Tag Archives: half marathon

BMO Vancouver Half Marathon – 1:27:39

BMO Half MarathonLast year I ran my first full marathon. This year I didn’t want to commit as much time to training and instead focused on running a fast half marathon. I’ve run two halves before (Victoria and Scotiabank Vancouver), the fastest in 1 hour and 33 minutes. I knew I could go faster.

The weather this morning wasn’t ideal – persistently raining with gusts of wind, but I powered through. I had no idea how fast I was going – probably the only person without a watch. I took the first 3 km pretty fast, thinking the downhill section would allow me to bank some free time. After that I settled into a steady pace. Luckily I had friends along the course to encourage me to run fast. Thanks Emily, Rhea, Michael, Cynthia, Greg, and Taryn.

Every few kilometres something ached – my right hip flexor was bothering me before the race, my left hamstring cramped up midway, my feet were sore for the second half, and I had a stitch in my side for the last 5 kilometres. But I was able to run through all the problems and finished strong. I had lots of energy left at the end and sprinted the last kilometre. I thought my pace must have been too slow. I was shocked when I saw the time was under 1:28.

Warmup GearIt was tricky figuring out what to wear this morning. I wanted to run the race in shorts and a singlet, but needed something to warm up in. I found an old long-sleeve shirt, a dry-cleaning bag, and cut the toes off mismatched socks to create leggings. I looked like a hobo, but it kept me warm until the race started.

Chip Time: 1:27:39 (Sportstats)
Overall Place: 89 / 9954
Category Place: 18 / 605 (Male 30-34)

Chai Keeps My Running Gear Warm

On the Run Again

running kms
I’ve started running again. In 2013 I trained intensively between January and April, completed a full marathon in May, and ran infrequently afterwards until IT band issues sidelined me. After two months without any running, everything feels good and I’m looking forward to hitting the road again.

Runs on PlantsMy goal is to run the the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon on May 4 in under 1 hour and 30 minutes. I’m also going to run the Modo Spring 8k on March 23. It should be a good tuneup and I love that Modo is sponsoring it.

Last year I joined a Running Room clinic, but this time I’m doing most of my training on my own. I’m enjoying the flexibility in scheduling when I go running but it is harder getting motivated, especially with all the rain we’ve been having. I don’t want a repeat of the injury problems I had last year (I strained my calf 4 weeks in), so this time I’m being careful to slowly ramp up the intensity and frequency of my workouts. I’m also spending more time stretching and going to yoga once a week.

If you’re on Strava, you can follow my progress here.

Victoria Half Marathon

Almost Done
I celebrated 10/10/10 by running my 2nd half marathon.

It was a hard race but I’m happy with my performance. My goal was to run 1:30, and I ran a 1:33:04 (full results). A few minutes short, but still a new personal best. I went out hard (probably a bit too hard), running the first 10 km in 42 minutes, but I couldn’t keep up the pace. At km 15, the wind started howling in my face and I hit the wall.

I made the mistake of eating too much again. For breakfast, I prepared an energy-packed Thrive pudding. It’s not the puddings fault, but I ate too much and didn’t give it enough time to digest. I could feel it bouncing around in my stomach the whole race. Amazingly, even with the constant urge to vomit, this was the first race I didn’t puke at the finish line in years.

I was impressed with the course and the race coordination. The half marathon route was really flat and there was plenty of water stations. It was also a nice scenic route through Victoria and along the seawall. The start times for the half marathon and full marathon are staggered, so the course wasn’t too congested. The only negative was there wasn’t too many people out cheering or bands playing music along the route (at least compared to the Vancouver marathon I ran) – maybe they came out later for the full marathon.

Part of me wants to run another half marathon soon so I can correct my mistakes. I know I can break 1:30. But I think I’ll give my body a rest.

We were lucky to have good weather for the race and the rest of the weekend. There was a huge storm Saturday night with high winds and heavy rain, but Sunday morning was dry and the rest of the weekend was sunny.

