Saturday, January 29, 2011

Cobble Hill 10k

January 23, 2011

This race, the second of the 2011 Island Race Series, was a bit of a last minute decision for me. I had already picked out the five races from the series that would get me enough points to qualify for series standings (Pioneer, Cedar, Hatley Castle, Bazan, and Sooke River) so didn't really need to do this one. As usual, however, I couldn't resist the urge to race. Besides, since I would have gone up to cheer on Sonja and other friends anyway, racing made sense.

My training leading up to the race had been going well although my sleep in the couple of days leading up to the race was not ideal, I was hopeful that I could still race fairly well. I wasn't expecting to top my 2010 Times Colonist time on this more challenging course, but based on my Pioneer performance was hoping to pick up a modest course PB of 10 or 15 seconds (last year I ran 33:31).

My warm-up was kind of flat, but I have learned to not give much heed to how I feeling before the race as it seems to have little bearing on how I actually feel on the course. Conditions were a bit cool so I rushed back to the school that was used for race central with a few minutes to spare to drop off my long sleeve. By the time I made it back to the start line a few hundred metres down the road at 10:55, I nearly missed the start since they started a couple minutes early. Perhaps I should not cut it so close next time...

I enjoyed watching a young kid sprint crazy-ally ahead only to and fall well back before hitting 500m. There was also another guy who took off with the leaders who didn't die fast despite the fact that he really didn't look like an elite runner as he was sporting a cotton tee and long shorts. I was quite shocked that he was able to hold on for about two kilometres with the lead group even though his running form looked inefficient and strained from the start. I think this guy was Thomas Marrs and despite his quick start he managed to hang on well and run a very respectable 35:07 for 6th place overall.

As usual I tried to run at my own pace and not worry too much about keeping up with anyone in particular. Logan was ahead along with Sean Chester, Shawn Nelson, and Craig Odermatt leaving me in 5th position after the initial sorting out. The first km went by fast in 3:06, but felt comfortable, then we headed down hill a bit on an out and back section. After the 2nd kilometer, I was surprised to find myself closing in on Sean, Shawn, and Craig (Logan had fallen back slightly) and we were soon running together. This is the first time I have ever been in the lead pack during an Island Race Series race so it felt strange. I was thinking "Am I going to fast?", but we were not really going that fast and I felt well in control. Just before the 3k marker, Sean accelerated ahead and I later learned that this race was more of a training/tactics race for him and he could have certainly gone faster off the line.

I half expected to see Shawn go with him as he is definitely capable of putting down a fast time, but instead within a few hundred metres he actually fell back behind Craig and myself. I knew then, that something was wrong and later found out that he pulled out due to a tight chest. Kind of a bummer for him for sure. I ran side by side with Craig up the slight grade from 3km to the turn-around at 5.5km. I was feeling pretty good, but around 4.5km, Craig started to slowly pull away and I felt that I didn't have the ability to stay with him without compromising the later kilometres of the race. Craig is very consistent and always finishes his races strong so I was not too surprised to not be able to hang on (although someday soon I am hoping to be able to do that).

I hit the halfway point at 16:40, on pace for a 33:20 race, right where I wanted to be. Unfortunately, while there is some downhill on the way back to the finish, there are also some rolling hills that cut into your time along with inevitable fatigue that starts to set in. I managed to maintain a respectable pace though the next few kilometres but did lose a couple of seconds compared to my first half. Craig was now more than 30s ahead of me and Sean was close to a minute ahead and with no one close behind, it was really just a race against the clock for me. Paul was at the last corner encouraging myself and others along and telling me to relax the shoulders. I picked it up a bit and was able to close the final km in a decent 3:16, finishing in 33:30, just 1s faster than last year. I had hoped to be a bit faster, but still did run a PB on this course, even if it is the smallest one possible. I the plus side I did place 3rd overall which is my best placing to date in an Island Race Series. Where are the elite runners this year? Overall it was kind of a B race for me - not bad, but not spectacular either.

Congrats to Sean for winning his first ever Island Race Series. He is running exceptionally well this year so I think he will shatter some PB's. Sonja continued her amazing improvements running under 41 minutes for the first time. A 10k time with a 3 in front of it is just around the corner I think.


Splits (some of the markers were off since the first seems too short, the second too long, the fourth too short and the fifth too long)
3:06, 3:23, 3:20, 3:17, 3:34, (5k split: 16:40) 3:23, 3:21, 3:27, 3:22, 3:16

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