I realized a few days back that I've started running under the assumption that most of my Twitter posts are getting viewed in lieu of my blogging. I thought about this a bit and came to the conclusion that this is probably not the case so I'll try to do a better job of linking it all together on here.
I put in a solid week of running following 'The Toad' which included slogging my way through a 50k run on Thursday. It was a tough day and I thought about turning around numerous times but in the end I stuck with it. I kinda regretted it in the days following though as I'd definitely gone pretty deep into my reserves and was paying the price for it with a few lethargic runs and days of feeling tired. In the end I think it worked to my benefit for the Half Marathon though as it prevented me from hitting my goal mileage of 130km. In the end I logged just 100k and didn't run at all on Sunday.
The North Shore Half Marathon is in just its third year and is hosted by North Shore Athletics. The numbers have increased steadily and we saw registration of just under 300 for the 09 edition! Not bad considering The Royal Victoria Marathon and 1/2 happened yesterday with record numbers of 2,300 in the 42.2 and 4,600 in the 21.1!
Personally I had absolutely no idea what to expect in this race and I decided upon running it kinda last minute. I'm feeling good these days and figured at worst it would be a great tempo training run. Since I'm keying for the Mountain Masochist 50 miler on November 7th in Virginia I figured a bit of speed work couldn't hurt either...well not literally of course as I knew it'd hurt like hell!
I've run four 1/2 Marathons in my life. My first was over 2hr and was basically done on a beer bet and a beer gut. My 2nd, 3rd, and 4th were all between 1h33m and 1h36m. Two were in back to back weekends. I hadn't run a road race in over five years, since early in my first official running season, and at worst I knew I'd manage a significant personal best.
The race started at 8am and although the course record from last year was 1h21m the field this year was by far the strongest yet. It was a bitterly cold morning but with blue skies here and snow in many other parts of Canada no one was complaining!
A group shot to the front and I just tried to hang on to the back of the front six. By the third km three people had broken away and I was sitting in fourth, as always, running alone.
I was knocking down consistent splits and although my calves were absolutely killing me I was happy with how the race was transpiring. Given that I haven't run a road race in over five years I wasn't sure what to make of a new 10km P.B. when I hit the mark in just under 35min. My 'Best Case Scenario' for the day had me finishing around 1:15:30 and I was thinking I might be closer to 1:17:30 in the end. I hadn't figured out actual split times to hit my goal finish at 10k I was thinking to myself,
"Hmm, this could be a long second half! Oh well, too late to change anything now might as well stick with it and see if you can hold on!"
Since I work at NSA I knew most of the volleys out on course and even though I was faking a smile with each person I recognized it helped to disguise the pain my legs were suffering through. By the time I'd reached 15km I knew I had a shot at a 'better that my best case scenario'. I kept referencing my pace counter on my GPS to ensure I wasn't slacking off at all and I managed to knock down consistent 3m36s kms.By the time I rounded the final corner I could see the clock quickly counting up towards 1:14:00. I put in a final stretch kick that brought me very near my puking point and I heard the timing chip beep right as the timer hit 1:13:59! I was ecstatic! Obviously a new P.B., a better than expected run time, and a fourth overall finish against some solid local roadies.
Tamsin was also out for the race, given that I registered her, picked up her timing chip and bib number, and told her she had no say in the matter, she wasn't allowed not to run it. Having logged 130km of running herself last week she wasn't super stoked to take home 2nd place in the women's field, her first 2nd place finish since a snowshoe race way back in January! She's also keying for Mountain Masochist in November, her finish time of 1:24:43 however was very impressive given her mileage, and it only took her a few minutes to realize this herself.
In the end a great day was had by all with impressive run times and a number personal bests even upon the same course from last year.
Well, if you've made it this far you can check out the final results and see that my official time was 1:14:00...dammit I know I crossed the line in 1:13:59!! I was told that in chip timing it automatically rounds up, so there you have it, I am offically a 1h14m 1/2 marathon guy...although I'm sure I can make up that lost second next time round!
Pics to follow.