So that was probably my most disappointing race ever...
I have no idea what happened - I was just slow. Very slow. Any time I got anywhere close to target race pace, my heart rate went crazy... and my pace for most of the race was a full minute per kilometer higher than what I had targeted. Something was really, really not right.
I'll get back to that in a bit, but first... the race!
Downsview 1/2 Marathon. First time event, and wow did they draw a great crowd! Almost sold out, and some very nice touches.
- Race cap instead of shirt - yay! I think we all have enough shirts already... but I really nice running cap is always welcome.
- Personalized race bibs (see picture). Usually something you get at big marathons, nice!
- Neat location - Downsview was actually pretty cool, running by the hangers, on the taxiways, and through the little park they have there now
- The aid stations were pretty bad... I hate to rag on volunteers, but there weren't enough of them and they didn't seem to know what they were doing. At the first one, there was no Gatorade/eLoad... at the next one, there was one volunteer giving it out one cup at a time! The guy in front of me grabbed that cup, so I had to help myself from the table... not cool! And the cups I go were so unfilled it would have been comical if it weren't so irritating. I don't really blame the volunteers, they need to be given clear direction on what to do.
- The race was advertised as "flat" - but the first and last 4km were anything but. Rolling hills, some of them pretty steep (and definitely pace-impacting!). There are certainly better 1/2 courses for a PB, which surprised me - I thought this one was going to be ideal
- Bathroom line-ups were brutal! More porta-potties! Or some trees for the men to pee on.
- Kilometer markers were way off. I think the final distance was right, but if you were relying on the km markers for pace, good luck. 19km sign was at 19.5km, most were off by at least a few hundred meters - and then others were bang-on. A crap-shoot.
So a few things they can improve on. All in all it was pretty decent, though, I would do it again.
Horrible. Confusing. I have no idea what went so wrong.
I started out near my target pace of 4:30-4:35/km. Really early on, I noticed my heart rate was quite high - into the 180bpm range. This is higher than my tempo heart rate normally, so I was a bit confused, but chalked it up to race day nerves or something.
But it didn't come down. In fact, it went up. When it hit 185bpm and I was getting to the 6km mark, I knew this just wasn't going to work... I dialed the pace back, but still felt awful. I felt like I was in full blow-up mode at 7km! Crazy.
I finally backed waaaaay off, all the way to 5:30/km pace, which is my LSD pace. Still, my heart rate wouldn't go under 170bpm. This was really the story to the end, struggling to keep a 5:30/km pace while my heart rate was something I only ever see on tempo runs.
I did a 7km tempo race just this Wednesday...
4:28/km average pace, 168bpm average heart rate
How can I hold 4:28/km over 7km with a heart rate of 168bpm in a training run... but then four days later at the same pace I'm at 185bpm? And had to slow down to 5:30/km to get back into the 170bpm range???
I'm stumped. Maybe I'm coming down with something, I don't know. Just a bad, bad day.
Final result was 1:50+, vs my PB of 1:36... I mean it was just crazy bad.
Kind of par for the course in 2012 for me, so best to just turn the page and look ahead to 2013!