I ran the Scotia Bank Half Marathon today and had a wonderful result. I was 8th overall with a 1:09.05. My goal was to go sub 1:10, now that I am home I think maybe I should have been a little more ambitious. I am very happy with my result but 5 seconds is not a lot and to have a 1:08 would be great. There is huge incentive for my next hard training session, after a good break.
The race went out well with a quick lead pack then a few of us stragglers in behind. I ran the first 12 km with my club mate Graeme and a guy from Northwest runners in Washington. The pace was solid and comfortable. It was good to run with Graeme as he is very strong and super fit. He recently ran close to 1:10 so I knew he would be on pace to run close to what I wanted to go. The first 5 km were good, I felt relaxed and my breathing was calm and easy, I ran 16 minutes low. I got into a good rhythm and totally shut off my brain. It was actually funny because my friend Sony cheered for me at one point and I was totally taken by surprise, it was awesome. There is a long downhill section between km 8 and 10. I have been dreading this part of the course because of some knee issues I have been having. The only part of the course that really scared me was the bottom section. I felt a twinge of pain near the bottom of the hill and some loss of sensation up the lateral aspect of my right leg, once at the bottom of the hill the sensation returned and the incident went to the back of my brain. At 10 km I was at mid 32 minutes, exactly where I wanted to be, and I was feeling good.
At this point the three of us passed a guy who had gone out with the lead group, a good sign. It was also at this point that Graeme dropped off the pace. The pace he pulled through the first section of the race was a huge benefit. There is an uphill section at km 11 and I worked hard to bridge a gap the American had made and ended out pulling him up the hill. We were then onto 4th ave with around 7 km to go. At this point I wanted a bit of energy to get to the finish line but grabbed water by mistake. I was carrying an emergency gel just in case I bonked, I used it to good effect. I was still feeling good at this point so I decided to push the pace a bit. Once we were running on Point Grey Road I knew I was getting close to home. I have run this route hundreds of times on my Sunday long run. I told myself to go hard and catch Jackson, who I could see in the distance. The American did not come with me and I was now on my own for the last 5 km. I pushed hard along Cornwall and I felt great. I felt light and energized, I felt like my feet had a positive charge with the ground a negative charge, not letting my feet touch the the pavement.
The last hill on the course is the Burrard Bridge. At this point my math skills fell apart and I figured that I was running somewhere around 1:10.10. Kevin was at the bottom of the bridge and yelled how far I was ahead of the guy behind me but nothing about pace, I was a little freaked out but motivated to run hard. I also hit a bit of a rough patch at this point and it became difficult to get my quads to fire and lift. I had a bit of a shock of panic as I thought I might be bonking. Coming off of the Burrard Bridge I was slightly panicked and a tad out of control. I was unsure where my pace was, I was on my own and starting to have some negative self talk. Then off to the left I saw another club mate, Ynuk. His shouts of encouragement gave me a little burst of energy, as well as seeing the 20km marker. I looked at my watch and saw 1:05 or 1:06 something. Again I had a little freak out in my head and just thought 'go'. I ran my last km in around 3:10 or 3:15 which is pretty good after a half marathon. I was extremely happy to cross the line in 1:09:05, 8th place! (second BC runner!)
At the time, during the race, I felt like I was going as hard as I could, now that I am done I realize that I have more to give. I felt in control for approximately 90 % of the race, the conditions were not ideal with swirling head winds and I worked alone through the last 4 to 5 km. I know now that I can run sub 1:09, maybe even sub 1:08 if everything goes my way. My body feels good and my cool down was surprisingly relaxed and easy. My quads have tightened up a bit but generally everything feels alright.
I have a few weeks off to heal my body and mind and enjoy time. I have never gone into a rest period feeling this good about running and life in general. At the beginning of the year I set 3 goals for my 2009. I wanted to run sub 31 at Sun Run, Sub 1:10 for half marathon and win the Timex series. I have achieved my first two goals and it looks like I will be third in the Timex series, not too shabby to finish behind Ryan MacKenzie and Scott Simpson! I am very excited that my year has gone so well thus far. For the rest of the year I want to continue to enjoy running as much as I do now.
Oh and I want to say thanks to the race organizers. The race was very well organized and I was very happy to have a comp elite entry. I must commend BC Athletics and the running community in BC. Of all the places I have run and trained I have never been so well treated. It is truly a blessing to run in the most beautiful place on earth and to represent such a great province. I am obviously very happy with my run.