I was a able to get a Victoria Car Share vehicle (they are partnered with the Vancouver Car Co-op), so we took the opportunity to explore the area outside of Victoria. On Sunday, we went wine tasting at Glenterra Vineyards and Merridale Cidery. Merridale was a fun spot to explore. They have self-guided tours, experienced staff giving tastings, a large restaurant, and a store with a impressive selection of goods made from apples. On Monday, we hiked Mount Douglas and visited the Sooke Pot Holes. I really didn’t want to do anything too strenuous, and I was told you could drive to the top of Mount Douglas. Unfortunately, the road was closed so we had to walk up from the parking lot at the bottom. I actually found that walking up was good for my legs and helped ease some of the stiffness. The relief was short-lived, however, as coming down caused a whole world of pain.

Victorious Merridale Apple Merridale Taps Relaxing at Merridale Mount Douglas Mount Douglas 360 View Mystery Ruins Giant Slug Hello Slug Sooke Potholes

Half Marathon Training – 3 weeks to go

The training for the Victoria Half Marathon continues. I think I’m ready. I went on a long 25km run today, and now I’m staring to taper my running. I only have to ensure I don’t get sick or injured in the next 3 weeks.

Today was my longest training run, and I took my fancy new Android phone with me so I could try out the MyTracks app. Normally, I don’t even take a watch with me, so I have no idea how fast or even how long I’m running for. According to MyTracks I ran 28.25 km in 2 1/2 hours, but that includes a lot of drunken staggering near the end which I think tacked on a few extra km that didn’t actually happen. The GPS was a lot more accurate when I was on the seawall and seemed to get confused when I was closer to big buildings. It was also interesting to see the elevation profile of the run. I chose UBC specifically for the hill at the midpoint of the run. It looks worse on the graph then it felt, although after the hill my average speed dropped significantly.

Elevation Profile

Half Marathon Training

I’m training for the Victoria Half Marathon on 10/10/10. It is challenging finding interesting running routes for my Sunday long run – Vancouver’s Seawall is a great route, but I was looking for something new.

On Sunday, I took the SkyTrain to New Westminster’s Braid Station and ran home, following the new Central Valley Greenway. It is ridiculous having to travel 2 cities away to get a 20km run in, but the Central Valley Greenway is a gorgeous running route. It is sheltered from traffic with only a few intersections to cross, there are water fountains along the route so I didn’t have to bring a water bottle, and there are even some blackberry bushes for energy boosts.

Going the Distance, Going for Speed

This morning I ran my first Half Marathon. It was quite an experience. Right now the runner’s high is starting to ease up and the muscle fatigue is setting in, but I’m still really happy with how I ran.

The route for reference.

5:00 am – My alarm goes off and I’m tempted to go back to bed. But I roll out of bed, make a strawberry and açaí smoothie, eat a small piece of bread, anad get my gear together.

5:30 – The taxi calls to let me know he’s here. Since the race starts at UBC at 7 am, biking and public transit are out of the question, so I have to resort to a $20 cab ride. I emailed Translink to complain that they don’t run special service for events like the half marathon. 4 thousand runners had to get to UBC somehow this morning, and having everyone drive is just dumb.

5:45 – I arrive at UBC a bit earlier than I wanted. It’s drizzling and all the buildings are closed, so I find a dry spot next to the book store and camp out with some other early bird runners.

6:15 – I stash my bag in a quiet alleyway and do a 10 minute warm up jog, stretch, and loosen up.

6:40 – I’m in a 200 person line up of frantic runners who are all trying to check their bags so they have dry clothes at the finish line. The line is moving quickly and everyone is chatting. The lady in front of me is asking if its ok to eat a power gel that expired. The helpful man behind me asks when it expired. The response – about a year ago. He suggests its best to avoid it. She then reveals she’s running in a new pair of runners she just bought yesterday, and he suggests she might as well eat the power gel.

6:50 – Bag check has turned into a free for all. The one table of volunteers trying to staple tags to people’s bags couldn’t keep up so everyone is just chucking their gear on buses and hoping it arrives at the finish line. I rip off my track pants, toss my long sleeve shirt in my bag, slather Vaseline on my nipples and in my armpits (don’t want any nasty chaffing), and toss my bag on a bus.

