Thursday, October 14, 2010

Goodlife Fitness Victoria 8k

Oct 10, 2010

The Victoria Marathon/Half Marathon and 8k (and kids race) constitute the largest running event of the year in Victoria (the Times Colonist 10k also comes close). As a runner it is really a treat to participate since I not only get to run one of the races, but also touch base with and cheer on tons of other people. This year saw yet another record field with 14,080 participants signed up for the four races as the popularity of this event continues to grow. It is great to see so many people challenging themselves. I see this as only a positive thing in terms of healthy living. People had better be getting some exercise if they are going to be eating food like the Double Down. I'm sure a vegetable has never been in contact with that monstrosity.

But I degrees. In terms of my race goals for the 8k, they were pretty modest. Since my Lands End 10k was such a disaster and my 5000m track in August below expectations, I didn't know what I would be able to pull off with this one. I was feeling that I was getting back into my groove over the last few weeks, but didn't think I was quite where I was earlier in the year. With that in mind, I figured that anything under 27 min would be decent. My PB at this distance is 26:35 set this January at the Pioneer 8k - I did not expect to better that.

I headed down in the dark with Garth (who was also doing the 8k) for the 7:15am race start. We were running a bit late, but still had a bit of time to warm up before the gun went. I felt a bit flat on the warm-up, but I know this isn't a good indicator to race performance so I didn't give it much thought. Once the race started, I soon realized that the depth of competitors was a little less than normal. I was in about 9th place within 500m and invariably there are always a couple of eager guys who fall back after destroying themselves 1k into the race. This year was no exception as I passed two of them before hitting the 1k marker and found myself in 7th place. The leaders were race favorites Dylan Gant, Kevin Frisen, Peter Corrigan. Shawn Nelson was not far behind and then came was his brother Mark Nelson and Blair Johnston. Within a km I noticed that Mark was falling off pace and I soon passed him. Unfortunately, it was not his day and after struggling for a couple of more kilometers, he pulled the plug.

It was early in the race, but by 2-3k I was pleased with how I was feeling since I was comfortable and controlled. I kept the pace up as much as possible as the course gradually rose to Mile 0. Part way up the climb I managed to pass Blair and I made sure I did it with some authority to dissuade him from latching on to me. The hill did eat into my pace with the my slowest splits being 3:25 for the 3rd km and the 5km (on the way back to Mile 0), but this was expected. I continued to feel strong and was able to keep the pace strong. I know that once we crested Mile 0 again, it is pretty much flat or downhill the whole way back (with one tiny hill with 1.5k to go).

Blair had not gotten far behind though and passed me back around the 6k mark. I contemplated staying with him, but decided to keep my own rhythm and let him put a few meters on me. With one kilometer to go, I felt I had a little bit left and pushed the gas pedal a bit, closing the gap and pulling ahead. I honestly felt that I had him at that point since usually people want to stay with you this close to the finish and if they don't it usually means they can't. He was far from done though and with 700m to do I could hear him coming, I pushed harder. With 500m to go, he was still coming, so I opened it up just a bit more. With 100m to go, he was just a step behind me and the race turned into a full out sprint for us. By the end, he was able to get a toe in front of me and was able to nudge into 5th spot (we had identical finishing times). It would have been nice to win, but I'm happy to be able to have given it my all. Blair was also only 19, so I think being able to almost match his youthful speed wasn't too bad.

Giving it our all at the finish. Photo Credit: Goodlife Fitness Marathon

I finished with a chip time of 26:31 (gun time was 26:33) which was good for 6th place, an age category win and most surprising of all, a 4s PB. I have to thank Blair for the PB, as I'm sure I would not have killed myself like that if there had been no one to try and beat. Peter ended up winning in 24:30, with Shawn coming in 4th in 25:43. Top woman was Kirsten Sweetland in 27:38.

I knew a number of others racing the half and full marathon. I watch some of the top finishers in the half come through and then cleaned up and got a bit of food into me and before heading out on my bike to check out the marathon participants. Sonja was running her debut marathon and I intended to park my bike with around 10k to go and run the last section of the course with her. Unfortunately, I underestimated her speed a little and just missed her. Finally realizing this, I hopped back on the bike and biked madly to catch back up finally finding her with just a couple km to go. Unsurprisingly, she was hurting at this point, but was still running faster than many of those around her. She finished it off and was only around 3 min off her ideal goal of 3:20, pretty good for a first marathon and a windy day. The wind wrecked havoc on the marathon, with times slower than normal and brutal positive splits the order of the day. Of those finishing in under 4 hours, only 6.8% ran a negative split while the average time for the second half was over 10 min longer than the first. I'm glad I wasn't trying to vie for a particular time that day.

Final Results

My splits: 3:11, 3:19, 3:25, 3:22 (13:16 4k), 3:25, 3:20, 6:34 (final 2k)


Erin said...

might want to fix the winning 8km times!! They seem a tad slow for 8km ;)

Erin said...

congrats on the pb by the way

Shaner said...

Thanks for the correction Erin...34 min for a winning 8k does seem a tad slow! Congrats on your "satifactory" half.

Brad Cunningham said...

That's a great finishing picture (and time)! I seem to recall a Bazan Bay picture that looks eerily similar.

Well done!


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