In a word: hilly!
There aren't many stretches where it's not going either up or down, and some of the hills are killers. The most notable is at the Lift Locks, at about the 5.5km mark... and best of all you get to do it both ways, so it's waiting for you at about 15km in the other direction!
Click here for my garmin data and map with elevation.
Still, I really enjoyed it. Far more scenic than the old course, and the challenge made it that much more satisfying to conquer.
Not ideal for your first half or if you're going for a PB... but hey, it's February, you're probably just testing your legs out anyway, right?
So now that I've said the course isn't suitable for a personal best, I get to say that I set a personal best! Maybe it's the mountain biker in me, but I don't mind the hilly go-into-the-red-then-recover cycle. It suits me well.
Me at this race:
2011 - 1:38:54 (89/501, 8/29 M35-39)
(My previous PB was actually 1:41:10 from the Whitby 1/2 marathon last May)
I've focused much more on speed work this year so far (weekly tempo & interval session) , and I've also manged to keep up a lot of my long bike rides outdoors. Between the two, I feel like I'm in better shape than ever for this time of year.
My plan was to hold a 4:45/km for the first half, then play the second half by ear. That's pretty much exactly what I did... I hit the turn-around point at 4:46/km, then sped up to 4:34/km for the second half. I felt good through-out and even had the gas for a nice finishing kick!
Nutrition: 2 gels, one at 0:30, the other at 1:00, and some Gatorade here and there. Made sure I didn't over-drink or eat before the race, stuck with mostly liquids and some Sharkies. Also took 2 electrolyte caplets and a multivitamin ~3 hours before - not sure if that helped anything, but certainly didn't hurt!
Injury: ITBS seems to have flared up again... I think it's due to the hills and the road camber. Kicked in at about 17-18km or so. Hoping it passes quickly, doesn't seem too dehabilitating at the moment.
I'm doing the half marathon at the Whitby Marathon again this year, my goal is sub-1:35. Finding 4 minutes is daunting, but that course is easier and I should be in even better shape... we'll see!