7:00 – The gun goes off. I’m somewhere near the middle of the pack. It takes a full minute before I reach the start line. The rain has let up and the weather is looking nicer.

2 KM mark – I spent the last 10 minutes slowly passing hordes of runners and now I’m in a comfortable spot where I can spend most of my time running forward instead of weaving in and out of runners.

4 KM mark – There’s an awesome band playing music. The lead singer is cracking jokes in between songs. “I’m not sure if you noticed, but you’re all numbered. Didn’t you realize you are supposed to be in order. I think you should regroup and fix that.” “How many people bought new shoes yesterday? How’s that going for you?” “Any single guys want to leave their numbers with me when they run by? I want to date an athletic type.”

7 KM mark – Chugging along. I find a group of guys who are aiming for 1:30. That sounds like a good time to me, so I stick with them. They seem to be going a bit fast, but I decide to give’r: 1:30 or bust.

9 KM mark – Extreme downhills. Most of the course is a gentle drop, but the next 2 KM are pretty severe. I let gravity take over and fly down the hill.

10 KM mark – Normally I’d be done by now, but I’m not even half done. I’m feeling good, but slightly worried I ran the downhill a bit too fast. I grab some Gatoraide and keep running.

Wet T-Shirt Finish11 KM mark – The heavens oven up and it starts to pour. I’m drenched pretty quickly, but trudge on.

13 KM mark – I’ve hit the wall. The lactic acid burn is hitting my legs, I’m feeling tired, the rain is slowing me down, and the course is sloping upwards now.

14 KM mark – I run through the wall. Nothing keeps me down for long. I found a girl who’s running the pace I want, so I drop in behind her. There are no pace bunnies and I forgot my watch. I’m not sure what time she’s aiming for, but she has a really cute bottom (no bunny tail sadly) and I think following her for a few kilometres will lift my spirits.

15 KM mark – I’m a leading contender in the half marathon wet t-shirt contest. The vaseline has all but washed away, but my white, cotton t-shirt is firmly glued to my skin and isn’t moving anywhere. No need to worry about nipple chaffing. Need to worry about nipples poking through my shirt.

They’re giving away power gels at the 15 km station. Curious, I grab one. I rip the top off with my teeth, and go to squeeze out the contents, but nothing happens. I squeeze harder and sticky yellow stuff squirts all over my hand. I lick some off (it’s kind of nasty) and let the rain wash the rest away (yep, still pouring).

16 KM mark – I’m skipping water stations. I can just keep my mouth open for a few seconds. If there’s a towel station I might stop. I’ve been ringing my t-shirt out every few minutes, but it doesn’t do much good. The constant ringing and the weight of the water has ripped my bib number from one of the pins.

17 KM mark – I can see the finish line, but English Bay is in my way, so I’ll have to run around. Fancy that, I find someone I know. I catch up to Scott and run with him. I left my pace bunny’s behind a while ago, so I need company.

18 KM mark – Last hill – the Burrard Bridge. After the race someone commented that running up the Burrard bridge felt like a salmon swimming up stream, with all the water flowing toward you. I’m feeling really good at this point and start to lose Scott on the uphill.

19 KM mark – Almost done. I pick up the pace further, sensing the finish line. Only 2 pins holding my bib number to my transparent t-shirt.

20 KM mark – The famous Porter Kick takes over and I start to sprint the last kilometre.

Finish Line – 1:33:07.3. Pretty good. I almost made the first page of results (note: they’re sorted by gun time, so my time is actually faster than the last ten entries). I didn’t break 1:30, but not still pretty good for my first half marathon. 18/95 in my age category. Official Results

After the race I was exhausted. I quickly removed all my wet clothes (underwear too) and put on dry clothes. If you get into the porta-potties early they’re relatively clean, dry, and stink-free.

The bag pickup area was chaotic and most of the bags were sitting in a puddle, but luckily mine was near the front and sitting on top of someone else’s bag. I packed a recovery drink (with dates, hemp oil, dulse flakes, honey, and lemon juice) that my mother recommended and it did wonders to restore my energy. Now to relax and enjoy the rest of the day (which has suddenly become sunny – good timing).