Scotiabank Waterfront Half Recap 2016

on Saturday, October 22, 2016 at 8:49 PM

Paced the 1:45 half at Scotiabank again this year.  With no marathon training to rely on, I needed to maintain some level of fitness over the summer, which totally went into the crapper during the film festival.  Normally when I have a pacing gig, I like to do an LT workout  at a pace where the equivalent race time says I should be able to do an equivalent time at the pacing distance.  So about 3 weeks ago, I did an 3 mile LT run at a pace that says that for a 3 mile time trial, I should be able to do a 1:42 half.  I extended that to a 4 mile LT run the following week which also said 1:42 half.  Still not quite convinced, two weekends ago, I did 15 miles which included 13 miles at about 7:45 pace (1:45 is 8:00 min/miles) so I was pretty confident that 1:45 would be doable.

Normally going into the last week of an important race, I am extra careful about not getting sick or injuring myself, which I completely ignored this final week and with my luck, I started to come down with something on Tuesday and a had a full blown cold on Wednesday/Thursday. Immediately, went on the Cold-F/X (not sure this works, but hey I was desperate) and Vitamin C and it seemed to have settled down by Sunday.  Still not completely recovered however, but at least I could breath through my nose.

I found that in the past, I tend to overcompensate when something goes wrong and I realize now that my drinking too much at my race back in May led to me not hydrating enough going into this race. I didn't quite drink enough on Saturday and was probably a bit dehydrated going into the race. I had left home somewhat late and arrived at about 8:00 for the 8:45 race start.  Parked at the Eaton's Centre but made the mistake of trying to cross Bay to city hall by walking south, not realizing that they weren't letting people cross Bay because the 5k race had started at 8:00am.  So after backtracking a bit, it was probably around 8:15 and so had to find bag check, take my pre-race gel and headed into corrals at about 8:30.  Didn't even get a chance for a bathroom break, but didn't need to as it would turn out.

Some general comments for future reference. As is typically, I started the race too fast even though I had made a conscious attempt to be slow.  The Polar GPS pace (left arm) was way off for the first km, but the Garmin (right) seems about right so maybe next time I will just let the Garmin dictate the pace at the start.  I made an immediate correction during the 2nd km and was basically on pace by the 2 km mark. It was very humid, including a light drizzle of rain at the start. Rain stopped after a few kms, but the ground was slick and a bit slippery.  Coming down Bathurst, I heard someone behind me take a nasty spill. Normally on this part of the route, I run down the centre of the street between the two sets of streetcar tracks.  I've done this in the past to avoid the camber of the road and get an optimum GPS signal, but I think this might be dangerous because as people crowd around, there's a risk of people stepping on the train tracks on either side of me and falling which might have happened this time.  Last year, an elite runner broke her leg on the streetcar tracks so in hindsight, probably best to stay on one side of the road. 

Generally on pace for most of the race, picking up time on the downhills (3-8km). The slow down at 7km is due to the train overpass at Bathurst-Front.  I think the slowdown at 12km was an aid station issue since both GPS's show I slowed down to slower than 9 min/mile pace for a short period of time. It might also partially be a tangent issue since this part is a bit curvy. Slowdown at 19km is due to the Lakeshore overpass at Spadina.

Developed a side stitch on right side about half way through. Probably due to lack of hydration. It was really starting to bother me late into the race to the point that I was having difficulty carrying the sign. I normally hold up the sign for the whole race, but was having difficulty doing so because of the cramping. I tried to just carry it by my side for a short while, but realized there was no point carrying it like this if no one was going to see it, so I decided to toss it at an aid station near the 18 km mark.  I still had the time goal on the bunny ears and was wearing a sign on my back so that would have to do. It was a struggle towards the end.  I tried to do the breath on the side opposite the side stitch thing to lessen the pain, but this required a 1-1 breathing pattern and a slow down in cadence which caused me to run less efficiently, which means I had to expend more effort to do so.

