April 7, 2014

Another little half marathon jaunt

The half marathon is an awesome distance - long enough that you need endurance but short enough that you also need speed, plus for an ultra runner like me I feel I can jump into one and race a decent effort without too much of a taper, and also recover quick so get right back into training for my upcoming key races the next day.  But all that aside, the real reason that I signed up for the BMO April Fools Half marathon, that took place yesterday, was for a fun day trip with my most awesome running club, the Vancouver Falcons (VFAC).

Every Thursday evening I workout on the trails in Vancouver's Stanley Park with VFAC, it is my favourite workout of the week as we hammer speed intervals hard, push ourselves to the limit, generally get frozen cold and run until we feel like we'll vomit, and yet have the best time ever with lots of fun and lots of laughs.  I'm not sure how this magic happens, but it's a great club and great training.

The Blue Train (aka VFAC - named for our blue singlets) was in full force on the Sunshine Coast of BC yesterday.  I started out the race with new member Alex by my side, Roberto and Anne-Marie just off the front, and there was never a point in the race when I couldn't see one of my team mates up ahead - great motivation.

At the 1 mile mark with Alex
Photo: Rick Horne

The BMO April Fools Half marathon is net downhill, so known for being a pretty fast course but the 435m of descent is compensated for my 285m of climbing, so it's definitely a challenging route.  But it is also a route that plays to my strengths, I'm not the best at hammering out km after km at an even, fast pace on the flat, but if I can run just on feel, because of hills, I find this much easier mentally.  The hills also broke the course down nicely - net downhill for the first 10km, make it to 14km where a long climb begins until 17.5km, and from then to the finish at 21.1km push the pace on the downhills and flats.  There was never a moment to get bored, or to be concerned about losing a few seconds or so on a km, it was more a matter of focusing on the next hill, be it a climb or a descent.

All smiles at 5km
Photo: Rick Horne

I'm super happy that I seemed to pace myself well, I was 4th female at half way, and by around 14km moved into 2nd position which I maintained until the end.  There was no way I was going to catch team mate Kim Doerksen who ran a stellar 1:14:53 for a huge PB; oh, and she was wearing a tutu!  I did run a 46sec PB though for 1:17:42, which I'm super happy with as I really just ran on effort, with the occasional glance at my watch.

With so much downhill pounding on the tarmac I wore slightly heavier shoes than I might have done otherwise, and right now the Montrail Fluid Feel IIs are my absolute favourite go-to shoe for so many runs.

All in all, a fun day out, a solid workout and a stepping stone for longer distance races to come.

Team VFAC!
Photo: Sally Guillano

Top 3 ladies - Kim, Ellie, Anne-Marie.  All VFAC :)
Photo: Nic Browne
Happy trails,