May 13, 2013
It has been far too long since I have updated this blog. I have been racing again so should get at least a bit of race reports up here. Life has been full this year so far. Sonja and I welcomed our little girl, Kyla, into the world in January so that has been pretty exciting. I also purchased a motorcycle because I heard somewhere it is the normal thing to do when you have a kid. Despite all of this, I am still finding time to train and race although not quite a much of either as before.
My glute injury that sidelined me for a couple of moths has almost entirely cleared up although I still feel twinges now and again. I did have a foot issue a few weeks ago that came out of nowhere, but that too has fixed itself. My running volume is only hovering around 40-50k per week right now although much of this is done at intensity. I did manage to complete four races in April and here are brief write-ups on each.
April 13th: Bob Reid`s Magical Mile
The Mile distance is not one that I compete at often. In fact, this is only the second one I have ever done. In support of a Prairie Inn Harriers event and to try something a bit novel, I decided to give it a shot. The course took place on the Galloping Goose Trail near Thetis Lake Regional Park. It took the form of an out and back course which isn`t ideal with such a short race but didn`t turn out to be as big of a factor as I originally thought. Since the trail is relatively narrow and was to have two way traffic, there was not a mass start. Each runner started a few seconds apart based on their estimated finish time. This meant that there wouldn`t be a lot of passing going on. For the most part, you would be racing against the clock which is not something that I have done much in a race environment.
In my age category, I was the third seed runner behind Byron Trajan and a runner I didn`t know, Cobus De Klerk. Normally, I have been a bit faster than Bryon in longer races, but Byron is a very good sprinter and I was not in top form so this seeding seemed appropriate.
Once we started, the race really flew by. Before I knew it, 400m were gone, then 600m. I could see that I was gaining on Cobus and by the time we hit half way, I had gained 3 seconds on him. With about 300m to go, I managed to pass him. I sprinted the last 100m coming in at a 4:51.03. Slower than my best 4:38.5 that I ran on the track in 2011, but considering that this course is slower due to some elevation plus the turn around, I was satisfied with my time given my fitness level. Byron ran about 6 seconds faster.
April 14th: MEC Lochside 10k:
This the the second year Mountain Equipment Co-op has put on a run series in Victoria (they have them all of the country as well). They are meant to be inexpensive low key events. At just $15 for entry they are certainly inexpensive. I really like to support these more minimalist races as I feel that too many running events are too elaborate and profit driven with shirts, other swag, piles of food, aid stations etc.
This particular race was similar to the one I did last year around this time. The main difference was that it was changed from a 7k to a 10k race. The start and finish was the same location at Lochside Elementary and the first 6k was close to the same; an out and back on the Lochside Trail. This year though, just before the 6k mark the course veered into the residential area. Once off the nearly flat trail, the course was much slower with a lot of rolling hills, corners, and small connecting trails. My pace dropped considerably.
Eventual second place finisher held on with me for the first 1.5 km before fading back a bit. I averaged a 3:27 pace for the first six km on the relatively quick trail. Once on the slower sections, I slowed down by about 20s/km. I didn't feel great during the race, but not terrible either. I concentrated on just staying steady and getting the job done. I finished in 35:46 - nothing spectacular for sure, but on a flatter paved course, I was confident that I could do a least a minute faster.
April 21st: Sooke River 10k:
The last race of the Island Race series, Sooke River is an out and back race on a rolling course. It is not particularly fast but not brutal either. I had no illusions that I would run a spectacular time here, but instead wanted to run smart and finish feeling strong. I'd be happy with anything approaching 34 min.
I started out with the lead group consisting of Nick Walker, Jonathan Gendren, Logan Roots, and Derek Vinge. However, after a kilometer or two they started to pull away as I settled into my own pace. Things were feeling fine, but I knew that even a few seconds per km faster could push me too far. Looking ahead the front group had started to splinter with Derek dropping off the back. I noticed that I was gaining on him and I was able to push past him just before the turn around. It also looked as if Logan was having a bit of trouble and had fallen off the front. Logan has been racing quite well this year, so being near him was better than I expected.
As we tackled the hills on the way back to the finish, I thought I might even be able to bridge the gap to Logan as I did make up some ground on the climbs. However, I just couldn't do enough and he held on to 3rd place. I had a decent sprint to the finish crossing in 34:18, well over a minute slower than I ran on this same course in 2011, but within my expectations of where I am fitness-wise. Nick opened a huge gap on Jonathon to win in 32:45.
April 28th: Times Colonist 10k:
To my surprise, I realized that this was my 11th consecutive time doing the TC as it was my first ever race (outside of track in high school) back in 2003. I knew next to nothing about training and racing at that time. I did run for a couple of months mostly on the treadmill and managed to run a sub 45min time which wasn't too bad considering I wasn't really a runner at that time (the next year I didn't train at all and faded to an painful 48min finish and was sore for a week). Fortunately with some actual training, things have improved a bit for me since then.
Falling just a week after Sooke River, I hoped to improve on that time a bit on the easier course and more people to pace off of. I was gunning for a sub 34 time. For the first few kilometres things progressed more or less as expected although I was moving a bit faster than a 34 min pace (3:24) at around 3:20. The biggest hill climb comes just before the 5k mark and this year this is also the time where some headwind was felt. Nothing too fierce, but strong enough to be a factor. On this hill up to mile zero, I was able to make up quite bit of ground on a pack of runners ahead of me and pass about 5 of them. As I neared the crest of the hill just passed 6km, things were definitely feeling tough for me. I had to ease back a bit and as sometimes happened to me, some of those I passed on the climb fought their way back ahead of me on the gradual downhill.
I ground out the final few kilometers feeling just in control which is about as good as you can expect at this point in the race. With half a km to go, I picked up the pace, managing to pick up a place or two in the process and just edging out Adam O'Meara, but not managing to catch Mark Cryderman who had been in the pack I had ducked in and out of. My final km was completed in 3:09 so it was a pretty strong finish for me. My finishing time was 33:48, slightly ahead of my expectations and especially surprising considering the wind factor. Overall, I was happy with how it came together.
2 weeks ago