VIM 2007: The Big 1-0

I am such a fraud….

Okay, back-track just a bit.

On a glorious Friday evening, I brought NPY to the Vancouver Marathon “Urban Lifestyle” expo at the Westin Bayshore. There was much fanfare — like, “Celebrate your training” — which is the reason why I keep getting sucked back into it all. We saw three people from clinic activities – I felt so popular, you know? =P I was looking forward to walking from booth to booth to peruse the big honkin’ finisher medals they give out at the marathons later this year. I was a little disappointed but not NPY who wandered off on his own and returned with a beaming smile: the girls at the McDonald’s booth had given him a treat! A Fruit’n’Yogurt Parfait, to be exact!

While I was pleased to see weather-proofed race bibs this year that wouldn’t melt as they did last year, there were some other sad broken promises. Like how Ultima was still being served instead of Gatorade. Like how I distinctly read there would be women’s sizing for the cotton participant t-shirts but that unisex extra small BMO blue shirt is a serious case of vanity sizing. I paid an extra $20 for an indigo technical shirt that I ended up wearing for the race.

Onto the race!

* It was remarkably easy to wake up at 5 AM on race day. (Race was at 7 AM.) Even though it was my tenth half-marathon, it didn’t seem real or particularly different from a Sunday training run.
* I was pleasantly surprised to see Cons. with whom I had run several times last year during marathon training. She would not have recognized me except for our personalized race bibs. We hung out until the start then it was our own race and I saw her only once afterwards early on on the course.
* When I cast my glance over at the 2-hour pace bunny — a former hippy with the biggest round bush of a beard you’ve ever seen – I also saw Tony from marathon training. I would see him only in the first twenty minutes of the race.
* Was a little annoyed by the number of walkers who had self-seeded towards the start of the race. It was almost as bad as the Sun Run because we were all the more intense about racing yesterday.
* As I remembered, the first few kilometers are rolling and as per usual, I felt like the pits during my first two intervals.
* I hadn’t formed a firm race strategy and kept my eye on the 2-hour pace bunny to see his actual pace. A large crowd formed around him as could be expected and I was just trailing the group. The pace was faster than I felt comfortable with (though it was a true 2-hour pace) and I felt like I was chasing the group. That is not why I run and did not relish having that feeling for another 100 minutes so I dropped back and did my own race.
* The rigour that is the first twenty minutes of motion, the additional feeling of being drained fuel-wise lead to a mental meltdown of sorts within 25 minutes. It was awful and I broke from my 10-and-1’s (10-minute intervals) liberally… like occurring six times throughout the race-liberally
* Was so drained at the start I was popping Sharkies (carb-containing gummies) from the second interval. Though I don’t think I’m prone to clenching my teeth while racing, it did provide a tasty and gummy spacer between my back teeth!
* The race course changed slightly from last year and we didn’t get to run through the gates of Chinatown. The course along the exterior of Stanley park had been extended and it’s disheartening to see the thousand runners ahead on the curving road. Stanley Park never felt so large and I was grimacing and thinking, “Give me that Prospect Point hill already!”
* It arrived and was not less brutal with two go’s at it earlier this year.
* From the start of the race we enjoyed cloud cover and a faint drizzle. It was perfect and I remember last year when I had to pause near Prospect Point and wring out my shoe. It started really raining around 9:30: that was 2:30 into the half-marathon and 2 hours into the marathon!
* A bit earlier than expect, before the 10KM mark, my “injury” set in: a blister on my right arch had grown beyond the threshold and was the source of considerable discomfort with every step. I am really grateful that is my worse type of injury in running and repeated to myself, “Suck it up, princess.”
* In general, I forgot my hill training and forgot my training in general. I hadn’t faith in it from the get-go.
* From song to song piped by my mp3 player, I concentrated on the long and lean legs of whoever was singing the current song (Beyonce, Mariah Carey, etc.). They wouldn’t have legs like that from quitting prematurely. Sadly, it was not as motivating a thought as the first time I thought of it, several half-marathons ago.
* I think I need some serious and personalized sports psychology. I don’t think my extended medical will cover that. =(
* The 1:26-1:36 ten-minute interval was gloriously downhill. Thereafter, I kept reminding myself that due to the first half of the race, I had energy left in me. Still, no surprise, I clocked in a positive split (second half was slower than the first).
* A fellow clinic member, Nik. hosted a fabulous brunch in her cozy west-side home. We debriefed ad nauseum like the racing geeks we are. I also noted to myself how half-marathoners shake their heads after the effort and remarked how they could never do twice the distance in a full-marathon and instead talked eagerly of triathloning. I smiled to myself because I can identify who’s got that competitive spark and will someday feel that a half is not enough and you just gotta do what’s called the full.

As for my results?

Looking at it from the standpoint of having been a “2-Hour Pace Leader” I completely blew it. Though… as far as I was concerned, my major duty was to keep a slow and steady pace during Sunday runs. The 6:30-7:00/km training pace on Sundays was manageable over indefinite distance while the race pace of 5:40/km is another story. For all I could run indefinitely at a training pace, I mentally and/or physically cannot hack it for 2 hours at race pace. I struggled at the tempo/80% training runs at my target pace of 5:55/km. Further, from speed workouts, I was making it around the track in 2:08 which is a rough guide of your race time. And it was, indeed, a good indicator.

If clinic instructors tout that all their members meet or exceed their goals, I’m a severe disappointment.

Looking at it from another standpoint, it was my third turn around this race course and my best result. Also, after a two year slump, this is a result like during my heyday in 2005, and fourth-best half-marathon of the nine that I seriously raced. The next half’er (end of June) is flat, flat, flat. I did 2:05 on it two years ago. I can do better this year. It may require doing all my temp/80% runs in June and uploading all-new music to my mp3 player!

Some of my split times —–
~58:00 10K
1:01:56 first half — alright… if I could ever negative-split!
1:04:54 second half — only three minutes slower than the first half – not such a big split?
~2:00 20KM mark — this cheers me up – I can do 20K in 2 hours, it’s the extra weird 1.1KM distance that does me in

All the results —–
Chip time 2:06:47
2,599/5,846 Half-marathoners
1,220/3682 Women
242/582 Women 25-29

On this day..

One Comment

  1. Henry Chan says:

    You’re a very good writer Wynne!
    Very vivid and structured.
    As for the race itself, oh well – you gave it a clean shot for a sub 2 – that’s what counts the most.

    omnia mutantur nos et mutamur in illis

    or as my friend Julian would say: “here’s to the next race”

    Good Luck,

Comments are closed.