The Oak Bay KOOL Half Marathon took place this past Sunday, May 25, 2014. I first heard about the race on the 107.3 Kool FM radio station and it sounded like a great way to spend a Sunday morning.
Above: I got to meet Danny The Intern from 107.3 Kool FM. He’s super awesome.
At first, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be recovered enough after the BMO Vancouver Marathon (3 weeks ago) to do this race.
However, I was so thrilled when the kind folks at Peninsula Runners (they’re pretty awesome) allowed me to have an elite entry into the race that I completely forgot about the fact that I raced a full marathon earlier this month.
Honestly, I was a little bit nervous because after the marathon I took a full week off all training (weights and running). Then, I got back into it very slowly again in my second week post-marathon.
About midway through my second week post marathon (1.5 weeks before the Oak Bay Half), I ran a very slow and difficult 15k which seemed to have taken a lot out of me.
Then, I did a few shorter faster runs in preparation for the Oak Bay Half, but nothing too crazy because I wanted to be recovered enough to do this race and finish in a decent time.
I started this race without any seriously crazy expectations of myself. I feel like every time I put too much pressure on myself, I end up doing worse because rather than focusing on the task at hand, I focus on the outcome (and I’ve learned that it’s the wrong way to look at races).
I settled into a very good pace (maybe even a little bit too fast at the start), doing 4:10-4:18kms. By the time I got to the 8k mark, the pace was still pretty easy to maintain, so I went with it.
I didn’t see too many people around me and I caught the group that I had been trying to catch for the past 8 or so km. Staying with that group seemed like a great idea and they pulled me along quite nicely. “Perfect pace” was exactly what I thought.
The next time I glanced at my Garmin was when we got to the 10k mark. I got 42:40. Perfect. Just a little bit faster than my previous best 10k time from 2 years ago, but I’m doing the half marathon this time.
I’m extremely pleased at the thought that my previous 10k pace became my half marathon pace and I don’t feel like I’m gonna die doing that pace.
Then, the next thing I knew, I was cruising through the halfway point at 45:09. Awesome. All I needed to do was run the next half in 44:50 to break 1:30. Very doable and very realistic, if I picked it up just a little bit.
Unfortunately, I underestimated the second half a little bit. I didn’t remember the hills as I was going down them on the way out. This is an out and back course, so I should have known that if I’m going down a hill on the way out, then I would be going up it on the way back.
I was too busy enjoying the run to pay attention to anything on the way out and I think that’s why the pace felt good.
On the way back, I lengthened my stride going up the hills and continued to enjoy my run.
Later in the race, one of the volunteers said: “You look like you’re having a lot of fun!” She was right-I was.
As I approached the last hill, I remembered what the Peninsula Runners folks said about hills: “It’s just a hill, get over it.” That last hill right before the final stretch towards the finish line was a challenge and I slowed down.
Then, all of a sudden, as I came over the hill, I saw the 21km mark and the finish line shortly thereafter.
Feeling relieved about being that close to finishing, I spotted 2 guys that were 80m in front of me and made it my goal to catch them before the finish line.
I gathered all my energy and sprinted to the finish line like my life depended on it. I had a lot of energy left, so I wanted to use it up.
As the cheering at the finish line got louder and louder, I sped up more and more. I ended up being 1 second behind the 2 guys that I was trying to catch. I dug deep and almost passed them right in front of the finish line.
I finished the race in 1:32:25 with an average pace of 4:23 per km or 7:03 per mile. I was the 9th woman (out of 371) to cross the finish line and 31st/573 finishers overall.
Above: Me, my client Kent and his girlfriend Tara (also my client). Kent crossed the finish line with another personal best! Awesome! He is a machine!
I enjoyed the race course and the volunteers were awesome! I saw a lot of wonderful familiar faces and it was an amazing way to spend a Sunday morning.
If you are looking for a challenging and fun spring half marathon that’s awesome for all levels of runners, then you should definitely sign up to do it next year. I know I want to do it again for sure.