Saturday, February 18, 2012

2012 Vancouver First Half Half Marathon Race Report

Last weekend I headed over to Vancouver for the Vancouver First Half Half Marathon. I had come off of 3 big training weeks after the Pioneer 8km that had left my legs literally completely dead a week before the race. I was a tad worried about how the race would go; however, generally after 3 hard weeks I get 1 easier week and that is exactly what happened. That 1 easier week is also exactly what my legs needed, a "semi" taper. 

The Wednesday before the race, my stomach turned on me. I struggled to get in food and fluid. I literally was force feeding myself as nothing was appetizing. Every time I attempted to eat, I lost my appetite and felt nauseous. Thankfully, by Friday evening it started to pass. A bit late for the hydration I had lost, but I attempted to stuff my face to get in some nutrition at least. 

Then on Friday night while I was at work, my hip started to hurt. WTF?! I couldn't walk without pain, so I began to get worried. I hadn't done anything out of the ordinary and had no idea what was going on. I sent a few text messages to my wonderful Chiro Joe @ Island Optimal and he agreed to treat me at his house the next morning. Thanks Joe! 

On Saturday I headed over to Vancouver on the 3pm ferry. I was lucky enough to have a stinky greasy looking guy sit right in front of me. Trust me, I debated moving, but figured the smell might get better. I wasn't sure if his hair was wet or in fact greasy; however, let's just say that it still looked the same at the end of the 1.5 hour ferry ride.... outcome = probably greasy. He had the fuzz ball neck hair on the back of his neck too. Yummy. The ferry quickly passed with a nap for half of it. 

My sister graciously picked me up from the ferry and took me back to her place. This took WAY longer than anticipated as the traffic down Taylor Way was horrid. I swear it took 30 minutes to get down that one hill and onto the Lion's Gate Bridge. Stupid bridge only had 1 lane into Vancouver and 2 going out; however, the traffic was way worse going into Vancouver. Made no sense. 

We spent the evening with her cooking me a yummy chicken dinner and then watching the Canucks Vs Calgary game. Thankfully her husband was out playing his own hockey game, as he is a Calgary fan. Unfortunately that game ended in yet another shootout in which Canucks lost (surprise surprise). I attempted to head to bed around 10:30, but found myself awake at midnight. Great, I thought to myself, only 6 hours of possible sleep. I never sleep well there. And this night was like all the others. 6 hours where I woke up at least 3 times.

Alarm was off at 6 in which I shoved in some food (food on race mornings NEVER works for me). About 7:15 I was on the side of the road in which Catherine and Melissa picked me up on the way into Vancouver. Catherine didn't end up racing due to an unfortunate incident so she dropped us off and we eventually ran into Natasha (eventual race winner) before heading off on a warm up. 

Just as we started our warm up, it was raining quite steady. I had some knee pain in my right knee during the warm up, but I had felt that recently. As usual, it went away as I got warmed up. Bathroom lines were crazy, so we bombarded Subway across the road from the start. A few quick drills and it was go time.

I wanted to go out somewhat conservative and then pick it up in the 2nd half. I had no idea what my body was going to let me run, but my ultimate goal this season is to get under 80' for the half. I wanted to get as close to that as I could. My knee hurt for the first couple of km which worried me, but then it went away and I didn't feel it for the rest of the race. I picked off women starting from 5km onward, never being picked off once (by another female that is). 

I went through half way in 40:38 I believe and thought "crap, too slow" so I picked it up. My next 5km were the fastest of the entire race. The race only had mile markers, which I wasn't prepared for, and then markers every 5km. I ended up taking my 5km splits. I think I also ran the last half with another Saucony dressed runner named Sam. We pushed each other and picked off people one at a time. 

I dropped Sam when we hit the lagoon. Not sure how far back he fell, but he caught me again in the final few km. I had a few issues in the last few km where my brain was taking over and it caused me to slow a few times (this is an issue well known to me and its something I need to work on). This lost me some time in the end, but I sprinted for home when I saw the clock at 1:20:?? and counting. I finished in 1:20:55 gun time and 1:20:53 chip time. This works out to a 1:02 personal best since my 2010 Eugene Half Marathon. I finished 6th female (4th from BC for the BC Championships) and 4th in my age group. Full results are here.

Last few km (photo credit Mark Bates)


Final kick (photo credit my sister)
Pretty sure this is when I rounded the corner and saw my time for the first time (I don't check my watch) and thought "damn too slow"


Sub 81' I want you!

Not bad considering it was my first half marathon since October 2010. I am pleased with the time, though of course I felt like I have more in me. I am most pleased that I ran a negative split ever so slightly, 40:38 and 40:17. I NEVER run negative splits, so the fact that I was coming on strong for the 2nd half and other than the one mental issue, which caused me some time, I was definitely on a roll for finishing faster! 

Thanks to Matt for his coaching, support and encouragement. Thanks to Marilyn for her kind words of support to go for it. Thanks to Saucony Canada for believing in me! Thanks to my sister for the place to stay. Thanks to my coworker for swapping shifts with me so I could attend the race. Thanks to all my friends/coworkers for their support over social media. And thanks to you for reading this! I cannot wait until the next one!


Chris said...

Nice pb, Erin, keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

So glad to hear about the PR Erin!! Your strong start to 2012 has me excited for my own 2012 debut. We both could use a strong year after a injury riddled 2011. Congrats!!