Scotiabank Pacing Report

on Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 9:34 PM

Did the Scotiabank waterfront half on Sunday as the 1:45 pacer. Finished 13 sec fast.  Happy with it.

Preliminary stuff for future reference. Woke up at 5am and consumed 3/4 of a bagel and some water. Left home at about 5:50 and was in the Eaton's Centre parking lot off of Shuter by 6:20. Race started at 7:30am. I think this was about perfect for prepping to race.  Allowed ample time to use the facilities, have a quick warm-up jog and get into the corrals by 7:20 or so.

I normally pace using a garmin.  Having looked at enough garmin maps of last years Scotiabank races, I was aware that garmin data was going to be useless for the first few and last few km of the race.  You're either running down the heart of Toronto's financial district with tall skyscrappers or under the Gardiner expressway which is an elevated highway across the waterfront. Either way not very good for getting satellite locks.  With my tendency to start races too fast and not wanting to do this here, I decided to use my Polar foot pod to assist for these portions of the race.  As it would turn out, the data was a bit flakey. I sometimes run into problems when running under hydro lines and I think the street car overhead cables had a similar effect. 

We ended up getting some nice swag from Asics who were sponsoring the pacers.  We got shoes, socks, shorts, the ever fashionable hat with bunny ears and a nice looking pacing t-shirt.

Front and Back

The thing is that this was way too small.  This was a medium size and was too tight on me.  For about 5 minutes, I was actually thinking of wearing this as it's not often that one gets to wear too tight lycra and say that you were forced to do it by someone else (apologies to lycra wearing cyclists, but I think you'll agree with me that there are some who shouldn't be wearing them).  However, i went for a quick 30s run outside with it on (after dark so no one would see me) and i could feel the seams rubbing up against my skin.  With the possibility of rain and the old adage of don't do anything new on race day, the thought of 21km of friction didn't appeal to me.  I ended up wearing the official race shirt (which was unbranded).

Move into the corral at 7:20 or so which wasn't a lot of time.  I had wanted to be in there by at least 7:15, but the entrance to the corrals was really crowded.  I waited for about 5 minutes in line to get into the corrals, taking the time to set up my garmin, but when the line didin't budge that much, i ended up squeezing through.

Got into the corral and answered questions about the pacing which required alternating between 10 minutes of running and 1 minute of walking.  Got asked a lot about 1:45 continuous pacer which wasn't being offered.  I directed these people to the 3:30 full marathon pacer who was running continuously.

Race starts and i start out at a nice comfortable effort.  Hit the first two km at 4:53 and 4:49 when they should have been at a bout 4:45.  Then started the one minute walk break and wasn't that far off by the time 3km came around so i figured the slightly slower run pace could be made up for during a slightly faster walk phase.  As it would turn out, most of pure km split times (that didn't include a walk break) were done at about 4:50 pace and this turned out to work quite well.

So during the first walk break, I surveyed the crowd and  had picked up about 25 people.  When the walk restarted, as i had feared, my HR spiked.  I just put it out of my mind and ran the next 10 minutes fine and then when i took my second walk break, the HR dropped back down and stayed that way for the rest of the race.

The rest of the race was pretty straight forward. Got a fairly solid garmin lock at about 4km and relied on it for pacing up until about 18 or 19km, when the garmin started losing signal. By this point, I think the muscle memory had sort of set in and i could seem to maintain this pace till the end without relying on technolgy.  Kinda funny during the walk break, i only had about 5 people left.  Some had dropped off and some had taken off to finish faster, but i mentioned to the remaining few that there was only 6 minutes of running left after the walk break.  One lady then asks me how much further there is to go and i respond that slightly less than 2 km and she then takes off.  She told me after the race that she had thought the half was actually 26 km long and wasn't sure she was going to make it, but when told that it was only 21, she felt relieved and was able to finish strong.  I guess it's all about mindset.  If you think you can, you will.  The last km is sorta cruel.  They moved the start/finish line further north last year and though the course was once labelled as being pancake flat, the last km is now a steady incline.  My HR basically rose during this last km, as i was trying to maintain a steady pace as i only had about 15 seconds banked at this point.

One thing that I kinda had a question with is running the tangents. It's easy enough to do when running alone, but i was very reluctant to run tangents when I had a large group following me as I had feared that the group would create chaos while cutting through a bunch of other runners.  I ended up sticking to the right side of the road meaning that i probably ended up running slightly more than I should have, which means that the people who were running with me were probably running slightly longer than they should have.  this could easily have resulted in a loss of 5 sec/km on some of the curvier parts of the course. 

Ended up finishing 13 seconds ahead of pace.  I ended up carrying the big pacing sign with me for the entire race.  Though kinda big and bulky, it was really light.  A problem I had with it was the handle part was made of a thin plastic tube that seemed fairly rigid, but when the wind would blow, the tube would bend.  Should have probably reinforced it with a piece of wood or something.  .Here's a pic after the finish that i really like.  I'm thinking I might actually buy this.

Does it look like i'm wearing a running skirt?

Had meant to do another 4 miles after, but I just didn't feel like it.Went out to check out my new office building which was at the 300m to go sign.  I had actually hoped to park there on race morning, but they closed off the side streets that led into the parking lot so no dice.

Weather was very humid as it had rained all night.  I didn't find it too bad, but a lot of people were complaining about it after the race.  Had lots of fun.  Would happily pace a half again and hopefully will be able to do it next year also. 


EndorphinBuzz said...

Good job on the pacing even if you had some troubles with the technology.

Runshorts said...

Great job at pacing! I'm always impressed when pacers carry the sign the entire distance - is that required or optional? My poor arms get tired blow-drying my hair, so no way I could do it.

My Garmin actually worked quite well Sunday (and that think almost never works properly), although it took about 5 minutes to lock on to a signal at the starting line. By about 10K it was .5K ahead of the actual distance, an error maintained through the end, and consequently the average pace was reading faster ... but otherwise it worked quite well despite the buildings and concrete tunnels. I was rather surprised.

jen said...

Awesome pace job as always! I should fly you out here as my own personal pacer. You always nail it! Well done and good luck with your continued training.

Arcane said...

Thanks all!

Robin said...

That's great!!