Thursday, October 15, 2009

Royal Victoria Marathon 8K

October 11, 2009

Here is a quick race report just to get something up here before I head to Salt Spring Island for the weekend. This year marked the 30th anniversary of the event and there were a record number of participants doing either the 8k, half marathon, or full marathon.

As I mentioned in some previous posts, due to some vacation time over the summer, my training, though remaining generally decent was not as consistent or intense as it usually is. This coupled with the fact that I hadn't run a road race since the Times Colonist in April left me wondering what sort of performance I could expect. A PB seemed unlikely, although if things went really well it was possible. My best 8K came last year at the RVM where I ran a solid race in 26:45. I figured anything in the 27-28 minute range would be decent, anything better a bonus.

The race started at 7:15 so about 20 minutes before, I did a short warm-up which felt reasonable although not amazing. I made my way through the crowd of runners to the front of the starting line just a few minutes before the gun. After the countdown, the usual rush of overexcited runners blasted off. By the first turn (about 400m), the race favorite, Scott Simpson, was already way ahead of the main pack and was moving at an incredible rate. I heard that he may have been trying to beat the course record of 23:23 set way back in 1989. Unfortunately for Scott, he may have gone out too hard as I later heard that he pulled out at the 4km mark.

The first 2km didn't feel that comfortable for me. My breathing was more laboured that it should have been this early in the race and it felt like I was working a little too hard. Fortunately, this soon passed and I started to feel fairly good once we neared Ogden Point. I somehow missed the first km marker, but hit the second at 6:35 for an average of around 3:17 - probably a little fast, but not unexpected for the start of this race. On the long gradual climb up to Mile Zero, I was feeling strong and made up some significant ground on some of the runners in front of me and passed several. I didn't know most of the runners around me, but Shelby Drope wasn't far ahead and Mark Nelson was just a little ways further. I figured that if I could reel in one or both of them I would be doing well.

I completed the 3rd km in 3:23 which good considering it is primarily uphill. I lost a couple of seconds on the next km, probably partly due to the turnaround. I briefly caught up to and passed Shelby before the 5km mark, but on the downhill (where I still struggle to maintain as fast as pace as others of my caliber) he caught back up and ever so slowly pulled ahead over the next few kilometers. A guy running in toe sock shoes (basically just a thin cover over the feet) caught up to me around the 6km mark and we worked together for a little while. The pace was holding steady at around 3:24 for the final km which was good since it meant that I hadn't burnt myself out too early.

I seasoned veteran, Kevin McGinnis, from Washington State ran with me for the last 2 km or so and his encouragement did help me get a little bit more out of my body. He said, "go for it, I can tell you have a lot more in you," and it was definitely true that I didn't seem to suffering as much as normal at this point in the race. Thanks to him, I picked up my pace more than I might have otherwise and powered towards the finish. I started to reel in Shelby for a while, but he sprinted with a few hundred meters to go and I just didn't have enough time to catch him. A hundred meters out, I looked at the clock and saw that it was nearing 27:00, but wasn't quite there yet. I sprinted at full speed trying to get in under that magical minute marker. Based on my chip time I did it, getting a 26:59 (although my official gun time was 27:00 even). My time was good for 11th place overall (3rd in my age group) which was very similar to last year (where I was 10th and 3rd respectively).

Although I was 15 seconds slower than my PB, I was satisfied with my race. For some reason I just wasn't as psyched as I usual for this race and a few times out on the course I didn't push myself as much as I could have. Still, this race shows me that I am basically the same fitness level as last year (and as fit as I have ever been). This is good news to me as I plan to take my training to a new level this winter and next spring with a coach and proper program and now know that I will be entering into that training in good shape.

I knew a good number of people running the half and the full marathon so it was great to stay and watch them finish their races. Most of the people I know ran well with many PB's - congrats to all! Final results are here.

My spits were: 6:35 (2km) , 3:23, 3:24, 3:26, 3:24, 6:48 (2km).

On another note, check out Sonja Yli-Kahila's new running blog where she writes about her racing and training experience from the non elite perspective. You can read about her RVM half marathon race there.

No comments:


Free Blog Counter
Poker Blog