39. The Nature Fix – Florence Williams
week forty one – 68.4
2019 to date: 2,108 KM
I finally got around to reading this Alex Hutchinson recommended book and I thought it was mostly great but that’s the great thing about books put together like this, when they start to focus on kids you can just skip that part and it doesn’t take anything away from the plot. The really basic takeaway from this book is quite similar to the (also Hutchinson recommended) one I heaped acclamation upon earlier Running is my Therapy by Scott Douglas. If you were to distill both down they would say pretty much the same thing, and that is one way to decrease stress and increase happiness is to get outside, preferably with trees, even better near water. Douglas says to run while you do, and Williams for the most part agrees but is fine with some sort of activity.
So I chose for my activity reading, and the afternoon before the Victoria Half Marathon I took a couple hours and sat in a weather-beaten adirondack at Kitty Islet on the edge of McNeill Bay looking south across the Strait of Juan de Fuca and read a book about getting back to nature and watched seals bob and birds dive and got the inch-wide strip of bare skin between my pant cuff and my low cut socks absolutely ravaged by mosquitoes. But was I chill and ready to break my first sub-90 minute half marathon the next morning? Fuca!
I set this up to be my last chance to complete my goal to run a half marathon in under 90 minutes. My last 21.1 KM race was the Seawheeze back in August, which I ran on less than 12 hours notice and still nearly went under 90, finishing 1:31:43 and feeling like maybe it might come back to haunt me as a missed opportunity. But I was ready for Victoria and everything came together. I was a bit worried at the start, after a morning of race nerves in the stomach that lingered for a bit longer than usual. The gun went for the mass start of both the half and full marathon runners. My plan was to run a hair over 4:15/KM pace, which would get me to 10 miles in 1:08 and then run the last five (mostly downhill) with whatever I left. I went out a bit hot, splitting the first couple kilometres in 4:09*** and 4:04. I tried to let off the gas a little bit but I felt great, so I found a rhythm that felt just a bit uncomfortable that I could maintain. My goal pace at 10 km was 42:39, and my game plan was 42:30. I crossed 10 km at 41:30 and was still feeling pretty great. Other plan was to fuel at 6 km, 11 km and 16.1 km. First fuel was a wee bit late, and yet I felt a bit of fade coming on just past 11 km. Normally if you feel the need to fuel that means you’re too late. My experience with the two that I can stomach is Endurance Tap kicks in in 4-5 minutes, and Maurten in about half that time. I train with ET and I like it a lot, but I race with Maurten. I did falter a bit over the next few kilometres, but only compared to my pace to that point. I saw a 4:17 on my watch and thought I’d maybe blown my cushion but was still confident that 1:29:59 was within reach. I passed 16 km and when I didn’t see the 10 mile marker I checked my time. I wanted to be 1:08 but my watch said 1:07:30.
I took my last Maurten just before 17 km and hit the traffic jam. The course meets the mid point of the 8 km race, whose gun goes 50 minutes after the half and full, and everyone runs the last 4 km together to a shared finish. There are a lot of people running the 8 km race, and the ones I’m encountering don’t seem to know to stay to the right. I don’t think I lost any time, but it did get pretty crowded. I was able to pick it up and dodge my way down Dallas Road and still give a hard finish over the last 1,100 metres and finish 1:28:04 chopping 3:29 off of my personal best, and 2019 goal 5/6 achieved. Eight weeks until the California International Marathon and I have all of the confidence.
2019 Goals recap:
run 2,019 km – Oct 5th ✓
sub 6:00 Mile – 5:52 ✓
sub 20:00 5K – 19:40 ✓
sub 40:00 10K – 39:22 ✓
sub 1:30:00 HM – 1:28:04 ✓
marathon BQ – *pending*
***4:09 according to the Garmin app. I remember checking my Garmin watch and it read 4:08. According to Strava (which gets its information from Garmin) I ran either 4:10 (Strava iPhone app) or 4:11 (Strava browser).