Alright, it’s been about 2 hours since I crossed the finish line on this one and I have some mixed emotions.
I’m just going to say it: I was aiming to finally go sub-2 hours on a half marathon, but finished in 2:05 instead (unofficial time because I forgot my timing chip at home. Good ol’ Garmin watch has me at this and I’m sticking to it). On the one hand, it sucks, but on the other, I had a great time doing this race.
To be honest, up until a month ago, I had kind of forgotten that SeaWheeze was coming up. I was so focused on what was supposed to be my first marathon in October (but now I’ll be travelling during that time instead) that I was quite relaxed with my pacing during my training runs, keeping it at a cool 6:00-6:15 per kilometre. I had planned to use SeaWheeze as a training run and not race it. But when my travel plans firmed up and it was certain that I couldn’t do my marathon this year, I got it in my head to try for a sub-2 time.
I thought it’d be easy to jump down to a 5:30 pace for the race and achieve my goal, but it was not to be. Here are the lessons I learned:
– DON’T FORGET YOUR TIMING CHIP. What my official time would be kept plaguing me in the back of my head and in the end I had to go off of my sports watch. Maybe I finished earlier than I thought…I’ll never know now.
– Pace yourself well. Because I didn’t have my chip, I was trying to follow a friend who was aiming for a 1:45 time. I ended up going too fast too early and used up most of my energy. Had I been just a tad more conservative in the beginning and picked up speed in the middle and sustained it, I probably would’ve hit my goal. Instead I was gassed by 15km.
– Have a device that tracks your pace and keep your eye on it. I tried to follow the 2:00 pace beaver around 5km and kept up for awhile. But when we hit the long downhill on Burrard St Bridge, I ended up going faster and lost the beaver. This would’ve been great if I had paid more attention to the pace I was going at afterwards. I had been so reliant on finding the beaver that I never figure out the right pace to maintain. I’d just ebb and flow from too fast to too slow. And when the beaver finally caught up, my legs felt like lead.
– Match your training runs closely to what you hope to achieve at your race. As mentioned, I had been training at a slower speed and never really picked it up for the goal I had set for SeaWheeze. I also trained at 10-1 and decided it would be a good idea to never take breaks during the actual race. This ended up with me being forced to take several long walking breaks from 15-20km because my body was slowing down.
– High fives provide major power boosts. I don’t know why, but when I stick my hand out at runners on the other side of the loop and they high five me and I get about 5-7 of those in a row, I go faster and the struggle stops being real for a few seconds. It really helps – try it next time!!
In the end, I just made a few bad calls with this race. They’re easily fixable for my next one (haven’t decided which one to do yet) so I hope to achieve sub-2 there. The nice thing about having to stop racing in the middle of this half marathon is that I was able to enjoy it more than I had been instead of pushing myself past the point of exhaustion. I also didn’t end up injuring myself, which was important. I’m proud of myself for recognizing when my body had had enough and for still running (albeit very slowly) through the pain. Oh SeaWheeze 2014, you have taught me much more than you know.
Congratulations to everyone that did this half marathon! And thank you to the amazing organizers and awesome volunteers. Now, to digest my 2nd brunch (thanks for the awesome Runner’s Brunch, Bearfoot Bistro!) and celebratory mimosa from Yolks!