Monday, October 17, 2005

TO Half-marathon report

Last years T.O. half was my 1st half-marathon ever. When I started training last year 12 minute miles felt fast, & 10 min/mile was out of my league. I just wanted to lose some weight and break 2:30. Did it in 2:14.

Today marked my 6th half, with my PR of 2:08 being set in the 21kmtl back in april. The other races were really just glorified training runs. Based on my fast 5k & 10k performances, I really wanted to push a little harder today and try to break that ellusive 2 hour barrier. Being a numbers geek, but not an accountant, I crunched the numbers determining that if I did 10&1's walking at my leisurely 20 min/mile pace I'de need to run 8:40 min/mile pace to crack 2 hours.

Woke up this morning at 5:30, had a really nice bowel movement and proceeded to have PB&J on whole wheat with a glass of O.J. Started focussing on the race and what I'de need to do. That sent me back for bowel movements 2a&b. Ahhh, that would help lighten the load. Had my father in law drive me to the start. Nice encouraging fellow that he is, he told me that with the rain the roads will be too slick, and I'll have to go slow or hurt myself. He then wondered if they should cancel the race, before declaring that given the conditions it could take me 2:25 to finish. I wanted to smack him, but ran out of the car, looking to break a lifetime of good hygiene in one of those foul porta-potties. There goes #3. Found the bag check truck and dumped off my bag. Time to wait. Got cold so headed inside. WHAT??? Again? I hit the pocelain goddess for shot #4 and made sure I was done that time.

Got to the start line with time to spare, found an appropriate place to start not too far from the start, and then we were off. SLOWLY. lots of traffic. Oh well, it works in my plan to stay conservative the 1st few miles. SO, I didn't fight the pack too much. My temper flared up after passing 3 seperate pairs of walkers who thought that they should start at the front and walk in the middle of the road. I came close to telling the last group off, but contained myself. My HRM was acting wonky at the start with some crazy high #'s, and the GPS was really off the whole run. Probably my fault for not restarting it after I went inside. But, I was monitoring my HR, and knew what splits I wanted to hit.

The 1st mile went quickly and my pace was opeining up. Quickly found myself at the top of Yonge after the 401 looking at the large lead-up to the looming Hoggs Hollow Monster hill. I wanted to keep my HR in the 155-159 range, but so far it was hanging in the 140's, so I let myself maintain pace up hoggs hollow and finished it just on time to have my 2nd walk break. Hit 5k in @ 27 minutes, and knew my wife would be waiting for me just past the 10k marker. Felt nice and easy as I was gliding up & over the rolling hills from Lawrence to St. CLair. Now where is my wife and that Starbucks? My arm was getting tired from holding my gatorade bottle (for the planned switcheroo with my wife, so that I always had Gatorade and didn't need to race on Ultima. True, this is technically illegal, but I'm not in contention, so who cares? Ooops, much further than I thought, ended up drinking too much and my shoulder got tight from that follishness. Saw her, said a quick hi, posed for a pic as I was running in. Got a great "Go,Go,Go" from my son, and I was off.

Then I was quickly making my way down Rosedale valley, when my right knee started hurting. Uhoh. Really started focusing on keeping a quick short turnover and after a mile it went away, and I found myself at the bottom of Bayview. There's a lot more people when you're right on target to break 2 hours down there, compared to last year, when I was 20 minutes behind. By the 15k sign, I'm tired but feeling good and decide that since I'm bang on for 2 hours, I want to break 2 in Gun time. Just held my pace, focusing on some runners ahead of me and worked at reeling them in. Stopped taking walk breaks after 14k, but figured I could take it easy if needed and still have a faster time than with any more walk breaks. Boom, I'm at University. Just gotta hang on for 3k. I can do this. I think? Getting so sleepy. Must get to bed. No, 2k left, 1k left. Hanging onto my pace, and started to find a li'l extra as I thought about cracking 2 hours. Eased up on my stride and just let the legs go for the last half of the loop. Gave a tiny salute at where I passed the runner who died last year, and pushed it in. Last year I had the greatest race picture at the finish line. Both arms up in victory, huge grin on my face. This year, no posing, no smile at the camera, just pure determination. Arms at my side, head down low. Just finish. Crossed at 1:59:14 gun time, 1:57:26 Official. an 11 min PR.

But no big internal celebration. I think that since I've known for so long that I should be able to hit 2 hours, that it's not such a big deal to me. I was more shocked at my 24 min 5k at Mt. Royals hard course, which was a true surprise.

Ok, so what now? Well, I've already decided to register for the NYC marathon next year. Even if that senile Jose thinks that it's dangerous. Why dangerous? Is it the risk of pushing myself too hard over 26 miles? The fact that both times I've run in the half marathon someone died? That I won't be fit enough to handle a full? Nope, the old fart thinks that in the biggest marathon in the world, I'll be in danger running through all 5 boroughs 'alone' and that I'll get mugged! In any case, I still need to win the lottery so that's iffy. Otherwise, I'll be running the chilly half again next march, and maybe in fredericton in may. And then the Return to St. Lambert where I shall vanquish all challengers (except for the ones who are faster than me). I'de like to drop another 10-15 lbs, and see how much faster I can get. A sub 50 min 10k is on my wish list, as is a 22 min 5k. But, that will take lots of work and focus. So, time to get started. Right after I have my bowl of celebratory frosted flakes.