Saturday, January 30, 2010

Cobble Hill 10K

January 24, 2010

Since I am already behind in posting this, I'll skip most of my usual preamble. My training has been going fairly well although I was a bit concerned that the extra volume would leave my legs fatigued for the race. Fortunately, while my legs were heavy the day before, they ended up feeling good during the race. I had slept well the night before, but woke up feeling pretty groggy and during the drive up felt much more like crawling back into bed than running 10k. I had a bit of coffee and once we were under way I was pleasantly surprised at how good I felt.

While some people claim that Cobble is a fast course, I don't find it particularly so. It is not overly difficult, but contains quite a number of small hills that soak up the seconds. Last year I posted a 34:20 here, and this year anything less than that would have been quite disappointing. Ideally, I would be able to get a time around 33:30 (3:21 pace) , but I would have been satisfied with a sub 34 min time.

The first 2 kilometers of this course are fast with a net elevation loss so I wasn't worried I was going to hard when I posted two sub 3:15 splits. There is a turn around just before the 2km marker for a short out and back section, and I felt comfortable while making the turn and then pushing hard back up the hill. I passed Mark Nelson on the climb and set my sights on Ian Hallam, Eric Findlay, and Nick Walker who were running together a little ways in front of me. Around the 3km mark, still feeling strong, I decided it was time to bridge the gap and quickly managed to pull even. I knew what times these guys usually run and thought that if I could hang in there with them, I would be doing well. Kilometers 3-5 are mostly a gradual climb and hills still being my friend, I set the pace for a short time. Soon we also reeled in Swawn Nelson who was slowing somewhat.

My 5k split was 16:42 which I was quite pleased with as it set me up nicely for a solid PB as long as I could avoid falling apart in the last half. Unfortunately, I started to feel the fast pace around 6km and Ian, Eric, and Nick slowly began to pull away. I could have dug deep to hang in there with them, but that may have lead to disaster since there was still 4km. Instead, ran my own race and concentrated on keeping the rhythm going. I continued to run with Shawn and keep my effort and pace pretty steady for the next couple of km. I actually thought that I would be able to drop Shawn since he seemed to be struggling a bit, but around 8.5km he put a surge on that I had difficultly responding too. I tried to power though the last km in an attempt to close the gap and managed to hammer it into the finish line for a final 3:13 km, but couldn't quite catch up.

My final time was 33:31 good for 10th place (and a surprising 1st in the M3034 category) and a 10 sec PB over my 2009 Sun Run time. Better still, it was a respectable 49 sec improvement over my 2009 time on this course. AP Balliargeon-Smith from the National Triathlon Centre won in just under 32 minutes, edging out Kenyon Nixon Kiprotich and Sean Chester. The top woman was Magali Tisseyre coming in around 36min. Other notable performances go to my girlfriend, Sonja, who took a whopping 1:30 off her best 10k (particularly impressive on this course) and Jeff Hunt, who also set a PB and seems to be getting faster all the time.

Overall, I was quite pleased with the way things went. My PB was not huge, but considering it is not a particularly fast course and it is still early in the road season, I feel I am well on my way to posting a sub 33 time in April at the TC and Sun Run. Final results.

Full splits:
3:12, 3:14, 3:25, 3:19, 3:32 (5k split: 16:42), 3:22, 3:21, 3:25, 3:27, 3:13

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