Monday, April 28, 2008

TC 10k - April 27, 2008

I arrived to the race scene early, as I was concerned about the parking situation downtown. I proceeded to walk to the Parliment Buildings to do a gear drop. After dropping off my gear, I chatted with a fellow club runner, Mark Ritchie. He was coming off an injury and this was his first race back.
So I headed toward the start line. It was, no doubt, going to be a huge race. With close to 10,000 entries, it would be important for me to run my own race, and find some space to do that. In doing my warm-up, I saw the some of the stars in the race. There was a decent handful of Olympic hopefuls in the race.
I positioned myself in the sub-40 section, and got jammed in when the ribbon was dropped 1 minute prior to the race starting. I was definitely not quite far enough in front, but now that I was jammed in, there was nothing I could do at this point.
The race started, and my focus for the first minute was to make sure I didn't bail. There were feet everywhere on the narrow road.
For the first 3k, I ran very well, and ran very strong. I felt like this could be the race.
My splits were as follows:
1k: 3:38
3k: 10:57
5k: 18:40
Around the 5k point, I began to struggle to hold my pace. Chris Callendar, who I was running beside, had dropped me. I was determined not to let myself slow down into that endurance rhythm. However, as luck would have it, this was impossible. I slowed down and really struggled for the next 2k. People passed me over and over. My bladder was full, I was sweating, my stomach didn't feel great, and my legs felt jelly-like. I began to think of the 90 minute hike the day before in Mt. Doug Park. Could it be that I had done too much the previous two days?
At the 7k mark, when the course flattened out, I saw my family cheering for me, and I smiled and said "bad race". However, I dug in my heels and pursued on. I wanted to increase my pace for the final couple of km.
The clock read 28:00. I quickly did the Math and figured I would need sub 4 min k's to break the 40 mark. I knew I could do this, and by this point, I thought I was looking at a 39+ finishing time.
However, the course was ideal in this section. I sped through it as best as I was able. I figured I must have sped up, as I actually passed one person. As I rounded the final section, I was anxious to see the clock. Needless to say, I was shocked to see it say 38.
I crossed through at 38:30. A great first 3k, a great last 3k, but a section in the middle I would rather forget. Nevertheless, a PB.
If I actually wanted to be a solid 10k runner, there were clearly some things I would need to work on.
Anyways, time to look forward to the next event.
2 weeks until the next major trail run: The North Coast Trail...

Monday, April 14, 2008

Sooke 10k - April 13, 2008

After spending the weekend with the family at Kemp Lake, I thought it would be convenient to do this race on the way back into town.
Over the past week, I have been feeling pretty good. Having said that, the week prior I was out for 6 days and in physio after tweaking my back severely.
Therefore, I didn't really know what to expect. I made it my goal to simply improve on last year's time of 39:02, which would definitely place me somewhere in the 38's. It still seems a little odd to me that I train as fast and as hard as all the 37 minute runners, but I cannot seem to hold that pace for more than about 4k.
After the usual warm-up, I placed myself on the start line and scoped out my competition. The usual suspects were there, minus a few. It didn't look like the biggest field to me for some reason. Anyways, the race started off well for me. I wanted to go out quickly, but definitely not too quickly. It would kill me later to rip off a 3 minute k from the outset.
The Sooke course starts off flat, but then goes slightly uphill for the first 2k. By 3k it is flat, but the road is windy as heck. Great race to practice tangenting. At the 4k mark, there is a monster hill down, and then by 5k it is flat once more. The next 5k are coming back. All the downs now become ups.
I was determined this time to run my own race. I was not going to let others dictate my pace. For this reason, when I saw Gary Duncan speed ahead, I let him go. After the first k, my split was 3:36. Perfect. Right where I wanted to be. And it looked like I saw in about 20th place as well. At the 2k mark, my split was 3:50. Again, a good split considering it is mainly uphill.
I seemed to hold my pace well until the downhill section. By this point, a few people had passed me, but I was alright with this; I was running my own race.
At the bottom of the downhill, I must have slowed down. In typical fashion, I slow down around the 5k mark, as my body seems to want to find that endurance pace. I gave in and let my body take in another 1.5k of slow endurance running. I needed this to gather steam for the huge hills that lie ahead anyways.
When the monster hill finally came, I was determined to speed right up and catch the people infront of me. As the hill came, I sped right up, and so did the people infront of me - it seems they had the same idea! As I hit the 7k mark, another guy had been hot on my heels and he eventually passed me. I said to myself enough is enough, and I stuck to this guy. I think he was surprised by me sticking around. It was now clear by the time we hit the 8k mark, that this guy and I had really uped the tempo. I checked my watch. It basically told me that I needed a crazy finish to go under 39 minutes. However, it was mostly downhill, and I knew if I could blast until the 9.5k mark, the cheering of my family could pull me in.
And that is basically what happened. In spite of my best efforts, the guy eventually dropped me, but my pace was enough to get me to my family in decent time. As I approached them, I could hear them screaming for me. And not just the adults either. Little Teagan and Griffin were cheering just as loudly as the rest in the crowd. As I rounded the last bend, they was slight hope that I could re-pass the guy who was infront of me. I was now in a full sprint to the finish line. As I crossed the line, I saw the clock at 38:59.
It was a good race for me; a time to be pleased with at this point in my training. With most of my efforts now on endurance rather than speed, this is a solid result for me. It wasn't a PB, but the Sooke 10k course is hardly a place to do that. It was a slight improvement off last year's time, and it sets me up very well for the upcoming TC 10k in 2 weeks.