Monday, May 21, 2012

Bluenose Half Marathon Complete - 2012



Well it has come and gone. My first "A" race of the year. As I mentioned in my previous post about training for this race, my training plans had changed a bit until I settled on 3 times per week with very specific runs and no "junk miles."

After last season I knew that I had a faster half marathon in my from my previous 1:41. I wanted to get to 1:35 this year and do so standing up.To achieve that I need to average a 4:30 min/km pace and my 3 runs a week were based on just that pace.

So how did things end up working for me? Well, wonderfully. Not only did my pace turn out just fine, but my racing strategy also worked out. That is starting off slightly slower and building up to my race pace. This is something I have never been able to do very well as I head off all crazy with the sound of the gun, then wear myself out too soon and struggle to make it home. But thanks to my Garmin I was able to pull this off.

So the race started and off I went. A few hundred meters in and I glanced down at my watch to see a 3:40 pace. Yikes, time to slow down. So I did and people passed me. Normally this is a non no for me, but I allowed it as this was going to be a long race.

Eventually within a few kilometers I started to pass back many of those speedy starters. Sometimes I had to give a little blast of speed to complete a pass and put a little distance on myself and a fellow runner, but I checked that Garmin frequently to make sure I was hanging in at what I hoped would be a 4:30 pace. Sometimes it was faster and sometimes a little slower. It was also around this time that I was passed by Paul Shaw who was looking strong and happy

By 6 kilometers or so I realized that a pace in the 4:20's wasn't too hard for me so I decided it was okay to allow myself a little extra speed at this time, but I still wanted to have a negative split (faster second half than first half of the race). So I made sure this increased speed wasn't too great.

I was taking in calories at each aid stop which was about every 3.5-4 kms. I quickly realized after the first stop that the sequence was water first then Gatorade  int he line of cups. Now when I mix Gatorade at home (my preferred drink) I like it on the weaker side so it doesn't taste like syrup on a hot day. My first cup of this day was like syrup. Ugh. So from the first stop on I grabbed the first cup offered and the last cup in line. Blam, weak Gatorade was created by taking a chug from each cup. Perfect.

It was started to heat up a bit by this time, though nothing too crazy. still large areas of shade were welcomed to prevent any over heating. And the park offered loads of shade buy the time I reached it.

Now the park had too issues for me. First it was well into the second half of the half marathon which meant the hills were just a little more tiring, and second the gels were offered after I drank the offered water and it was an espresso gel which I hate. Still I had planned for this gel so I took it, consumed it and had the worst taste in my mouth for the next 4 kms.

By kilometer 16 I caught and repassed Paul Shaw. This was his premonition when he passed me earlier in the race. I was really starting to pick up the pace by this time.

The day was now noticeably warmer, the water stops were all but done (thankfully there was one at kilometer 18 to rinse my mouth), but the race was close to over. Looking down at my Garmin, I saw that I had really been doing well, my legs felt fine, my heart rate was hanging out in the mid 160's, and with so little race left I wanted to push it to see what I had left. So I upped my pace to around 4:15 and held it (sort of of) for the rest of the race. That is until Cogswell.

This year we finished running down Cogswell Street then a sharp turn onto Brunswick. It was here where I came up a huge group of 10k runners, a giant sea of purple loomed, ha ha. Much avoiding, and zipping through crowds later, I was close enough to the finish line to hit the gas one more time. Balm, I crossed the finish line at 1:32:34, 2 and a 1/2 minutes faster than I had hoped and at a top speed of 20.6 km/hr. Dang that hurt but was well worth it.

So I am extremely happy for my time and I think with some dedicated training this summer a sub 1:30 half is in my near future. And it may be done on minimal shoes, but we will chat more about that later.

And now back to Triathlon / Duathlon training.
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