Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Springbank Half Marathon Recap

Posted by CheapRunnerMike

If you have read the blog this week you already know that CRRhoda and I both ran the Springbank Road Races Half Marathon this past Sunday.  We had both planned on running it but didn't actually sign up until Thursday night (the online cut-off was Thursday midnight, so cut it close!).  I mentioned in my post last week that I wasn't sure what to expect going into the race; I've been in marathon training and haven't worked a lot on speed, so I really didn't know how quick I would be.  I was also nervous about how I would handle running a race basically as training and not actually racing…I didn't want to be stupid and kill my legs/risk injury by going too hard.  I still had to run all week after all…

photo 1

I woke up early on Sunday morning and went with my normal pre-race breakfast of oatmeal and a coffee, then got dressed and headed to the park.  It was quite cool to start but I had worn a sweatshirt to stay warm while we waited.  It was nice to have Michelle and the kids there to stay with our stuff while we were out running.

The race started right on time at 8:00 and the pack was off like a shot.  I had planned to hold my pace back to the 4:20's/km (around 7:00/mile) and stay consistently there through the entire race.  It was a little ambitious as my long training runs hadn't been anywhere near that pace, but it was in line with some previous races over 13.1.  My typical race strategy in the Half is to start out in the high 4:20's and add speed through the race and finish the last couple KM's with a big push…that was not the plan here.  I wanted to remain very consistent as I wanted my legs to get used to running longer distance at a good steady pace.

I did start out a little quicker than I should have, with miles 2 and 3 clocking in at 6:48 and 6:49, but by mile 4 I had found the 7:00 I was aiming for.  It was at this point that I had passed all of the people that decide it is a good idea to sprint at the start of a half marathon (this always makes me laugh) and I was reeling in the runners ahead of me quickly.  One guy came up beside me and told me that I made this look way too easy…he was already sweating like crazy.  I said something about making sure to save some gas for the rest of the race (or some other similar cliché), then we chatted about goal times, etc.  It turns out he is running his first marathon in a few weeks as well in Toronto, so we talked marathon training for a bit.  We ran together for a mile or so, but there was another runner right with us that had the loudest, pavement-slappiest (yes that's a word!) shoes I have ever heard…it was bugging me so much and I had enough so I took off once we came to a hill and that pack slowed a bit.  It was nice to break away from the pack as I find you can fall into the "pack-pace" quite easily and then it becomes tougher to find your speed when you want to get going…you just sort of run to everyone else's rhythm.


I continued on through the park then back through a little subdivision before heading into the downtown park.  I should mention that this race is run on the paths I run almost every day on my lunch break, so I know where all the hills are and where I need to push a bit as well as where I can coast…it was nice to know the course so well!  We hit the turnaround at the 7 mile mark and I was sticking bang on my target pace…my watch was showing my average pace bouncing between 4:19-4:21/km (6:54-6:58/mile).  I saw Rhoda coming towards me at mile 8 and she had some words of encouragement for me…she clearly still had her iPod headphones in as she SCREAMED at me, "You're number 25!!!!".  I took a couple quick steps to catch the guy right in front of me and asked him if he caught what she said :)  He chuckled and I saw his face at that point…I knew this guy!  I had been chasing right behind him the last 5K but had only seen his back.  I asked him if his name was Jason and he looked surprised and said yes…I said, "I know you…you're the guy that finishes right ahead of me every. single. race."  Again he laughed and I introduced myself.  We chit-chatted a while as we ran together, discussing our upcoming runs as well as time goals for this race.  He was shooting for sub-1:30, which I said would be nice but we would need to pick it up a bit to achieve.  I guess he wanted that time bad enough because he took off not long after.  I thought I was slowing down, but my watch said I was holding steady…he was just going that much quicker.  I guess that's why he's always the guy right ahead of me!

Despite my desire to chase after him (and a sub-1:30, which would be a PR), I held to my intent to use this as a training run.  I downed a Gu gel and settled in for the final 5K stretch.  I was now running pretty much on my own, but with less than a mile to go I heard footsteps behind me.  There were two guys coming on strong, which would usually be my cue to dig deep and turn on the jets.  I let them both pass without a fight though and I got to enjoy watching them in a full out sprint to the finish 100 yards in front of me.  I crossed the line right after them with a time of 1:30:45 and a 26th overall finish.  I was very pleased with this time!  I stuck to my plan and treated the race as a training run and I was only 27 seconds off my PR!

photo 2

The only thing that bothered me about the race was that there was no water at the finish line!  The food table was set up around the corner and there was water and eLoad there, but how hard is it to have some cups on a table right at the end of the finishing chute??  I grabbed a banana, a blueberry bagel and about 4 cups of water then went to find Michelle and the kids to cheer Rhoda's finish.

After Rhoda finished up we stopped in at the local Starbuck's, which happens to be our Clover store…my favourite!  They even had the new Hawaiian Ka'u SB Reserve to try out and it was delicious…"Fresh coconut flavour with sweet caramelly notes"?  Yes please!  I recommend trying this one if you see it locally.  And one final treat, even though I am on a diet watching what I eat this last month before Chicago…I made pizza for dinner.  So good, and a great reward for a well-ran race.

Kept the splits nice and even

do you like running in the pack or do feel the need to break away?


What sort of treat do you like after a race?



  1. Awesome time! Especially considering all the miles on your legs, no taper, and I imagine the weather!
    I'll be the one chasing you come race day for sure!

    Edit: If I'm in a pack, I get antsy and break my pace for space.
    After a race.. Chocolate milk and yogurt!

  2. Thanks Declan...I forgot to mention that I did taper. I didn't run the day before haha. That seems to be a taper these days :)

    We'll see who's chasing who in Chicago!

    I checked out Lickity Split by the way...looks like it is a little too far away from the hotel for us to check it out :(

  3. haha worst 1 day every right?

    The red line drops you off like 1 block from lickity split! about 35 minutes on the red from the "magnificent mile", lots of good eats up there if you like legit ethnic food - Korean BBQ wings, Peruvian, Ethiopian!

  4. Congrats on an awesome PR, you ran a strong and smart race! I love the gif of your finishing too!

  5. Ya you can see me stopping my watch after cross the finish line like a good runner, even though I usually forget to. It's nice when a race works out how you hoped, especially when you aren't sure what to expect going in.

  6. Great job - I know how hard it is to let people go past you when you know you could catch them - way to stay with the goal!!! (and still run a great time!)

  7. Bro you are wicked fast! You are going to smash that 26.2 you have coming up! Congrats!!

  8. It really is tough to not compete with your all...thanks Kim!

  9. Now I'm blushing :)

    You'll be smashing yours real soon's almost here! Good luck at Erie on Sunday. We're actually less than 100 miles away from Erie...there's a Great Lake in the way though.

  10. it´s really Interesting to see ... thank you it's well done :)


  11. Woah!!! Awesome time! Congrats on a great race :)

  12. katie @ fromicecreamtomarathonSeptember 12, 2013 at 10:05 AM

    Awesome job!! I've ran several races where the water is not at the finish line, and you have to go looking for it. It's definitely annoying! Chicago is almost here!!

  13. A freaking PR!! Congrats! Dude, you are so ready for next month. I can't wait to read your recap on Chicago.

  14. Thanks Jacqueline...hope you're right :)