One last race to finish off the year: Yesterday I continued my plan of trying to capitalize on marathon-training fitness, and I ran the Fall Classic Half-Marathon at UBC. I have not done a lot of volume or long runs since the marathon, and nothing over 18K. However, I have done some strong key workouts and had a great result at Haney to Harrison two weeks ago, so I thought I would see what I had for a hard effort in the half-marathon.
My rough race plan was to try for about 41 minutes for each of the first 8K, and then try for under 26 minutes for the last 5.1K. The start was fast as I realized we were going slightly but steadily downhill. But what goes down must come back up--just slightly but enough to make a difference, especially on the second loop of this double-looped course. I did hit the 8K marker at almost exactly 41 minutes, and 16K at 1:22:12 so I knew I was on track, but I didn't have the kick in the last 5.1K I needed to keep up the hard effort, especially as we climbed ever so gradually. Still, I was able to pick it up a bit in the last kilometre or so, and finished at 1:49:30 on my watch (so about 27:18 for the last 5.1K). That was within seconds of my PB at the Scotiabank Half in June. I was anxious to see the official time to see whether I had pulled off a PB, but somehow the timing equipment failed and I had an official time of 1:48:09. That would be nice, but I know it isn't right-- several people seemed to have gotten messed up times.
I had been hoping for a minute or two faster, but I am still happy with this result. Considering how long it took me to break 1:50, I am happy that I could do it yesterday with a less-than-perfect race on a tougher course. It has become my new base-line time . A lot of people have mentioned the conditions-- colder than we are used to (about zero at the start), some icy patches-- but overall the conditions were not a huge factor for me. I did have one annoying shoelace-tie stop, but that alone wouldn't have slowed me too much (it was in the first 8K); it was the pace slow-down in the last 5K that hurt me the most, and that was nothing but fatigue (I think because of my lower training volume).
Overall it was a great way to end the year. I have nowhere to go but up from here. 2011, here I come. :)