Saturday, November 13, 2010

Thetis 20K Relay

November 11, 2010

This is my 6th time out for this fun low key event. This year sold out all 600 spots yet again and saw a record 152 teams and solos finish. This is a Prairie Inn Harrier hosted event which attracts a large contingent of members so it is always a great opportunity to socialize and cheer others on.

Last year I raced solo with a respectable 6th place overall finish. This year my fellow Aspire athletes put together a strong team consisting of Sean Chester, Shawn Nelson, Nick Walker, and myself. I could be considered to be the weakest link on the team since all 3 of other have personal bests faster than mine for most distances. Because of this, I had put some pressure on myself to pull out a decent race. There was some discussion about weather or not we would have a chance of bettering the course record of 59:30 set back in 2004, but I dismissed it as unlikely because the course has been altered slightly as is now longer than it used to be.

We still would face some good competition however, in the form of a strong UVic team and a team from the Westwood Lake Running Club. Shawn went first facing a fast field and ran exceptionally well cruising in at 15:31 in 1st place. Now it would be up to the rest of us to keep it that way. Sean went 2nd, running well to attain a 16:17 time and extending out lead to over a minute. Nick, only recently back from a trip to Hawaii, came in at 16:40 and passed off to me. I didn't know exactly what the gap to the next team was, but knew that I had to run hard to make sure I didn't get caught.

I took off at a pretty brisk pace and felt the strain pretty much right away. There really is no time where things are "comfortable" when running a 5k - it is painful from the start to the finish. To perform at you best, you need to be right near the lactate threshold for the duration. I was able to move well although I was feeling a bit of fatigue in my legs. I weaved in and out of other racers on the 2rd and 3rd laps as I made my way around Upper Thetis Lake. Soon I was on the final section on Lower Thetis which includes a couple of little hills which I powered up as best I could. At this point, there was no one in close pursuit so I figured we were probably safe, but continued to hammer away. I had decent legs for a surge at the finish, pulling in at 16:29 which turned out to be enough for the win with a cumulative time of 1:04:57. It wasn't my best ever performance, but I felt that I held it together pretty well and was able to finish strong.

Near the finish. Photo Credit: Sonja Yli-Kahila

UVic's Jackson 4 came in 2nd just 1:23 behind so it is good that I didn't doddle out there. Westwood RC came in 17 sec back of UVic so 2nd place was hotly contested. Other Harrier teams did very well picking up wins in solo (Keith Mills), Master men, Senior Mixed and Veteran Men categories. It was awesome to see so many people out enjoying the day (it started to rain near only after most people had finished) and supporting this Harrier race which is a great fundraiser for the club. I will be back to Thetis very soon for the Gunner Shaw on Nov 27th.


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