Day 78 Run 140 minutes - 32 km (Saturday)
Total on week 160 minutes
Didn't sleep that much because I was so hyped for the race. This race for me was pretty important for a few reasons
1) Was a bigger race and potentially a stronger field
2) I was more ready for this half-marathon than any other in years
3) It was a checkpoint on how well my training to run farther at a speed that would equate to a 3:30 Ironman run.
Also, Frances was doing her second half-marathon with me and she was well trained and rested for it. Knee was a bit sensitive during my warm-up but not enough to concern me. Frances and I did my usual pre-race warm-up as we had got to the race with lots of time to spare.
1km easy easy jog then turn around and do drill work back to race start
Drill work was 3 X A's (First step, then skip, then A run)
3 X C's (all C - runs)
then 6 X 50 m accelerations (first at 55%, then 65, 75, 85 and finally 95)
then walk the rest of the way back.
I finally decided on my strategy about 5 minutes before race start. Get into the top 8-12 off the gun then work my way up pending on the pace. Run about 4:00 min/km and watch heart rate and target losing a bit of time if I couldn't handle that pace.
When the gun went off I recognized three guys from the Sheep River Road Race last month. Two of them were in the 30-39 bracket and one had run 36 min low, the other had been in the group of three that beat me by 10 seconds plus the guy who finished about a minute behind me in the 40-49 bracket.
All three took off hard as well as two others and I sat myself in 6th. Pace felt ok but the Garmin showed it to be a bit fast so I settled down and got into a rhythm. Below is the graph of my heart rate data during the race.
So as you can see I managed to run heart rate pretty even through the race. This is not an overly easy half marathon. After the 2km mark you start to climb for the next 3-4 km. You also run about 1 km of trail and then have a number of small and steep rollers as you cross Fish Creek a few times and run over sections of rolling back in the provincial park. Mostly due to adrenaline and a bit because it was early in the race I was under 20 minutes for the first 5km, then through the off-road and roll-y section was slightly over 20 minutes for the second 5km. By this stage in the race the two leaders had dropped everyone else and there was a pack of 4 of us within 50 meters changing lead multiple times. We as a group probably changed positions no less than a dozen times in the race. Mostly as a result of who was stronger on uphills, downhills and flats. See the elevation graph below to get a sense of how much this course rolls.
By the time we got to the midway mark Joseph (guy in my age bracket) had put a bit of distance on myself and Sean and another guy who we had dropped had returned to our pack and started to chase down Joseph. Pace was feeling a bit fast and I started to fall off the back end and had to get my mind into it. Ran the third 5km a second faster than 20 minutes and started to believe I could get back in this. Just before hitting the 15 km mark I was back even with Sean, 50m back of Joseph and the other guy (Jody Klassen) had dropped all of us and was 150m ahead.
Picking up the intensity but not really the pace I started to close on Joesph and at the 17km mark on the large hill out of the valley made a push to catch him. You can see the effort in the heart rate graph as I climbed the hill and notice the pace during the hill climb - uphill and somewhat of a headwind. Pace graph below.
By the time I hit the top of the hill I was in 4th and out of range to catch Jody and Joseph was fading (found out later he had a stomach issue - my condolences) and Sean was hanging a few meters behind me. In the end I pushed hard the last 3 km for the finish and held position for my 4th overall and age cat win in 1:25:05.
I have to express appreciation for Sean's support during the race as we ran a lot of it together, as well as Joseph for pushing us so fast through the middle of the race. My 10 plus year PR is in part from them. Frances had a great race (though she said she went too hard early) and finished in 1:48:03 and won the 18 and under female category.