Hypothermic Half Marathon

Well, it's Sunday night and I'm pretty slammed right now from a tough week, a restless and sleepless Saturday night, and challenging half-marathon this morning.

The half-marathon's objective wasn't clear... make it a training run or make it a race. It turned into a lot more than just a training run. It became a mental challenge. Yesterday, I did a 31km x-country ski in the -20C weather with bitterly cold windchill rated at -36C. It was an exhausting ski outing where my HRM said I burned about 2000 calories in the 3 hours. I was close to bonking.

Then for some reason last night I could barely sleep, my daughter was sick and when I did fall asleep I'd wake up again minutes later. A combination of a sick daughter, nerves about the half-marathon and worries that I'd overdone it during the day were only compounding with the lack of sleep.

By morning I was a mess but persevered to drag myself to the start line and do the race. It was another cold morning at -16C, but luckily without the wind. The first 5km of the race were hell. I could barely keep a 5:30m/km pace... I had no gas in the tank and thought I may have a DNF. That was the last thing I wanted for my first half marathon. So I kept drinking my electrolyte drink and then around 8km into the run I started to feel better and was able to up my pace and keep it a little faster. Around kilometers 13-15 my energy dropped again and this time I was at a 6:20m/km pace. Then I passed the last point in the third loop of the four loop circuit and looked at my overall time. I thought I may be able to finish in 1h50 so I dug deep and find some energy to up the pace to faster than 5m/km and tried to maintain that pace until the end. By the time I finished the race it was 1h50m18s for an average pace of 5:08m/km.

Had I been better rested I think I could have maintained a 4:55m/km pace.

On the postive side, I feel like this weekend, with the long ski on Saturday, the lack of sleep last night, and the half-marathon this morning prepared me psychologically for the ultras I want to do later this year. I also learned more about how deep I can actually dig into my energy reserves.

Despite the slow time and the fatigue from the day before I'm happy with my time and know I can do better the next time a half-marathon is a goal. I'm also learning so much about myself with all this training.

Happy running!


Derrick said…
Congrats on your half. Doesn't sound like it was an ideal taper, but things still went very well for you and is a sign of bigger and better things to come.

Enjoy your recovery now, before planning 'what's next!'
Gene said…
Thanks Derrick! There was no real taper at all. My other running buddies couldn't believe I skied the day before. They thought I was nuts. They also all did better than me. My next event is a ski event in two weekends - 80km/day. Hence, the reason I decided to ski on Saturday and make Sunday a training run. I may sign up for the Winterman half-marathon in late February. I don't think I have the fitness for the full marathon yet. I'll also be in Paris in early April during the Paris marathon, but I checked and it is sold out.

I'm looking forward to hearing the stories of your Rock and Ice race this March. I enjoyed the recent article in the Canadian Running magazine. It refers to you in a few places.
Derrick said…
80km skiing per day should be interesting. Good luck with that. My back starts barking at me just thinking about it. Enjoy!

Michal did a very good job capturing the feel of Rock and Ice in his article in Canadian Running Mag.

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