And I still had 11.1km to go. I stuck with my pace as best as I could, knowing I had a few minor hills to conquer including the Burrard Bridge. I gave it my all in the second half and finished in 88:30, my second-fastest half marathon time and 19th overall female.

I didn't realize until later that I won my F40-44 age group, since they take out the top three Master's women.

Here are my splits which both reflect the course and my fatigue in the second half. I certainly didn't run a negative split (i.e. the second half faster than the first half) but that wasn't my goal. I wanted to push myself out of a comfort zone, the 89-minute half marathon comfort zone, and see where it would take me:

8.50 (or 4.25 per km)
17.46 (or 4:26 per km)
4:37  (final 1.1km)

My next race is the Squamish Triathlon on July 11. I'll be doing the 10km run leg in a team sponsored by AARM Dental with two other women, swimmer Nancy and cyclist Toby.

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