Saturday, September 20, 2008

Land End Half Marathon

September 14, 2008

Racing this half was one of those last minute decisions. I had actually thought that this race was the weekend before as that was when it was last year and since I was just returning from vacation, I expected to give it a miss. When I finally did decide race it, I couldn’t decide on whether to do the half or the accompanying 10k. Unlike the hilly half course, the 10k is relatively flat which allowed me to break 35 min last year when I ran it. I hadn’t completed a road half since last fall however so that did add some incentive to give it a try. Another ego driven reason to attempt the half was that I wasn’t sure I was currently capable of beating my 10k time even on the flat course. By doing the half I could justify a slower than personal best by blaming the challenging terrain. If I did the 10k, I would have no excuse. Ultimately, I didn’t actually decide until the morning of the race that I would go for the half.

My girlfriend, Sonja, and I got up at 7am and got on the road. We picked up to fellow Prairie Inn Harriers' members, Julie and Charlene and headed out to North Saanich. Sonja would run the 10k, while Julie and Charlene were also doing the half. Once there, I quickly signed up for the race and got into my race gear. The weather was sunny and was expected to get fairly warm, although I hoped not too hot. I always enjoy going to these races, as there was always a good number of fellow racers to socialize with. It is a guarantee that at least a few other Harriers members will be there in addition to other individuals that I have come to know from the racing circuit. I was told that several very fast runners where going to compete in the 10k (David Jackson, Scott Simpson), but I didn’t know what the half field was like until the race started. At the start line, I saw fellow Harrier, Nick Best, whom I knew would run a fast race. I also heard a runner I hadn’t seen before (Ian Druce), say that I he wanted to run a 1:12. At that point, I knew who would win the race.

The start came soon enough, and as I had predicted, the frontrunners took off at a fast pace. I had decided to try to not go out too fast as the first few kms are slightly downhill. Despite this, the first km went by in 3:14 well ahead of my goal pace of 3:39 (to equal my PB of just under 1:17). At this point, I decided to throttle down a bit and settled comfortably into 5th place behind Ian, Nick, Phil Nicholls, and Cheryl Murphy. I was determined to run my own race at least for the first half. The first few kms went by quickly all under my goal pace, but I was not too worried since they were downhill. The hills start around 4.5km and there my times started to slow, but I kept myself under control and purposely did not push too hard as to not wear myself out for later. The runners in front of me were slowly pulling away, but I was not worried at this point. The steepest climb occurs at km 9 where I recorded my slowest km of 3:57. After that, things leveled out for a while. At about 13km, I assessed my fatigue level. I was working hard, but within myself and still felt pretty strong. Phil and Cheryl had at least a 30s gap on me at this point and I decided that this was the time for me to see if I could close that gap. I picked up my pace and saw a km pass in 3:26. After about 2km I had closed the gap and managed pull in behind them. I tucked in and gave myself a little breather for a few minutes before I took the lead and tried to pull a little ahead. I think my appearance was a bit of a surprise to them, since I heard Phil say, “Where did he come from?” as I took the lead. Passing people always gives a little adrenaline boost so I used that to help me gain a small lead. However, with about 5k to go on a downhill section (which has never been my strength on a road race) they picked up the pace and caught me again. We proceeded to swap the lead for another km or so until the slight uphill grade where I was able to pull a little ahead. With 4km to go, I still thought I might be able to catch Nick, who was in second place. He had gone out hard and I thought that he was probably hurting at that point. I increased my turnover, but ultimately was not able to speed up all that much. Also, I couldn’t see how far he was ahead as runners from the 10k and early start half were obscuring my view. After a km, I realized that I would have to settle for third and concentrated on keeping a decent pace and not getting caught. The last few kms are always tough, but I struggled through at a reasonable pace, crossing the finish in 1:17:16, 18s behind my PB from the RVM Half last fall. I would have liked to do a little better and set a PB on this more difficult course, but I’m rarely totally satisfied with my races – I always want to do better. Final results can be found here: 10k, half. On to my next race, the Cumberland Mind Over Mountain Adventure Race on Sept 27th.


Brad Cunningham said...

Nice race Shane. I always found that my RVM half time was at least a minute faster than my Land's End time, so I say you count it as a PB.

Welcome to the blogosphere!

Jeff Hunt said...

You always seem to run a smart, consistent race. Good job, and best of luck with your fall season.

Samr said...

Great to see this Shane. Good job both on your race and your summary. I'll enjoy following your races. This is my first blog reply ever.

The Jackal said...

Hello Shane,you will find this blogspot very user friendly, we all do...
More pic's maps and movies,maybe check out better colours from the wide selection of templates.

Molly, the BeanQueen said...

No longer being a running person, I can still appreciate your hard work Shane. & I can't believe your "old auntie" had a blog before you ddid!! Mine, of course, is not running, but you might like to see it.


Shaner said...

Thanks for the feedback everyone and the suggestions Jackal. I do plan to add some additional content and spice it up some soon.


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