Getting Ready for My First Half Marathon

Alrighty … this blog posting today is not about food but about something that is sort of consuming my life.

I must admit … for some reason, I am just so obsessed with running for the past few months. Some of you know that earlier this year, I had started a blog ( which I had hoped to chronicle my personal attempt to do the Marathon. Well, I stopped maintaining that site because I simply had no time to maintain it. But … I did not stop running. No siree.

However, my goals had changed. I had since realized that aiming for the Marathon will take significantly longer time that I had anticipated. I also realized how far a 42km Marathon really is … not to mention, how painful it could be!

Since then I had first completed the 8km Harry Rosen Spring Run Off and also the 10K Vancouver Sun Run. Coming up next will be the Scotia Bank Half Marathon in two weeks time. I am all excited over it and had been thinking of it all day long despite having to deal with some major crisis at work too.

Last weekend, I ran the longest I had ever ran before in my life. I did the 17km circuit around the Richmond Dykes … starting from near where the new 2010 Olympics Skating Oval is right up to No 3 Rd and Steveston.


The above is the route I took. I downloaded the route from my GPS watch to Google Earth.

The 17K run was the longest before the actual Half Marathon (21km). I must say up front that I had never consider myself a natural athlete, not at all. The 17K run was described in one word … painful. The last 1.5 km was pure torture. I was so tempted to just walk the last 10% of the distance. Once I stopped at the 17km mark, I could hardly walk and practically spent the whole day in bed recovering from the pain.

Since I last blogged on, I had since gotten myself custom othortics which helped a lot. The pain in the knee is now history but am still dealing with the painful plantar fasciitis problem. I am still able to manage it thru stretching and Tylenol.


My time was terrible by many counts. Many runners would laugh at my 2 hrs 15 minutes time over that distance but I did it without stopping at all. I had targeted to complete this in 2hr 15min but exceed it by 45 seconds. I think I am on track for the Half Marathon in 2hr 45min.

Oh, I really liked the Garmin Forerunner 305 I bought a few months back. I got this GPS watch from eBay which is much cheaper than getting it from the local Canadian stores. It’s awesome and does almost everything you would ever want for training. Without this watch, all my distances were just guestimates.

My primary goal is to complete the Half Marathon within 3 hrs, i.e. before they shut down the course and order the slow pokes to get on the sidewalks! My secondary goal is to complete it in 2hr 45min. I’ll share with you how I did.

Back to blogging about food tomorrow.

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  1. DC

    Congrat’s on your longest run yet! You’ll be fine for the half! Just PACE yourself. I’ve ran this particular half a couple of times. Save some energy for the bridge!
    See you out there.

  2. Ron C.

    Eat some energy gels during the half marathon.

    PowerGel brand gels are too sweet.

    Try the Cliff Shots (by Cliff Bar) – they taste like jam (the raspberry and strawberry (with caffeine) ones are good). Eat them while running before a water station (you should know where these are on the route) so you can wash it down. They are available at the Running Room or MEC. For a half Marathon, try eating three of them. One before you start and two along the route (maybe at the 7km and 15 km marks) not too close to the end, otherwise you won’t get the boost).

    Take both water and Gatorade (double fist!) at each station. Pinch the paper cup into a “V” (closing the top so it doesn’t splash up your nose)and pour the liquid into your mouth (don’t try to “drink” normally).

    And ice your joints after the run – ankles, knees and hips (front of your hip where the quadriceps tendons attach).

    Have fun!

  3. SusanRunner

    Ben, take Tylenol before the race. I agree with Ron C, take a couple of gels with you. BUT don’t try anything new on race day. Try the gel on a training run…the last thing you want on the day of the race is get cramps. For myself, I take GU Espresso Love, it works for me. I dilute one gel per 6 oz of water and wear a water belt. This way, you don’t forget to take the gel, no fumbling trying to open the packet, and you aren’t dependant on the water stations. Plantar fascitis is so painful. Be sure to get some physio at some point! Good luck on race day and I’ll see you out there amongst the thousands 🙂

  4. Gwen

    I’m doing SVHM, too! I would particularly emphasize pacing yourself – don’t get caught up in chasing people who have a different strategy than you have. Looking forward to your race report and good luck on the run!

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