Monday, May 23, 2011

Bluenose Half Marathon - Race 3, 2011



Well I started training for extra running this winter. I reported on my increased base training, my inclusion of the long slow run and just more running in general. I did this mostly so that I could get to be a fitter runner, so that my running off the bike in duathlons would be stronger, so that I could hold my pace longer. But also I wanted to compete in my first half marathon.

I chose the Bluenose half as it was early in the season, really close to home, and heck it is a reasonably priced race. I had previously run the Bluenose 10K twice but needed a new challenge and a full marathon just wasn't what i wanted (training time ect... being too much for me).

Well training hadn't gone as well as I had hoped up until this point with a few "injuries" setting me back, so my original goal of a 1:40 time was up in the air. By race morning I had decided that following the 1:45 pace bunny would be a good idea, and possibly if I felt good enough I could try to forge out on my own at some point in the race.

Race morning arrived, I had all my race kit ready to go and of course the weather said to me that my choices may not have been a great idea. It was cold, foggy, windy, typical Bluenose I guess. Still I stuck with shorts, a bike jersey (much to Andrew Dacanay's disgust), and removable sleeves. Seriously I like running in bike jerseys. They are snug, have a zipper to open up when it gets hot, and most of all they have rear pockets. So much nicer to hold gels and food. I also chose my tried and true Brooks Dyads shoes. They have been with me for a year and were at the end of their life, but they deserved to see me through my first half. Now they are retired from running.

Well I lined up right with the two 1:45 pace bunnies and we took off right at 9:25. The early pace was erratic as we weaved through a sea of runners, but as we went past the first few km signs the overall pace was dead on 5 min per km. It felt decent so I stayed right with them.

I had 2 gels in my pockets just in case I needed them, and the rest of the plan was to take a drink at every water stop we came across. The first one was a mere 1 km into the race, but I still grabbed a drink. It is funny to jostle through a group of people to get to the right side of the road, but I managed. And I continued this practice right through to the end of the race, only avoiding the final stop (which was only about 1km or so from the end so seemed a bit silly to stop at). I also had a gel at 30 minutes and again at 1 hour. Nutrition wise I was right on.

As usual I didn't really know the course. I rarely like to know these things,it makes the run more interesting. But I had heard there was some sort of great hill in Point Pleasant Park. This would have been just past the half way point, so I was keeping my pace until at least that point. The "hill" came and I was quite disappointed. I love hills. That was a series of bumps with flat spots along the way. If it weren't for the tree branches hanging into the way that needed avoiding, I wouldn't have had much to do going up it. In fact that hardest part of the journey for me was the downhills, which were steep but short. Oh well.

By the 14th km mark (or there about), I found myself constantly pulling ahead of the pace bunnies without much work, so I figured it was time to leave the group. They had done a great job, we were right on a 5 min pace still at 1:10. So I slowly increase my pace and started to pick off a few people in front of me. This continued right until the end. Of course it was a mix of people now, both marathon and half marathon people. It felt great to pick up the pace and my legs and knees felt fine.

The rest of the race was me continually increasing my pace and picking off a few people along the way. I guess that the "easy" first 14Km really helped, as I usually kill myself at the beginning of a race, slow down int he last third, then eventually get a bit of steam back. This time it was all increase for the last third. Kind of fun actually.

The final turn down to Brunswick and the last couple of km's was fast for me. I don't have a fancy Garmin watch or anything but I know my pace was getting below 4 min per km pace. You know that pace where you have the choice to breath or swallow and lactic acid build up just keeps happening. I was there. It was great. I crossed the line at 1:42:24 (chip time or 1:42:36 gun time). I ended up 195th overall out of 1767 (I think) people in the half, and 55 out of 208 in my category. Most important, my knees never hurt, second most important I was pretty darn close to what I hoped to achieve. And I know that with a little more training I can get that time down quite a bit more.

So I awake the next morning to various aches. In the past this would be a real assortment of muscles that hurt and would be really uneven over my body. Thanks to the work down by Dr Jason Gray at Kinetesis Sports, everything hurts all nice and even, and I know helped keep me injury free for the duration. Also thanks to those Pace Bunnies (Charles Paradis and Renee MacDonald) for their great work for the first two 3rds of my half.

And it was also great seeing all the people I have come to know through running and multisport following the race. It is good to see everyone so happy to have finished and competed in these events. Makes finishing even better.

Now it is on to the rest of the multisport season. I have duatlons, and couple of triathlons on the radar this year, and maybe a couple of century rides as well. It is certainly a busy month ahead, a month of fun.
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