Tuesday, October 29, 2013

One Last time for the Season - Shubie Half Marathon 2013

Originally I had planned on the Riverport Duathlon being my last race for the year. It was later in the season and I was tired. But an MEC race at the end of October couldn't be missed. The price was right, the course was local and I had done well in the other MEC races this year (I missed one this summer when I was not running).

The options were 5K, 10K or Half Marathon this year. Shubie is really hilly so I decided against my normal 5K, and I had no where near trained for a 10K, so I opted for the half. I decided to enter at the last minute as I wanted to try a few long runs before committing. They seemed to go okay so I signed up.

The day called for rain. Loads of rain. The kind of rain that makes you normally crawl under a blanket indoor rain. So a good day for a Fall run I guess!

Luckily the temperature was going to be warm, and also luckily the rain was not supposed to start until part way through the race. It is rather nice to start dry. It was also good catching up with Ron and Mark before the start (they also ran the half).

Things were running on time and we were beckoned to the start.

The Half Marathoners were to start with the rest of the runners but quickly make a left hand turn, where we would run a 5K loop to start. We were kept off to one side to start but I saw that there might be a bit of a bottle neck 100m in at the turn so I made sure  to get up front. Then bam, we were off.

I knew that my training had fallen away from the summer. From August through September I did a lot of travelling, and I had also spent some of the summer in rehab (injury not alcohol related). I had been getting back into good solid Zone based training in October, but hadn't gotten back to my previous level. Also Shubie is really just constant hills. So my goal was straight forward. Start fast then find a comfortable pace and see what I could do with the hope of a top 3 finish.

I quickly took the lead through the twisty hilly course and felt pretty good. I looked at my pace though and it was sub 4 min/km. That wasn't going to be good, so I backed it down a bit and carried on.

By now the rain was starting, but it was a light drizzle. Still the path was damp and covered in a lot of leaves, so you had to be careful how you took corners and down hills. Also Shubie's paths are quite bumpy and a lot of hazards were hidden.

I kept the lead through the first 5K loop where it was nice to see Luke as I ran by. We then started onto the 11K portion of the run, which followed the 10K route, plus a bit.

By this time we were starting to meet the faster 5K runners on their way back to the start. That was really fun. The rain was also picking up by this point. Now this section of the run has the bigger ups and downs and I was starting to feel that. Still by the time I passed the 5K turn around sign I was still leading. But alas not for long.

At 8Kish I was passed by the lead male and female runners. They had a good pace going and I realized that I had drifted off my own pace quite a bit. So I tried to pick it up and hold onto their heels. Alas, they slowly pulled away and I didn't feel like I could waste anymore energy this early. I was, after all, still in third overall and 2nd place in the men's category.

It seems quite cruel when you reach the 10k turn around point, but have to run passed it. I ran through and grabbed a sport gel, which as always for me is chocolate (the one flavour I hate while running). I knew this section would be just over 1 km in length, so I wanted to get that gel down and grab a water from the table on the way back. I nibbled on that gel the whole way to the turn around and back, grabbed a water and kept going, with the third place male not too far behind.

By now the rain was in full force, just pouring down. I frequently was hitting deep puddles and wondering if it might be better to run in the canal or lakes by the trail. The edges of the trail were mud and thick leaves, so it was no place to run either.

I managed to work my way back to the finish line, which for the half marathoners meant 1 final 5K loop to go, still hanging onto 3rd place overall with what I hoped was enough of a lead.

 This section was nice to see as I had been here before and knew it well enough. The corner workers/ volunteers were still smiling despite the weather. I was still feeling strong enough to hold my pace in the low 4 min /km world and though the path was quite twisty I was not seeing the guy behind me. It wasn't until the long straight section half way through the final loop where I could really gauge my lead, and by this point it did not look huge. I felt willing to continue my risky running and plow through the twisty soaking leaf filled section right after the straight away, praying that my feet would hold me steady. And they did.

Finally the trees parted and the finish line was in sight, just 4 or 5 more turn to go in the last few hundred meters. I didn't bother to glance back as I knew I was well free and just happy to see thee end of this race. As I hit the final straight to the finish I saw the big clock read 1:29:xx, so I pushed it to keep my sub 1:30 streak alive. And tada! I did. 1:29:36 for a 4:16 min/km pace average. Second place male. Not too bad for the conditions and course. Great to see that my legs still had some oomph. And my average heart rate was right in Zone 4 where I like to run my half marathons. I did hit the Zone 5 world a bit more than I would like, but with these hills it is hard not to.

This was a really well attended and put on event and I am glad the rain didn't dampen everyone's spirit. 75 people ran this late season half marathon on a crazy hard course, which considering how many Full and Half Marathons there were leading up to this, is amazing.

So I finish the MEC local running series with A 2nd, 1st, 2nd and 2nd place medal. That feels really good. And thanks to the early season work I did with Jeff Z and the Kinesic Sports Lab, I was primed for all sorts of goodness.

So number 3 under my belt for the year and all three under 1:30. Now I take a break from the world of training until December when my next training season begins. Some light running and cycling will fill my days, plus some good strength and rehab training over the next month. And of course my Movember Fun Run will be held on the 23rd of Nov in Point Peasant Park. Looking for a 6K good time run? Sign on up.


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