Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Forest City Road Races - Half Marathon

The last time I did a standalone half marathon was in August 2012 (race report here) back in Perth. I don't usually sign up for run races simply because I try to limit my spending on race entry fees and typically I could do a 21km run on my own in training. But as the triathlon racing season here starts pretty late - around late May/early June, I thought why not give it go. At least, I have something to train for over the long winter months. It would be awesome to run a new personal best, last clocked in July 2011 (race report here) in Perth as well, but given a different course and not being able to run outdoors much in winter, I was just going to give my best and see how the day unfolds.

The day before the race... weather wasn't very good. It was gloomy and really windy. Even when we went to collect my race pack at Victoria Park, we were running for shelter from the strong winds and impending rain. We had lunch at Angelo's and it was our first time there. We had a pasta to share and ordered a huge serving of breakfast waffles with gelato. We had a coupon that gave a complimentary scoop of gelato with my pasta, so two scoops of ice cream - makes a very indulgent lunch! I think we just found our new favourite place! For dinner, Li-Ann cooked pasta too, so you can say, I was well carbed up for the race!
Race morning came. I had a good night's sleep and was up at 5.45am. Went through the usual routine - put on contact lenses, breakfast, some stretching and mandatory toilet sit-down hahaha. The weather changed for the better... much better. It was near perfect actually, a bit cold... at 3 degrees Celcius but sunny skies and light winds. We were worried of the road closures and not being able to find a parking spot, but there were no problems at all and we arrived at Victoria Park at 7.15am. I guess it was due to the different start times for the half marathon (8am), 10km (10am) and 5km (8.30am). And the roads were only partially closed.
We met up with Tom - London Tri Club president and helped him set up the tent. I was able to leave my bag there rather than with the masses at the event bag tent. Li-Ann was a volunteer race marshal that morning. Her station was about 30 minute walk from the race start it felt a bit odd that our roles were somewhat reversed, and she was leaving to get ready earlier than I was. I was still feeling full from breakfast so I didn't eat the energy bar I brought along. I chatted a bit more with Tom and waited until about 15 minutes before the race start before I did some warm up jogs.
One last visit to the portaloo and it was time to go. Luckily I checked the venue map just before, otherwise I wouldn't have known where I would need to go for the start as the different events started in different sides of the park and Victoria Park is not a small park either. I strategically positioned myself near the front women. I should have started my Garmin signal earlier, had a bit of a panic attack when the Canadian national anthem was almost finishing and my watch was still searching for it's signal! But it activated just in the nick of time and off we went!

With a turnout of about 500 runners for the half marathon, it is a bit smaller than the running events I used to do in Perth. I started off pretty quickly and was surprised that there were only a group of 10+ runners with me and the gap was getting bigger - the faster ones are speeding ahead, but I seem to be running away from the group behind too. The early pace was probably a bit too quick - 3:50 per km I did! I was only able to hold on to the top women for a while but after that, they started pulling away. A couple more guys overtook me as I settled into a more steady pace of about 4:15 per km.
The course goes through Western University and has some gentle rollers with a couple of short, steep climbs as we come out of Western at the 8 to 9km mark. I managed to overtake a person in front after the first climb. Shortly after, I met up with Li-Ann marshalling at the 10km mark. She commented that I looked a bit warm in my long compression top and bottoms. She was probably right. Usually I can run through a half marathon without having a drink but I decided take one at the next station.
I found that that each km marker was about 100-200m after each time my watch beeps. I had to keep that in mind to forecast my finishing time. We ran through Western again after the 15km mark. I was able to overtake a couple more guys. That was good for morale and I found myself going a bit quicker after. Although a PB was no more on the cards, I was close to running a sub 1:29 if I could maintain the pace. But the final km was a steady climb which put me back another 10 seconds. And as I got back to Victoria Park, my watch beeped for the final 21km and it seemed like I had another 3 corners of the park to run around.
I finally crossed the line in 1:29:17, my 3rd best half marathon time. I was 14th overall and surprisingly got myself 2nd place in my Male 30-34 age group. Looking at the results, the 13th person (also 3rd place overall female, gosh these girls are fast!) was a good 3.5 minutes ahead and the 1st person in my age group was 10 minute ahead, so even clocking a PB would not have changed my position at all. Full results here.

Here are my km splits:

1km - 3:50
2km - 4:01
3km - 4:16
4km - 4:16
5km - 4:13
6km - 4:14
7km - 4:06
8km - 4:09
9km - 4:21
10km - 4:15
11km - 4:16
12km - 4:14
13km - 4:16
14km - 4:13
15km - 4:11
16km - 4:12
17km - 4:11
18km - 4:12
19km - 4:17
20km - 4:19
21km - 4:10
21.3km (based on my Garmin) - 1:10 

I wasn't expecting a prize for my 2nd in age group placing, but I heard an announcement to that up to top 3 in age group prizes were given at the registration tent. So I went to check and got myself a small prize of $10 gift card at Runners' Choice store. Hey, better than nothing, right?
Overall, I'm pleased with the result. Would have preferred to have ran a bit quicker but without any specific speed training, I can't complain. It's pretty good way to start the racing season! My training program under Coach Sheri Fraser (or as she calls it herself, the Sheri Torture!) started this week and I look forward to what this season brings.

Race pictures courtesy of Zoomphoto.ca


M.Faiz said...

Great report... and excellent time!!! You're super fast...kudos!!!

Kevin Siah said...

Hey Faiz! Thanks!

CheapRunnerMike said...

Nice race Kevin and nice recap as well. It sure did warm up as we got going, I would have melted in long compression gear!
I'm amazed by those runners that spit out sub-4 K's through an entire half marathon, they are something else...and those are some fast women too, wow!

drtamil said...

Wah! Lajunya!

Kevin Siah said...

Thanks Mike! Yes I was regretting it a bit at about the 15km mark but luckily there wasn't long more to go. Yes, those guys (and gals) are out of this world!

DrTamil - tq bos! Cuaca baik mah.

Louis Vuitton said...

Wow! Nice and very good neg splits there. Looking real strong too. Well done. A true inspiration. Now, that's priceless! Thanks Kevin.

Kevin Siah said...

Thank you!