Oakville Half Marathon

I finished the Oakville Half Marathon in 1:36:10. A far cry from a PB and slightly slower than I was realistically hoping for but I placed 33/156 in “Men 40-49”, 91/415 in “All Men” and 106/736 “Overall”. I guess I can live with that…

The idea to do the Oakville Halfstarted out for it to be a “warm-up” race for Victoria (run it easy, at full marathon pace) but after a goading email from Coach Ben, it turned into a real race – a real race that I didn’t taper for and was built into my training for the upcoming full marathon (in Victoria), half marathon (in Hamilton), olympic triathlon and an Ironman 70.3 (both in Thailand). Ha! My race season is nowhere near over!

Anyway, I finished the Oakville Half Marathon (all 21.1kms of it) in 1:36:10. A far cry from a PB (1:31:35 – Toronto Goodlife 2011) and slightly slower than I was realistically hoping for (I would have been happier with anything under 1:35:00) but I placed 33/156 in Men 40-49, 91/415 in All Men and 106/736 Overall. Not too bad when you put it that way… I guess.


It is a flat race, with a few rolling bits, but no real hills. The weather was cool and mostly sunny and I was feeling good, loose, warmed-up and ready, standing at the start line chatting with my TNT Coaching partner Peter, who was pacing the 1:40 runners.

I know I started off too fast (4:11/km) but I did get it under control and was back on pace for a 1:34:00 by kilometre 4. Sadly, as the race went on, my pace dropped more and more. I bottomed out at 4:42/km at kilometre 16. I managed to drag myself back up to 4:31/km but the damage was done. There’s just not enough time in a half marathon for that sort of dip in pace. Sigh…

I thought a lot about what I had heard Dean Karnazes say about staying in the moment and concentrating on each step rather than thinking ahead to “how you are going to feel” later in the race (which is impossible to predict, believe me) and it really helped. It really did! I also brought my concentration back to my form (forward lean, mid foot strike, shoulders down, arms relaxed and swinging freely – Chi Running style) which also helped… just not enough to salvage the day.

I could blame a lot of stuff (like having a touch of a head-cold, going too hard on my easy bike and run the day before, eating too much before the race) but in the end, I think it just wasn’t my day. It happens. I am just happy that I pushed into the “pain cave”, even after I knew I wasn’t going to hit my goal. If nothing else, that was my takeaway from the race – I am getting more comfortable with being uncomfortable – and that is important.


I’m not going to go into real detail here because I did the same thing I have been doing all summer. Quinoa, salmon, spinach, beets, sweet potatoes, blueberries and some dark chocolate the night before. 3 scoops of Living Fuel SuperBerry and a banana with coffee about 3 hours before the race. Gu Roctane during the race (one 10 minutes before, another halfway through and one more with 4km left… which was a desperate attempt to get my legs moving faster).

I also had some beet root juice in the Zipcar on the way to Oakville in the morning (like I did on the way to Wasaga Beach for the triathlon duathlon) but I only had about 200ml before I started to worry about my stomach. I have tried beet juice for a marathon before, very successfully, but I still don’t have 100% faith that it won’t flip my gut. So I am careful with it.


Like I already mentioned, I have a bunch of races coming up. First and foremost the Victoria Marathon. I haven’t done a full marathon since January (the Goofy) so this is a big deal. I’ve done the Victoria Marathon 3 times before and it’s also special to me because it was my very first race EVER, back in Oct 2007 (44 races ago). So this one means a lot to me. Now, I need to concentrate on recovering from yesterday and building/tapering to Victoria. I have 13 days. Wish me luck!

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