Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon 2011
If you were wondering what happened, the truth is that my training pretty well reflects my blogging of late. I’ve still been running before work and at the weekend, perhaps 2-3 times per week, as well as some strength training. However, all training in the first two weeks of this month was decimated by a heavy cold, or what may have been an allergy (for the first time). It seems as though a lot of people have been suffering from this.
But no speedwork, save for a single tempo run in May, and the Longest Day 5k nine days ago. I wasn’t expecting much for either race, but felt quietly confident about getting there in 17:30 for the 5k, which I did (less than a second under). The pain was not nearly as bad as last year, when I finished nearly 30s faster, and it’s kind of amazing how that worked out. Perhaps I subconsciously “settled” for 17:30 and managed to hit it almost dead-on, despite the lack of any recent workouts at that pace, and without checking my watch after 3km. Whereas last year I got as near to 100% effort as I’ve ever managed but missed the goal by less than 2s.
As today’s date approached, I felt not a little anxiety about this half marathon. It’s normal to feel a little apprehensive about the upcoming sufferfest, but this distance, at the high end of my range, is not exactly a walk in the park – especially as I’ve completed less than a handful of 90+min runs since my February injury. 80mins would have been the “face-saving” time, if I’m brutally honest, yet I couldn’t resist setting out at 3:40 per, heading for sub 77:30 finish! It felt comfortable for the first 8-10km or so, but as I set off down the long slope to Spanish Banks, my legs gradually turned to concrete, and things got a bit ugly after that. I had a stitch for some of it, and my old knee injury (weak adductors exposed by trashed quads is my understanding, possibly tight hammies too) became apparent around 15km and gradually slowed me down.
Mantras are supposedly a tool to further our aims and bring us closer to our goals. But today, a rather unhelpful yet true one came to mind and I couldn’t leave it behind. “You can’t fake a half”.
Though I don’t enjoy racing unfit so much, I’m glad to be gradually getting back to my former self and going in the right direction, and I’ll learn what I can from it. Okay, so school was a while ago, but I’m pretty sure I learned somewhere that three whole data points a solid trend does make (or something like that). Behold:
Here, I’ve used the WAVA age-grade to compare my performances in the Longest Day 5k and Scotiabank Half over the last three years. In 2009, I was similarly coming back from an injury, albeit a considerably longer down time and with almost zero history of speedwork. My first race(s) in over 12 months, save a warm-up 5k at the end of May that year. My understanding was that the long-term physiological changes in endurance degenerate less rapidly than those associated with speed, which seems to be contradicted by the relatively uniform fall-off in performance. It could be that I’m just naturally better-suited to shorter distances such as the 5k, or it could also well be that I don’t even have a tiny part of the data needed to make such an inference (too much has happened in the intervening time) and this was just a mickey-mouse exercise to make it look like I’ve been working on stuff when not blogging, eeek.
Not sure what I’ll race next, probably at least one 10k in the next month or so.