Sunday, June 24, 2007

Scotiabank Vancouver Half-marathon Race Report 2007

Scotiabank half-marathon, Vancouver, BC, 7:00 am
Temperature: 50F, Heavy rain & Light thunderstorm
Humidity: 94%

Executive Summary:

All signs pre-race indicated that this run would be a wash - I had not run at faster than 8:20 pace for over two months, I had got in just one 8 miler in the last two weeks, and I had not run for a week! It did end up being a wash but not because of the run. I've never run in heavier rain in my life! The run wasn't that bad. I was on PR pace for most of the race before dying at the end. This ended up being my second fastest half time.

This race is a keeper and Vancouver is a great city. I'll be back next year again! The Vancouver marathon is on my list too now.


The Scotiabank half was advertised was advertised as being "the most scenic half-marathon you'll ever run". They weren't exaggerating - it indeed was the most scenic half I've ever run. The course seemed fast - a net elevation loss. I was optimistic about a PR ...

Unfortunately, I have been going through a string of injuries. These started five weeks before the Eugene marathon. Initially, my injuries were running related. Lately, my injuries can only be described as freakish/unlucky. I lost 8 days after twisting my ankle running on grass. I twisted the same ankle twice after that. Two weeks before the half on a rafting trip, while wearing booties with no arch support, I inflamed by right heal. I also bruising my ankle after hitting a rock. The ankle remained swollen for days. The last straw was that at the PT's office - the heat pads burnt and bruised my heel ...

On Friday, I walked all day exploring Vancouver. By the evening the soles of both my feet were killing me... Luckily, I remembered the Dr. Scholl's TV ad about his massaging insoles - "Are you gellin' gellin'?" I found a Canadian pharmacy and got the insoles for my walking shoes. The amazing thing is that by the end of Saturday all my foot and heel issues were gone!

I had very low expectations for the race. Therefore, I didn't bother staying off my feet on Saturday. I even had Indian food for dinner in the evening - something I don't dare doing even before my long runs. It was even more foolhardy given the GI issues I dealt with in Eugene.

The race started in front of the UBC student center. This was a 10-15 minute drive from my hotel in downtown Vancouver. I was nervous that I would get lost. As I drove in the rain I hoped I would make it. The car radio was tuned to a weird techno mix of "Sweet child of mine". That was the strangest thing I ever heard... Just when I was certain I was lost I saw a bunch of cars. At 6:15am they had to be runners heading to the race as well!

I had not run for a week so I decided to run a warm-up mile before the start. My pace was around the 9 min/mile mark. Hmmm... this was not exactly close to half marathon pace.

As I lined up I noticed that some folks weren't really standing where they should be. Generally, you can tell the folks who should be right in front, from the folks who shouldn't... I've noticed that the amount of stuff you have on is usually directly proportional to your pace. It's not unusual seeing faster dudes wearing singlets/having no shirt on and not wearing a fuel belt... There were a couple of Punjabi females lined up in front of me. I could bet a hundred bucks that they couldn't be faster than me :)


The race started at 7am sharp - no warning before hand just the sound of a horn.

4:22 (7:03, 168), 4:19 (6:58, 184), 4:12 (6:46, 189), 4:23 (7:04, 186), 4:29 (7:14, 189)

As expected the first couple of minutes was dodge obstacles time. I passed Punjabi female 1 & 2 in seconds. I heard someone complain - "There's a lot of elbowing going on up in the front". I thought - "That's what happens when you don't start where you're supposed to".

In the first mile a couple of Kenyans breezed by us. They must have been late to the start. Prize money is by gun time so being late for them could mean a missed pay day. I found out later that both the Kenyans (a male and female) ended up making up the gap and winning. The male even set a course record!

The first 6-7kms were an out-an-back on the UBC endowment lands. The out part was a gentle downhill with an inverse climb on the way back.

4:40 (7:31, 189), 8:57(6+7)(7:13, 186), 4:24(7:06, 185), 4:09 (6:42, 181)

I have grown up in metric land and even spent my undergrad years in Canada but I started running in the US. Therefore, the running section of my brain is not tuned to thinking in in kilometers. For most of the race I was converting distances from kilometers to miles in my head. I computed that a km was around .65 miles (now I know it's .62 miles :)). The 5k, 10k,.. km markers were great since I knew what they were in miles!

The course by the ocean beaches was truly beautiful. That was until it started raining. Once it started raining it was difficult to admire any scenery.

The 10th km was a steep decline - almost a drop of 300ft. This accounted for the net elevation drop of the course and then some. The rest of the course was mostly rolling.

4:23 (7:04, 187), 4:29 (7:14, 185), 4:31 (7:17, 188), 4:47(7:42, 187), 4:38 (7:28, 186)

The weather for the first half hour had been perfect. After that it started pouring! It it did not take too long for me to get drenched - that feeling of running with soaked shoes... I felt for the volunteers. It would not have been fun for them!

There were folks in front of restaurants sipping coffee and cheering us. I bet they were thinking - "Why would any sane person want to run in this?". I was thinking the same thing. I would not have minded exchanging places with them. I though about how it would feel like to get back to my car and sit on the heated seat...

4:33 (7:20, 186), 4:43 (7:36, 186), 4:45 (7:40 185), 4:58 (8:00, 184), 9:38 (7:17, 189)

The race finished in Stanley park/Second Beach. To get there we had to cross the Burrard bridge. This was a 100ft climb.

I had nothing lift for the climb -nada, zip, zero... I tired to move my legs but they did not move. My pace slowed down to the 8:30s. I wish I could blame the heavy rain or something else but that was not it... I just was not sufficiently prepared. It's just a reminder that I need to train for St. George else I'll be in for more of the same except that it'll be worse.

The good thing about the markers being in km was that it prevented me from focussing/obsessing on the distance. I remember getting to markers 18km, 19km etc. but it just was not the same thing mentally as getting to mile 11...

I was happy to get back to my car and away from the rain. I did explore Stanley park during my trip. It must be a runners paradise. Miles of scenic trails! Ironically, as soon as I got to my car the sun came out. I was not complaining - I'd rather have it rain during the race than when I am sight seeing! All in all I thoroughly enjoyed my four day Vancouver trip!

Avg HR: 184


Clock: 1:35:45
Chip: 1:35:28 @ 7:16 min/mile

OA: 247/3350
Male: 194/1466
AG: 31/165


Blogger Pure Virtual Function said...

How'd you run a half marathon! I thought you were hurt! =) Dang... you could limp a half faster than I can run. =) Good job.

6/28/2007 10:53 AM  

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