During the last km, I usually try to be  encouraging to people running up Bay, but I was in my own little world of hell trying to maintain the proper pace with my abdomen begging for me to slow down. Checked my watch at the 200m and 100m to go mark and saw that I was pretty close to my goal time so no room for error. In the past, I'm up by at least 15 seconds so I can take the last little bit easy. Not this year. Ended up finishing at 1:44:56.

Splits are as follows

KM Cumulative Time Split Goal Time Time Under
1 0:04:53 04:53 0:04:59 -00:06
2 0:09:58 05:05 0:09:57 00:01
3 0:14:57 04:59 0:14:56 00:01
4 0:19:51 04:54 0:19:54 -00:03
5 0:24:43 04:51 0:24:53 -00:10
6 0:29:26 04:43 0:29:51 -00:26
7 0:34:32 05:06 0:34:50 -00:18
8 0:39:28 04:56 0:39:49 -00:20
9 0:44:27 04:59 0:44:47 -00:20
10 0:49:26 04:59 0:49:46 -00:20
11 0:54:23 04:57 0:54:44 -00:21
12 0:59:30 05:07 0:59:43 -00:13
13 1:04:31 05:02 1:04:42 -00:10
14 1:09:28 04:56 1:09:40 -00:12
15 1:14:27 05:00 1:14:39 -00:11
16 1:19:27 04:59 1:19:37 -00:11
17 1:24:27 05:00 1:24:36 -00:09
18 1:29:27 05:00 1:29:34 -00:08
19 1:34:32 05:05 1:34:33 -00:01
20 1:39:29 04:57 1:39:32 -00:03
21.1 1:44:56 05:27 1:45:00 -00:04

Polar Route and Stats

HR did spike at 16km but had turned off HR display so didn't know.  My HR was also much higher prior to this hovering in the upper 170's.  I think this was a remnant of the cold and it being quite humid and relatively warm (was 19C at start). I did the 15 mile run the weekend before in the upper 160's.  

Generally, pretty good split times and even pace.  In previous years, they only had a 10km intermediate timing mat, whereas this year they added timing mats at the 5km and 15 km mark which allows me to track who actually ran the race with me. I imported the finish line results into Excel and calculated gun time splits for everyone and then sorted by gun time finish. Using the advanced filtering feature, I can generate a list of people who finished within 30 seconds of my gun time who also were within 30 seconds of me at each of the 5, 10 and 15k mats. In total there were 26 people who fit this criteria.

Engineering degree comes in handy...
 There were also 37 more people who were within 30s of me at the 5, 10 and 15k marks who finished outside of the 30 second finish window, 6 of whom finished more than 30 seconds ahead. 

So all in all, quite happy with the pacing performance this year, even despite the side stitch. Still need to work on that first km though... 

Oh Well..

on Sunday, October 16, 2016 at 8:19 PM

So I didn't get into Boston.  The cutoff was 2:09 which means I wasn't even close.  I needed to run 3:12:51.  Looking back at my BQ run in May, it didn't matter that the last 7 km was into a brutal headwind, I was already behind by the 35km mark. Relying on the BQ estimates that other people were calculating proved to be a bad choice.  The method they used was somewhat accurate last year, but not remotely accurate this year.

This has had me rethinking the Boston qualifying attempts.  The past 2 years I've just tried to squeak in by using the previous years cutoff as a guide.  This hasn't worked and the issue is that everyone is now aiming to beat their BQ time by 5 minutes to ensure that they can register for the first week.  While it would be easy to say that I should just train for 3:10, the part of me that thinks back to how hard it was 8 years ago to run a 3:10:23 on higher weekly mileage and I start to question whether it's even doable now.  But of course, I don't actually have to run a 3:10 as I just need to clear enough time to make the cutoff so a slip to 3:12 during a 3:10 attempt might be okay.  This is a lot better than initially aiming for 3:12 which doesn't leave a lot of room for error.

Another side of me says hey I can wait a few years and my BQ time increases to 3:25, but I thought it would be neat to aim to run Boston at least once in each age category which means I would need to do it within the next 2 years before I age-up into the next category.

I haven't really tried to train for a 3:10 marathon in a long while so I guess I'll have to see how it goes, if it even goes at all.  It's easy for me to say now what I intend to do over the winter, but you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men...