Race report: 2011 Fall Classic Half MarathonPosted: 21 November 2011
This year’s Fall Classic had much better conditions at the start line compared to last year. It was still cold: just below 0°C (32°F) at the start, but the roads were mainly clear of ice and snow. That allowed me to be in the mindset to break two hours. It’s smack dab in the middle of an acceptable 2:05, and a 1:55 had the run gods been smiling.
I have to say that this half marathon was a redemption race of sorts. After overtraining and missing out on the Vancouver Marathon earlier this year, I fought my way back and had a great 15-week training session to prepare for this race. I mostly ran four days a week, one of which was a faster-paced session, usually around a track. I almost got sidelined with some IT band issues closer to race day, but a couple of visits to my chiropractor had me fixed up well enough to line up at the start line.
It’s the same double-loop course as last year. I started near the back and settled at a nice, but challenging 5:40/km (9:07/mi) pace. I managed to speed up to about 5:35/km (9:00/mi) for most of the rest of the way. I could have challenged breaking my PR of 1:57 (especially considering I was around that pace at the halfway point), but my “break two hours” mindset pretty much stuck all the way through. When I knew with about 3 km left that I wasn’t going to beat 1:57, I eased up slightly, but managed to stay under 5:50/km (9:23/mi), and even then, I was still recording km splits around 5:35/km after km 20. Coincidentally (or not), my calf started to cramp near the end. There was a slight one at about km 18, but when I started feeling more of them after km 20, and especially in the last 100 m, that told me that I hadn’t fueled properly in the critical last quarter of the race.
My official chip time was 1:58:34. It’s essentially halfway between my PR and two hours, so I’ll definitely take it. I believe I can find that extra gear to get under not just 1:57, but even 1:55, which I’ve set as my next half-marathon target time. And my road to redemption isn’t yet complete. My next major goal race will be to try again for the Vancouver Marathon. I’m taking a week or so off, then I’ll get ready to spend 22 weeks to re-familiarize myself with the rigors of running really long distances.