This post is a race report more about how I did on the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Services Half Marathon than about the race itself. For my report on the race see here.
So some previous milestone race times for half marathons this year:
2:20:34 – Disney World Half Marathon – Jan 12th, 2013
1:56:16 – WPS Half – May 5th, 2013
1:47:14 – WFPS Half – Oct 19th, 2013 – my 5th half marathon this year (also have done 2 full marathons this year)
As an aside I just realized I think I just qualified for Half Fanatics Neptune level with 3 half races from Sept 2nd til Oct 19th – I have to go double check that…
5.5 months for a 9:02 improvement on my half marathon time between WPS Half and WFPS Half. The Disney World Half finish time doesn’t really give a good indication of where I was physically because of all the delays, etc ran into in the first half of that race – maybe 2:10 is where I should have ended up on that one?
I was quite happy with myself when I hit under 2 hours in May on the WPS half marathon as it represented that I was back in the range of where I used to average when I was younger and in better shape. It meant that I turned a corner and was back in a better place health wise and I had a new good base to start moving forward.
I trained hard through the summer and even though I said I wanted to hit my personal best, I’m not entirely sure I thought it was possible. But then I hit 1:49:54 for the Cash Store Run for Diabetes Research half marathon on September 2nd and I realized it actually was possible and I started training even harder.
Hitting 1:47:50 for the Fort Garry Rotary Half Marathon on September 22nd validated that yes indeed it was possible to catch my elusive 1:46:11 from 2002.
Unfortunately I think that even though I trained hard a couple things bit me during the training period that made race day a toss up when it didn’t need to be:
- I didn’t get as much weight to come off as I wanted – I wanted to drop at least 4-5 pounds from the last race to this one and I didn’t manage that (only about 1.5 pounds were lost in the end). It looks like I can attribute not losing the weight to the week and a half I was doing double runs (morning and night). I was so tired and wasn’t able to adapt my sleep cycle quickly enough and compensated for the lack of sleep with carbs, bad, bad carbs.
- I didn’t do enough speed work or didn’t push hard enough on the speed days – again this can at least partially be blamed on the double run days – I was too tired to push as hard as I should have been able to during the training sessions.
So that meant I went into the race knowing it was going to be close and it was going to be about technique and drive and any glitch could cause me to miss my goal time. I made myself a realistic pacing chart that I thought I could run that would also give me a bit of buffer but I still knew that it was going to be close. That definitely played a factor in my head going into the race and in the first few miles of the run.
So come race day I was nervous – probably more nervous than I have been at a race in quite some time – but I knew I had to rein in that nervousness so I didn’t go too hard at the start and lose it at the end. To fight that I decided to follow the 1:45 pace bunny hoping to use their experience to keep my energy in check. But there was a bit of glitch there – I figured I would run each of the 3 miles at a 8:10 pace or so then speed up to the 8:00 pace I wanted to do the rest of the race – the pace bunny did the first mile in 8:35 – so I was already 25 seconds off pace in the first mile! Crap! I should have known better – I should have run my own race right from the start. Not upset with the pacer here – more upset with myself – I knew I should have done my own thing and I second guessed myself and that is really what cost me in the end.
I think the pace bunny then realized that he had gone too slow and heavily picked up the pace to get back on track – I did the second mile in 07:45 and he had already almost lost me. This meant I was back on track after 2 miles but the nervous energy I had been hoping to hold in reserve for later was burnt up. And the 3rd mile which I had intended to go slowly on as well was now bumped up to the average pace I intended to start running after that mile was run – so I had to move up to a faster run earlier than I had planned. At the end of 3 miles I was on track but had burnt up some of my reserves I was trying to hold onto plus now had to fight the mental game earlier than I intended.
I held my pace pretty strong and was running my plan well and was on track until about mile 8 or 9. It had started a light rain and then a rain / snow mix about the halfway point of the race which lasted about a mile and a half. That started to soak in and I was starting to feel a bit of a chill and I saw miles 9 and 10 start to slip – not bad but 5-8 seconds per mile I couldn’t afford.
Mentally I think I started to implode during mile 11 – it was about 25 seconds off pace – at this point I knew I wasn’t hitting my PR without being able to almost sprint the last couple miles – and with the cold and the energy reserves already spent that wasn’t going to happen.
It would have been pretty easy to give up at this point and just settle back into a slower speed but I surprised myself and was able to start to push hard again. The last 2 miles were a touch better than I had planned but nowhere close to what I would have needed to make up the lost time.
In the end it was still an extremely respectable time and was better than my last race so the process of improvement is continuing. I made some mistakes in the training period that cost me and had a few glitches during the race that contributed to the miss but over all I am pleased with myself. I was able to get myself back on track and follow a plan during the run and I was able to push through a period where I wanted to shut down to push hard on the last 2 miles of the race.
I see lots of positives from my performance on the race – and I think that is why I am not feeling massively disappointed with missing my PR – I can see that I am still getting better and that record will fall – I just haven’t earned it quite yet.