I have never done the chilly half marathon before even though I have heard many people speak of it. There is a reason for that; I do not like racing in the cold so when I looked at the race schedule and realized it was really my only option I was less than pleased to sign up.
This winter has brought on some pretty crazy conditions to train through so I did feel like I was well prepared for whatever conditions mother nature may throw my way. Now this was by no means a goal race more so a see where I am and get rid of the winter rust race. For me it is tough to go into a race like that because I want every race to be my best race ever. But in order to still have that challenge my race plan was to go out conservative (which I do not typically do) and then push hard in the last 8km.
Of course letting up my mileage the week of the race (had done 120km the week before and only hit 101km race week) I got sick on the Thursday before the race. Friday was even worse and I was completely congested and tired. So I made it a point to get extra rest the three nights leading up to the race. I also got a massage from @MarkDonesRMT on Friday and he was able to work on my sinuses and I was able to breath through both nostrils when I got home… amazing!
Considering what we have been through this winter, the weather on race day was quite mild and I was able to get away with not wearing too many layers. There was a light snow for the first half but not much wind so I was happy!
So here is how race day went down:
I met up with my fellow @runwithSPR angels to get our race kits and try to decide what to wear. For once I was quite decisive and had decided to go with a dri fit long sleeve, singlet and light long sleeve on top with head band, gloves, neck warmer and tights.
Shortly there after we went for our warm up everything was feeling good and I had managed to use the bathroom as needed by kindly asking at a gas station and subway restaurant (everyone else was going to starbucks).
My coach Nicole Stevenson reminded me of the race plan and being conservative off the gun. As I mentioned this is not typically how I race and so it was going to be a challenge. So the goal was no faster then 3:44/km and being closer to 3:50/km was okay for the first 5km.
Luckily with the cold it was much easier to go slower off the start so I hit 3:44-3:46 for the first 5km. Then I was in no man’s land. This is a point in the race where you are alone even though there are thousands of other people running the race you manage to find a pocket of loneliness. I have always been very good at finding these lonely pockets whether it was a national champs race or an invitational somehow I find myself alone. Which ends up working okay because I do a lot of my training alone and I am quite good at pushing myself. So I kept my eyes up and started to slowly reel in the pack of people ahead of me.
Two people fell off the pack and ran with me for a kilometer or so before I left them behind. I continued to keep focused on the pack ahead. There was increased motivation to catch this group because I was fairly certain the second place female was in that group (Krista Duchene was far ahead at this point). I continued to get closer and closer but it was not until 19km that I finally caught up to the ‘pack’ of people which now consisted of only two people one of which was the second place female. At this point I also knew we were going to be close to breaking 1:20 so I wanted to push as much as I could given that my left calf was quite tight and I was concerned it was going to seize up. So I passed the second place female and started to push and she came with me.
I wish I could say this was a happy ending and I stayed strong and came second…. But I am missing that sharpeness/speed component at the moment and so I was passed in the last ~200m and ran 1:20:05. This is great… but slightly annoying as sub 1:20 was right there. With no speed work and running this just off of long tempos and hills I will take it!
I will not complain it was a strong race and a lot more consistent then I typically run. Although running a more consistent race did not decrease the amount of pain as I hoped it would. But this early in the season and having done no speed work as of yet I will take the 1:20:05 which is only 17secs off my personal best time of 1:19:48 from the fall. I can also feel quite confident in being able to run a 1:20 half as this was my third time. Next up 1:17!
The race itself was very well run and a lot of fun! I would highly recommend it to anyone that needs to lace up and get an early half marathon in their season or if you are just getting tired of training through the winter months and need to change it up! I was also impressed by the beautiful bouquet of flowers and prize I received for coming in 3rd! Thanks @VRProInc!
I am off to a training camp with the @runwithSPR angels this weekend up north. Lots of running and relaxing… I cannot wait!
I hope everyone enjoys the more mild temperatures this weekend!