Well, some day I will actually run a decent half-marathon. My best marathon time is 3:56, so you’d think I’d be able to run a half in 1:55 or less. But something always seems to go wrong for me – injury or illness. Well, this time, running the Comox Valley Half-Marathon, the problem was respiratory stuff: a cold I came down with over five weeks ago, which turned into bronchitis.
So of course that affected my training – although I did manage to continue training at some level through it all (experimenting with HIIT, high-intensity interval training, which meant very short but high-intensity workouts on the exercise bike rather than doing much running). I also could do weights.
So basically I entered the race with my legs feeling great and strong, but my cardio fairly poor, and my lungs still not healed. I went there with my friend Gail – we got a hotel and had a nice Thai dinner the night before, and were very appreciative of the generous 11am race start time. So at least we were having fun!
Gail was hoping to run under 2 hours, and I honestly didn’t have any idea of what time I would take. I told Gail I could be anywhere between 2 hours and 2:15 – possibly even more. The whole route is an out-and-back: a gentle uphill out and downhill back. I figured I would go as fast as I could conservatively sustain going out – and if I was still up to running, I would aim for a negative split coming back.
Highlights on the way out were seeing a bunch of crazy people on the side of the road, wearing weird wigs and blowing kazoos – and realizing that they were Ryan and Andrea! (They used to live here in Port Alberni). And also the huge dead tree on the side of the road with an eagles’ nest and the two eagles watching over us.
I made it to the turnaround in 1:01.45. I realized it would be tight to make 2 hours, but it wasn’t impossible – I’d have to make up 3 and a half minutes on the way back – so I went for it.
I calculated my time at every kilometre marker, and was running around a 5:30 kilometre. But I needed to do around 5:20 to make my 2 hours. Would I have enough left in me to sprint in the final 2 km?
By the 19k mark, I realized I wasn’t going to make it. I let off the pace, and finished in around 2:01:20 (my official race time was 2:01:39 – they’re not showing the chip times for some reason, though). Oh well, it still is a half-marathon Personal Best for me (as pathetic as that is! leaving me lots of room for improvement). And I did achieve a pretty good negative split – under an hour on the return. (Gail achieved her goal too, finishing in 1:58!).
Honestly, I am pretty happy with running that time considering the health problems I have had. Some day I will run faster… Big thanks to Ryan and Andrea for hanging out on the course for my return, so Ryan could get this great photo of me (smiling even)!