Sunday November 13 was the Last Chance Half Marathon and my last race for the season.  Starting the season with the Calgary Police Half Marathon, and finishing with the Last Chance Half Marathon was a great way to bookend the season and see how far I’ve come.

Game Face! No, not really.

Coming into this race I was excited to have fresh legs, probably for the first time since August 28, the day before Ironman.  After Ironman I raced the Subaru Banff Tri as a cyclist for a relay team, and a few weeks later I ran Melissa’s Half in Banff with my fiancée, and about two weeks after that I was running again to get ready for LC.  Being fresh I put a little more pressure on myself and decided that this would be a race where I would take some chances and try and hit the elusive 1:30 HM mark.

The race started and right away I was running with a quick start around 4:10/km.  For the first bit this felt fine but after about 2km I figured the pace wasn’t sustainable.  Already starting to get some negative feedback from my legs I decided to back off the pace a little and just go by feel.  I backed off to about 4:30/km which was a bit slower than I wanted, but then I came across another runner who I’ve raced against before and started pacing off him.  That helped to get my mind off the clock, but at the same time helped push me along a bit.  I actually struck up a conversation with him and said (maybe a bit too crypticly), “You raced the Police Half right? We’ve done this before”.  What I was referring to was playing cat and mouse with each other for km after km.  I’m glad I introduced myself and he knew exactly who I was, we struck up some conversation and it turns out Ron is actually a great guy and a very impressive athlete.

I kept pushing but not feeling great until around the half way mark.  Up until I was calculating splits and times and thinking about what my finish time would be if I blew up, not the best frame of mind.  But after the turnaround I started seeing teammates, friends and my dad.  I had about 45 minutes left in my 2011 season, so I  figured “damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead”.  I re-passed a lot of the people who got by me after I backed off the pace and I pushed right until the end.

My old man and I post race

My finish time was 1:33:51, beating my previous PR of 1:39:10 (which had snow on course which probably cost about 3-4 minutes to be fair).  I’m super happy with the result and I believe it was a great way to finish the season.  I firmly believe that the goals you set should be a little it out of your reach, if its something easily within your grasp then your goal becomes an expectation, and with expectations we have no incentive to push beyond what we’re capable of.

The best part of the day though was my dad running his first Half Marathon on his 59th birthday.  His finish time was a strong 2:05, and his first running race was the Calgary Police 5km back in April.  So to say he has come a long way this season would be an understatement.  He’s already becoming a competition minded age group athlete and is pretty excited that next year when he turns 60 he’ll be in the young end of his age category.