I ran my second half marathon over the weekend – the Vancouver Historic Half in Stanley Park. I’ve mentioned it a few times before, but I have severely undertrained for this event. In the 5 weeks since my last half marathon, I’ve run a total of three times (13km, 19km, 10km). I was nervous, and hoping for anything under two hours.
Last month, my pace varied wildly from 5’04″ to 5’54″/km. It was my first half marathon race ever, and I had no idea what to expect. Since I didn’t think I’d be able to beat my previous time of 1:54:31, this time I decided to try to improve on maintaining a more consistent speed throughout the race, and working on the areas where I had the most problems (getting out of the corral fast enough, and when I died at the 17-18km mark).
Well during Sunday’s race, I was so worried about starting fast enough that I went out way too quickly (my first km was 5’05″). But after that I was able to maintain a steady pace, and only varied by 23 seconds (my slowest km was 5’28″). Much better than the 50 seconds from last month! I paced with another woman for the majority of the race. She was consistently running at the same speed I wanted to be at (just fast enough so that I was slightly uncomfortable), so I made sure not to be more than 5 meters away from her at all times. She probably knew I was pacing her the entire time, but there were a few times where I took the lead, so maybe we helped each other out. It also really helped during the last 4 kms. I was really struggling (clearly due to my lack of training)… and I think it’s safe to say that without her, I wouldn’t have finished with a time of 1:53:51 – which is 39 seconds FASTER than last month’s race! :)
If you’ve never been to Vancouver, the run took place in Stanley Park, which is a huge park located right downtown. The course was run around the seawall, meaning I had beautiful ocean views 90% of the time. :) The weather was perfect, even if it was a little chilly. I really enjoyed myself, and am looking forward to next year’s race! My only complaint is due to my own scheduling issues – I had a field hockey game to play just a few hours after the race. That was… a bit rough.
So, while I’m pleased overall, I know that I can do so much more. Talking with a friend (whose also a running coach) the day afterwards, he said that with the proper training, I could definitely run a sub 1:50 at my next big race (BMO Half Marathon, May 2014), and maybe even close in on 1:45, depending on how committed I am. That gives me hope, and I think that’s what I love about running… there’s always room for improvement, and your only real competition is yourself.