Second half marathon of the year, done! Typing up this post now, I realized that I didn't post any time goals for myself. Earlier this year when I was planning out my races, I wanted to at least be close to my personal best from last year's Oak Bay Half Marathon at 1:56:09 or if the planets aligned perfectly, beat that time. I didn't have a particularly fast time at the Goddess Run (even though I was happy with it, given my lack of running mojo) at 2:04:44, so knew I was going to have to really work hard to get my time below two hours, and really gut it out to hit my personal best half marathon time.
The Scotiabank Half is a smaller race with about 4000 half marathoners running, and I was looking forward to the route which starts at UBC and winds its way through to Stanley Park. Even more exciting is that Canada's Olympic marathon hopefuls Reid Coolsaet and Eric Gillis would also be running this race! When Hubs and I went to pick up our race packages on Saturday, we saw the two of them at the race expo...they were cornered by some dude, and me being a shy Asian wallflower...I couldn't muster enough nerve to go over and wish them luck in London. I know, I know! I suck. But I was excited to see them and they gave me the inspiration to run a really hard race.
The race started at 7:30am, so Hubs and I were up and at 'em at 5:45am, and headed off to UBC by 6:15am. Being so early on a Sunday, we got there quickly and stood around in the chilly morning air waiting for the race to start. Hubs has been having some issues with his right foot, so we weren't sure how he was going to do with the race...he saw his physio who attributed it to his body getting used to revising his footstrike to a midfoot rather than a heel strike, as all the bones and ligaments are getting used to things. As the race started, we gave each other a good luck hug and kiss and off we went.
0 - 7K
Within the first few steps I had my first mishap...I had packed three Gus with me, and was going to take one before the start of the race. Not seeing any garbage cans to throw the packet away, I decided against it and just figured I would take one at the 7K point and another at 14K. Um...good thing I didn't take that gel, because as I crossed over the start line, one of my Gu packets fell out of my fuel belt, richocheted off someone's foot and shot forward like a missile! Everyone in front of me was looking around wondering what happened, and of course with the sea of bodies behind me, I couldn't exactly reach down to pick it up....so buh-bye, Mr. Gu...at least it wasn't the peanut butter one! Thank goodness I had packed that extra gel. Anyways, the start of the race was mostly downhill which was good, but bad because I was running way too quickly to start and not doing a great job of pacing myself. At around the 5K mark I was feeling a little tired and hoped that I had left enough juice in my legs to hit my goals.
8 - 13K
To be honest, I don't remember a lot about this part of the race. I was really concentrating and working hard, and even though I'm sure the route was beautiful, I was focussed. I started choosing people to chase down, and I ended up picking this girl to target because I liked her outfit. Ha! It was Lululemon, of course. What I do remember about this part of the race was that I had a really bad stitch in my side...foolishly, I'd drank some water on a downhill section and nothing makes me cramp faster than that. Argh. After awhile it went away, but it took a few kilometres of massaging it while I ran and trying to not concentrate on it. Miraculously, I somehow managed to pull the fastest splits I've ever had to date in any race, and even managed to pull a 52:38 10K split, which is the fastest 10K I've ever run! Yeehaw. I was wearing a pace bracelet as well, and knew at the 10K point that I had built about a four minute buffer for a two hour half marathon.
10K 4:50 ------> holy crap
10K split: 52:38 (target for 2:00 hour half, 56:50)
14 - 21.1K
Again...this is where things got hard. This is the part of the race where I always suffer, and I'm really hoping that the speedwork, tempo and hills that I'll be doing at my running clinics will help with my endurance. I usually start floundering around now, and this race was no different. One of my goals for this year is to achieve a 1:50 half, meaning a 5:15 split...I gotta lot of work to do to get myself to that point, given how hard it is for me to hit the splits that I did...which for the most part were nowhere near 5:15. To be honest, I think a lot of it is mental...I walked a lot around the 17 - 19K point and just didn't have any fight left during these splits.
Luckily, the last few kilometres went better...I could feel myself getting excited that I was getting so close to the finish line, and willed my legs to keep moving. I knew I would hit my goal of a sub 2 hour time, but I wanted to hit a personal best and beat 1:56:09. As I came around the bend and could see the finish line, I looked at my watch and saw that I was cutting it close...really close. Mustering every last tiny bit of energy I could, I sprinted the final few hundred feet and ran across the finish line at 1:55:40...personal best, achieved!
19K 6:19 ---> WTF happened here, Wong?
After I ran across the mats, I started to feel a bit dizzy and could feel my legs cramp up. I actually started to feel things tunnelling in around me, so walked slowly around until I could catch my breath and get a hold of myself. Luckily, the feeling passed quickly and I waited around for Hubs to finish. He had a good race, and his foot held out which was awesome. Yay, Hubs!
Age Group: 62/285
Gender Group: 491/2182
So happy! I feel my running mojo coming back, and hereby commit to work hard, eat right and stick to my training schedule. 1:50 half, I have you in my sights!