Race report: 2010 BMO Vancouver Half MarathonPosted: 3 May 2010
For 2010, one of my running goals is to break 2:05 in a half marathon. To me, it was realistically attainable. My first test to see if I can get there was the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon. Having run the same course in 2008 and 2009, it’s familiar and yet still a challenge.
I applied essentially the same training program that I used in the leadup to last year’s Royal Victoria Marathon, but of course the long runs don’t go to astronomical lengths. For the most part, I stuck with it, and improved on the mileage from last year: 407.2 km (253 mi) run in 16 weeks. I think that was a contributing factor to my chip time: 2:07:23, a new PR for the half!
An analysis of my 5k split times indeed shows great improvement over last year; the biggest difference was in the third segment that includes the hill to Prospect Point. The hill training worked: I powered up that incline; it just felt so good to pass so many people walking or shuffling.
Unfortunately, I might have paid for that at the end of the hill, as my left knee starting acting up on the downhill. I carried on regardless, finally averaging sub-6:00/km over the last 6.1 km.
What was different from the last two years was the weather. It started to drizzle just before the start, and it never really stopped. It only seemed tolerable because it wasn’t a downpour, but rather just showers of varying degrees of intensity. Over the several years I’ve been running, I’ve learned to accept that running in the rain is essentially a fact of life in Vancouver, and it never did bother me as I went through the course.
As for the race organization, I think it’s quite well organized race: great volunteers, an efficient expo experience (ie. quick to retrieve the bib and chip), and even a step toward sustainability by going bottled water-free and using biodegradable cups at water stations. I did find an issue with crowd control in the finish-line zone. After you get your medal and your blanket, the only path out suddenly narrows, resulting in a bottleneck. I can understand the need to keep spectators out, but for the participants, who are cold and wet from their run, the need to get them dry and warm should take some priority.
For next year, I’m seriously considering running the full marathon, which will be the 40th version in 2011. It gives me that chance to run in my hometown, and it would be great experience. For now, I still have to meet my 2:05 goal for the half, and I think I have a great chance to do it before the end of the year.