Fast forward to Sunday Morning. Around 0600h. The Half Marathon started at 0700h. It was pouring rain, and about 279K (6C) out. The race start was about 2 blocks away from our current apartment, so we avoided having to check any gear, have to find parking, or try and figure out how to get to the start.
I've never run a half marathon before, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Tam and I, over much discussion decided to run together at 7:30 minute miles for the first 10km, and then settle into our own paces.
This worked out pretty well for me, as 7:30 per mile is probably slower than I'd run if I were pace myself. I have to admin that the slower initial pace, combined with the heavy traffic at the start probably prevented me from blowing up half way through the race. By the second mile, the lack of any real warm-up, and the cold, wet weather were taking their toll, I could feel my calves begin to tighten.
By the 5th mile, I was relaxed, and feeling good. When we got to Stanley park and the 10km mark, I convinced Tam to let me pace off of her to the top of Prospect point.
We made it up the hill, and then Tam and I split up and fell into our own paces. I immediately proceeded to bomb down the other side of the Prospect point hill. This was our home turf, so we knew what to expect.
The remainder of the race was fairly flat, with the exception of a few hills that I'd forgotten about -- a climb to get out of Stanley park, and the climb from Beach Avenue up to Pacific Boulevard.
All told, I finished the race strongly at 1:37:23 on my watch, which was 4 seconds slower than the official "net" time of 1:37:19 posted later during the day.
A few notes about the Vancouver Half Marathon:
- The course is actually surprisingly hilly, with 175m of ascent (at least according to the altimeter in Tam's watch). This isn't really reflected in the course profile listed on the website.
- There was no water at the water stations in Stanley park -- which meant 10km without water. Good thing it wasn't hot.
- They race organizers had put a timing mat about 20m in front of the finish line, and using it to call the runner's names as they approached the finish line. I liked this.
- The course was scenic. When I had a chance to look around. I don't remember much of the second half of the race.