Thursday, March 8, 2012

Chilli Half Marathon Report ... Leadville training week 2

Chilli Half Marathon Race Report

So last week I mentioned that I would be running the Chilli Half Marathon on Sunday and that I planned to most likely not race it. This claim was met with some amount of scepticism from most of my running friends. In fact JD left a comment that he didnt believe I would not race the HM. Turns out the guy was right. No he does not have the power of Kreskin he just knows me too well.

That means this is an actual race report but lets just try and stick to the facts and not ramble on. Quite JD I know what you are thinking.

Fellow Longboater Tony picked Kim and I up early Sunday morning and in no time we were at the race site in Burlington. Weather was sunny but cold, not stupid cold, just cold with 20km winds. Had a coffee, did the thing you need to do before racing (I like to call it my own fibre challenge) and then Tony and I did a decent warm up.

We managed to get into the coral without much trouble and were in the right pace area for the race. It was about this time that I realized that I actually haven't run a Half Marathon in 2 years. Seriously how did that happen? I also realized that the race course had been radically changed from the last time I ran this race. Facing the opposite direction at the start line was a dead giveaway. I should have really looked at the course map before hand but what can you do.

Then we were off with 3000 other people. The plan was simple enough I would run the first few Kms at what I figured was my HM pace and see how I felt. If I felt good I would keep racing but if not I would drop down to a hard but slightly slower pace and keep it as a good training run.

Things went well right from the start. Once I got out on the course I didnt have to do too much weaving around people to find a bit of an open space to run in so I fell right into pace. I wanted to keep my HR just a little below my threshold and my pace between 4:30 and 4:41.

The first 3 km are out west along the lake and then a 180 and you head back the same way that you came from. I stayed right on pace and by 5km we where headed east with the wind behind us and not much of a factor. I felt good so decided that I would try and hold this pace and see how it went. I could see another Longboater about 100 meters ahead of me but wasnt sure who it was. I just tried to stay disciplined at this point and keep the pace.

I managed to catch up to fellow club member Christine eventually, it only took about 4km to close the gap on her. I took this as a good omen for me as it meant I was running a consistent pace so far and because Christine is around the same speed as I am although she is probably a little quicker to be honest.

Soon I am at the halfway point. We are still headed East along the Lakeshore and my Garmin tells me I am just slightly ahead of my PB. The course is an out and back and soon I begin to see runners on the way back in. I see a lot of Longboaters in the front area of the pack (6 guys go sub 1:20 on the day).

So far so good but its been a long time since I have run this hard for this long and by the time I hit 13km I am beginning to feel it. Nothing major, still on pace, but I know its going to get tougher from here on in.

Around 14km we make another 180 degree turn and head back west right into the wind. Oh goody the hardest part of the race is into the wind how thoughtful. It's not horrible but it is strong enough to play a little bit of a factor. My pace starts to drop slightly so I begin to push a little harder.

Its 16k into the race and I am now suffering the inevitable as I am wearing down. I have slowed some as the HR has begun to creep up with each new KM. I remember this now its what we like to call the painful part of the race where I attempt to hang onto pace. I do an okay job of pushing as hard as I can but am still slowing down slightly. At 18k I am just where I expected to be hanging on for dear life.

As I approach the 19km sign I see a bunch of the faster Longboaters. They are running their cool downs having already finished. Rob Campbell sees me and jumps in to help pace me (push me) to the finish. He keeps me working hard the whole way in when I am struggling the most. Thanks Rob! Although I didnt know it at the time Rob had won his age category and set a new club record all before he came by help scrap me up off the pavement when I was doing my best impression of road kill.

Finally after what feels like an eternity I make the final turn towards the finish. I can see the big arch of the finish so I start my finishing sprint quickly passing 4 people. I am almost there, oh crap. I realize that my oxygen deprived brain had me looking at the wrong archway and after sprinting like a madman I still have another couple hundred meters to go. Wow way to go dummy. I try to keep up the pace as best I can but the next 30 or 40 seconds are the most painful of the race. Only one of the people I passed catches me so that ends up being okay.

I am finished and I am done as well. I resist the growing urge to puke which if you have read any of my road race reports before you know that this is how I measure a successful hard effort. If I feel like I might puke at the end then I feel pretty sure that I have given it everything and left nothing on the course. I lean over the coral fencing just in case which attracts the attention of an EMS guy. He asks me if I am all right and I tell yeah I just dont want to puke on anyone which gets a good laugh. I think once he got close to me he saw that I was just a guy trying to figure out why there is no oxygen in downtown Burlington and not someone in actual trouble. Christine is right there as well having finished 14 seconds ahead of me.

After catching my breath I waited for Tony who finished his first HM in just over 1:45 and then grabbed my jacket to keep warm as I waited for Kim to come in. She ran really well and ended up PBing by more then 7 minutes. Way to go Kim!!! Then it was off to get some food and beer.

I am really happy with my race. It ends up being my second fastest HM and less then 30 seconds off my PB. It looks like my speed is almost back to where it was a few years ago. I was also happy with how I ran staying disciplined early and working really hard at the end. I dont think I could have run it much faster or better at this point in my training and with no taper.
Final finishing time 1:39:17.

Leadville Training Week 2
Training went well again for week 2. It was a recovery week so it was time to drop the mileage some. I got in my scheduled 80k (50 miles) and that included a day of hill sprint repeats and a tempo day. No long run but made up for it by running the Half Marathon hard.

This week its back to higher mileage with a 5k race on saturday thrown in just for fun. It ends at a pub ..... sweet. Sorry JD but it looks like I will be drinking even more beer without you.


  1. Congrats on a great race. A confidence booster I'm sure....good luck with the rest of your training.

  2. That's fantastic that you ran such a strong race when you've been training so much for distance rather than speed. Not that you aren't screamingly faster than me...but who isn't. :)

  3. Nice run, especially while training so intensely. But why is it called the Chilly Half? Did they give you spicy food after?

  4. great job...sometimes our best races are the ones we don't plan for..

  5. Funny that you use the word eternity in a half marathon! Peace E

  6. Great race! I saw you in line for the porta potties, but didn't say Hi. Have fun in the 5k race.

  7. great job. nice pic of the samplers...

  8. Enjoyed your race report as always--congrats on the strong race.

  9. Hi,

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    Thanks and have a great day!

    1. Hi Emily,
      Send me your email address and website and I will email you.

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