2016 Vancouver Lake Half Marathon

Half Marathon Training









I just completed the 2016 Vancouver Lake Half Marathon.  My time was 1:27:59.  My good friend Derek shattered 1:30 with his PR time of 1:28:35.  Right before the race, Derek told me he would be happy with 1:35, so I have to assume he’s ecstatic with his time.

This was my first race in the 50 – 54 age bracket.  I came in 2nd place.  Unfortunately, I forgot to pick up my award (a monogrammed pint glass).  Oh well, wonder if they’ll save it for me for next year:-)   Below I provide some race details, my splits and some details of my training leading up to the race.

The Lake Vancouver Half Marathon is run near the end of January every year.  On a totally flat course.  Conditions can be horrible (windy, raining, sleet, etc) or not bad. The race is a favorite for locals here in Southwest WA and the Portland, OR area.  It’s limited to 500 runners.  Sign-ups open on November 1st and the race is typically full with a week to 10 days.

This year’s race was almost perfect conditions.  At the 1000am start (no need to get up at the crack of dawn for this one) the sky was mostly overcast.  No wind and temps in the mid 40s.  Some people were dressed up for cold weather, but as you can see above, I wore a t-shirt under my racing singlet.   I started the race with gloves, but handed them to my youngest son at mile 3.

Vancouver Lake Half Marathon


Chris Platano (age 27) won the race in 1:09:21 (that’s a 5:18 pace)







As with last year’s race, I didn’t complete much track and speed work training in preparation for the race.  December was an extremely wet month (nearly 20″ of rain) and I was out for almost a week with a head cold.  Fortunately by the end of December I was able to get in a number of 8 – 9 mile runs.  I also continued to complete weight and circuit training at the gym during the holidays, so I am strong.

My long runs in January were 2 x 10.5 miles at 7:30 pace.  I completed one of the runs on the course the first week of January and another 10 miler while in Dallas about 12 days before the race.

My track or speed work consisted of:

A ladder workout about 3.5 weeks before the race – 1 x 200m, 1 x 400, 1 x 600, 1 x 800, 1 x 600, 1 x 400, 1 x 200m

2 other track days where I completed 100m strides, high knees and butt kicks

I complete 1 x tempo run the week before the race.  This run was on a local (Heritage) running trail where I did 1 mile warm-up and then 6 miles at 6:40 pace, followed by 1 mile cool down. Prior to this run, my confidence was fairly low that I would be able to break 1:30 for the 1/2 marathon.  After this run, I felt like I may have a shot.

One of my key strategies before the race was to fully hydrate starting a few days before the race.  I also really watched my diet the week before.  I laid off processed carbohydrates and saturated fats.  The night before, I had pasta primavera (chicken with roasted veggies) and a dinner salad.   The morning of the race I ate a bowl of oatmeal and continued to drink a lot of water. I also had a piece of toast with cut up banana and some yogurt.

I knew that I was well hydrated because of frequency of my bathroom breaks before the race.  I consumed 1 energy gel about 10 minutes before the race and had another at about mile 8.  This second gel really gave me a boost the last 4.5 miles as my legs were starting to get tired.

Following are my race splits.  As you see, they were pretty even.  Mile 13 was one of my fastest.  Overall, I’m pleased.  Breaking 1:28 at age 50 and not doing a lot of training for this race is pretty good.

Next race is Portland’s Shamrock run on March 13th.  I’m running the 15k.  Maybe if I train I can run near 60 minutes ;-)

Vancouver Lake Half Marathon