Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Oakville Half Marathon Race Report

Up until Saturday, I was planning to run a long warm-up and aim for marathon race pace at the Oakville Half Marathon. And then my legs felt really fresh on Saturday. And I felt the itch to race after the Zoo Run 10K the day before. And I realized that I may actually have a good shot at a PR given how close I am at the 70.3 Relay the week before on a tough course in the middle of the day. And then my running/pacing buddy (Nicole) from Sporting Life 10K told me she was going for 1:40. And then it was a done deal! I didn't know if I could do it, but I thought I had a good shot at coming close.

Sunday morning 5 of us hit the road together at 5:45 for the drive to Oakville. We arrived about 45 minutes before the start and found free parking nice and close. Unfortunately we ended up dilly dallying at the car a little too long and ran out of time to warm-up after using the washrooms. Oops!

Next thing we knew it was time to line up. Check laces, turn on Garmin, fire up playlist. Ready, set, GO! (Sometimes it's kind of nice when you don't have a lot of time to mill about getting nervous!)

The course is a loop starting and finishing at the lake front park and running along various residential and commercial streets. Most importantly, it is mostly flat with just some gradual uphills in the first half and gradual down in the second half. It's not crowded at all, starts nice and early (7:40) and is an excellent race to shoot for a PR.

Nicole and I were a couple hundred metres behind the 1:40 pacer from the get-go and kept him in our sights, while I checked my Garmin every once for insurance. :) The pace felt fast, but I knew it was supposed to and I didn't let that get in my head. I usually hate dislike the first 5K of a half marathon and this was no exception, but I plugged along and zoned out to music. Nicole and I ran side-by-side, but we were silent. We had agreed before the race that this would not be a "talking race."

KM1-5:  4:37, 4:37, 4:36, 4:41, 4:41

We were pacing slightly faster than intended, but it felt "hard but manageable" so I decided to go with it. (Overall target was 4:45/KM). I had made the decision to push the limits a bit more than I usually would to see what I could do - hoping, of course, that I could maintain it. We eventually caught the 1:40 pacer and stuck with him for a while. He was clearly on target and it was nice not to worry about checking the pace for a little while.

KM6-10:  4:40, 4:39 (gel at 7), 4:45, 4:44, 4:38 (salt at 10)

Our pace crept a little faster and we gradually drafted ahead. Something must have given me a boost around KM 11 as illustrated in the splits below. I remember feeling good here - I was working hard, but happy to be half done and pretty confident.

KM11-15:  4:33, 4:35, 4:42, 4:42 (gel at 14), 4:46

The sun was high now and it started to get very warm. I was a soaking wet sweaty mess and started dumping water on my head to cool off. Nicole had drifted ahead around 13K and I had to let her go; I didn't have enough in the tank to pick it up. I kept her in my sights, which helped me focus on maintaining the pace as it got harder and harder to do so. I was by myself for this whole stretch and it was tough. I slowed noticeably and felt 1:40 slipping away, but refused to give up. I lost nearly 30 seconds in KM 16 to 20, which is extremely frustrating given my final time (stay tuned).

KM16-20:  4:52, 4:53, 4:52, 4:43, 4:50

The 1:40 pacer caught me again and I tailed him for the last couple kilometres before finally finding the will to push harder and pass him again. At this point I knew it was going to be close - VERY close - and I high-tailed around the final bend into the finishing chute.

KM21:  4:42 + (0.1 at 3:45/KM pace)

Chip Time: 1:40:06 (2:16 PR)
Average Pace: 4:44/KM (7:38/mi)
108/715 Overall
19/320 Females
5/33 F25-29

freaky leg muscles!!


Nicole said...

you prd + going to boston all within a few days of eachother! you must be on cloud nine sweets! your amazing!!!! KEEp IT UP! cant wait to hear your boston goals!!!

Robin said...

That's incredible. You did fantastic. Congratulatons!

geo said...

Wow, awesome race! I can't believe you could just get up and do that amazingly after doing a 10k race the day before. Don't worry about the eight seconds, that rounds down. :P

A Prelude To... said...

What an amazing race! You did such a great job!
I love the freaky leg muscles :-)

Being Robinson said...

killer time lady! that's amazing, all your hard working is paying off wonderfully. you get a SQUEEEEE!

Runners Fuel said...

Love the legs!! Great job!!

Anonymous said...

WHOA! Congrats, Marlene!! That is a huuuge PR, and clearly you've got the muscles to carry you faster ;)

Way to freakin' go, I'm amazed!

B.o.B. said...

well hot damn! WTG Marlene!

Heidi said...

OMG that's awesome Marlene!! Those measly, frustrating 6 seconds - GRRRR. But still, you were basically right on target. And you said "I thought I had a good shot at coming close". You don't get a whole lot closer than that.

Love the leg muscles in that shot - heehee.

Anonymous said...

Congrats!!! And i love the freaky leg monster pic -it's pretty hard core!

misszippy said...

Woohoo! Congrats on that stellar time! Love how you dug deep in the final Kms. You rock!

Corey said...

Hi! I am curious about you taking a salt tab, as you mentioned in the post. I have been plagued with calf cramp issues and experienced them again at my 70.3 this weekend. I want to experiment a little with salt and other things in my next marathon training, but would like to know more about your experience with using salt tabs consistently. What kind you use? Where you get them? If you have tried other things?

J said...

You speedy girl!! Congrats on the PR! Awesome job! This sure has been an awesome week for you! I was so surprised/happy to see this race PR on facebook!

Tricia said...

girl you are on fire!

The Jesse said...

congrats! way to go on your PR. you rock :)

Jen Feeny said...

Who's having the best year ever? MARLENE! Congrats girl!!!!!!

Jason said...

Seriously Jen said it the best so I'll go with that but leave you with:


MCM Mama said...

Sheesh, girl! At Philly you're gonna have time to take a nap before I finish LOL.


ajh said...

You are something else. Something else. Wow!

Lindsay said...

ok... weren't you just complaining about feeling a little, teeny bit of burnout?

mmm kay. that does not = running a half mar pr.

those darn 6 seconds. you'll get 'em next time! (and then some!)

Amy said...

Congratulations on the PR! You are so speedy, and getting speedier all the time!

Char said...

What you call freaky is what I aspire to. I love cut and sculpted legs that show all the hard yards that have been put into them.

Well done on the PR.

Caroline said...

wow amazing time!!!!

FREAKY??? what are you talking about?
amazing is more appropriate or
impressive or
great or

take it back! :)

Unknown said...

You're such a damn ROCKSTAR! Congrats!

Winks & Smiles,

Joanna said...

Congrats on a new PR! It's so easy to kick yourself after the fact, but it sounds like you pushed hard and did great! Love it!

Becka said...


Anonymous said...

congrats! that is awesome.

i am going to take this approach when running scotia. just push it and see what my body can do!

great job on a wonderful race!

Fran said...

Congrats on a great race.

You had me laughing out loud with your commment. I don't have a son (don't have kids at all). The trophys are won by my hub :)

kristen said...

Another great one Marlene! Well done. I love the look on your face in that secon to last race picture- spent!

Jill said...

Man, have GOT to be on could 9 right now. Very happy for you, congrats!! :)

Mel -Tall Mom on the Run said...

AMAZING!! You are inspiring me to reach for the Half PR I keep talking about but never train for. You are soooo strong, come here and pace me please..


Anonymous said...

Wow, wow, wow. Way to push. Man, you just get more and more impressive. Can't wait to see how you push your body next!

Richelle said...

What an incredible PR! Congratulations!