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Mississauga Half Marathon - RunHalf Marathon

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Mississauga, Ontario
Mississauga Marathon
12C / 54F
Total Time = 2h 00m 59s
Overall Rank = 1248/2911
Age Group = F30-39
Age Group Rank = 154/456
Pre-race routine:

So this race was intended to be a comeback of sorts. I’ve been training to get 1:55 for over a year now. I did two half marathons last year where I was certain I would get a PB (maybe not 1:55, but definitely sub 1:59:29) at and for both, I got sick with a cold when taper started and total messed up on race day. Last spring I got a personal worst 2:15:xx half marathon on a PR course and then again in the fall, I got another personal worst 2:17:xx. I think my biggest problems with both of these races is going out at my pace and ignoring my HR which was elevated way above normal due to the cold and I burned out. Big time.

So enter this training schedule. I’m running faster than I have ever run before. I am doing long slow runs at faster than my last two half marathons. I am building my confidence, feeling strong, starting to consider that I might blow 1:55 out of the water. I start thinking 5:20/km is definitely within the realm of possibilities based on my training (1:52:30 half), start of taper goes fine, then BAM sick again. Cold turns into bronchitis, turns into sleepless nights due to coughing. I went to the doctor the week before the race and he basically said I just have to wait it out. He gave me an inhaler so that I can sleep at night.
As of Friday night last week, I still wasn’t certain I was going to race. I had done two test runs on Thursday and Friday and I was feeling okay, not great, but not terrible. My HR was higher than normal, but I figured I would try to race anyway.

Event warmup:

I stayed at my friends condo overnight. She lives about 1 km from the start line, so I wanted to the start line and found my position in the corrale.
  • 2h 00m 59s
  • 21.08 kms
  • 05m 44s  min/km

Waiting in the corrale, my HR was high. I think partially due to nerves and partially from the cold. When the cannon sounded we slowly make our way up to the startline and start running at the timing matts. My plan was to stay zone 2 up to 16 km (allowing to get out of zone 2 on the couple of uphill sections) and then pushing to zone 3 from 16-19 and then giving it all the last two kms. If I were feeling 100% on race day, it would take me 1-2 km of running at the right pace to get my HR into mid zone 2. It took less than 500 m.

For the first 5 km, I’m keeping my HR right where I want it to be. Mid zone 2 around 176 bpm, hit the 5K mark at 27:30 and I think I’m having a decent race. Keep at this pace and HR in through the UofT campus, but even going downhill, my HR is starting to creep up. I hit the 8 km marking right around 44 minutes, so still holding a decent pace. From 8 km to 10 km, the stretch is mostly downhill. I had let my HR go up a bit in from 7-8 km as there is an uphill and that is it, I have to slow down to keep my HR in zone 2. Since this section is mostly downhill, I still make it to km 10 in 55:00, but this is where the only really significant uphill section is. From 10-11 my HR rises to 185 (solid zone 3), my pace drops from the 5:30s I’ve been holding to 6:20 and I can’t recover my HR back to zone 2 without significantly slowing down.

This is where my race kind of fell apart. I know that if I were 100%, my HR would have recovered on the flat to downhill section, as it was, I had to slow down to keep my HR right around the top of zone 2 (181 bpm, I was checking my watch every 30 seconds and when it would creep up to 182, I would back off). Km 10-16, I slowed down quite a bit, and was barely holding on to a sub 2:00 pace. At 16, I tried to pick it up, but my legs were tired, I was tired, I was getting hot and despite letting my HR creep up, my pace didn’t pick up any.

At 19 km, my quads are on fire, I try to pick it up again, but I feel like I am just slowing down. I am embarrassed to admit it, but I walked a little bit in both the 20th km and the 21st km. On the second walking section, this guy was walking, comes up to me and says “We can walk it in and get 2:06”. I replied “I am NOT getting 2:06” and took off. I was finally able to pick it up. My legs are burning, but I don’t care, I just push it. Pass a bunch of the people that passed me when I was walking and push it into the finish line. Finished the race in 2:00:59.

What would you do differently?:

Figure out why I keep getting colds before my races. And stop getting sick. I think I raced very smart out there on the weekend. I had a plan that was based on HR and for the most part I executed. I think having a cold hindered my ability to recover my HR after my hard uphill efforts around km 8 and km 10. If I had slowed down the pace and kept my HR lower for those sections, I might have finished faster? I don’t know.
Post race
Warm down:

wait in line for food. Try to stretch my quads, not possible, every attempt to stand on one leg results in major cramping and almost falling over

What limited your ability to perform faster:


Event comments:

I would recommend Mississauga to anyone. Better organized than most other halves I have done. There is a reason I keep coming back to it (my third time at Mississauga)

Last updated: 2012-03-10 12:00 AM
02:00:59 | 21.08 kms | 05m 44s  min/km
Age Group: 154/456
Overall: 1248/2911
Performance: Average
km 1 5:32.86, 166; km 2 5:32.49, 176; km 3 5:32.28, 177; km 4 5:18.50; km 5 5:27.17, 176; km 6 5:33.31, 179; km 7 5:28.07, 178; km 8 5:31.59, 178; km 9 5:26.87, 179; km 10 5:37.20, 179; km 11 6:20.59, 181; km 12 5:44.56, 178; km 13 5:50.38, 178; km 14 5:50.14, 180; km 15 5:57.68, 180; km 16 5:42.98, 181; km 17 5:42.82, 184; km 18 6:01.40, 184; km 19 5:56.16, 185; km 20 5:53.16, 185; km 21 6:11.48, 185; km 21.1 :47.41
Course: Downhill race from Square One to the Lakeshore
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Ok
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2012-05-09 6:47 PM

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Subject: Mississauga Half Marathon

2012-05-10 9:13 AM
in reply to: #4200955

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metro west, MA
Subject: RE: Mississauga Half Marathon

Sorry to hear you got sick.  That's got to be incredibly frustrating.  Sounds like you had a good strategy and did well under the circumstances.

I have no idea but I wonder if it has to do with pre-race stress levels.  I used to always get sick right at school mid-terms/finals.  I think all you can do is focus on getting enough rest, eating well, and adding some immune boosters (vit C, garlic and honey, echinacea, etc.) leading up to race day.

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