Sunday, February 13, 2011

Cedar 12k

February 6, 2011

As usual, the season is already flying past with Cedar being the 3rd of 8 races. Being an unusual distance, it is still the one and only 12k I have competed in, this was my 5th running of it having only missed last year since my first time doing it in 2006. Despite a couple of good sized hills, I have generally ran well here posting progressively faster times each year. This year, I was hoping for a good time, but was still suffering from lack of proper sleep as I go though patches where my sleep is less than ideal from time to time. I hoped it would not be a big factor. The last time I race Cedar was back in 2009 when I ran 41:31. This year, I was hoping to somewhere in the 40:xx range.

A number Harriers headed up together since Cedar is about an hour and a half north of Victoria near Nanamio. Besides being saving fossil fuels and being more economical, it is also great for comradery. The weather on the drive up was rainy and it seems likely that it would be a soggy run. Fortunately, by the time we reach the race venue things dried up and would stay that way for a few hours, long enough so that everyone stayed dry.

After a brief warm-up with Sonja, I stripped down to shorts and singlet and tried to stay warm while making my way to the start line. The warm-up had felt average so I was optimistic that the race would be at least average. The main contenders for top placements were Jim Finlayson, Sean Chester, Craig Odermatt, Shawn Nelson, Nick Walker, and out of town elite Rejean Chiasson. Once we were off, I settled into a comfortable pace and soon found myself in 4th place behind Jim and Sean who pulled off the line very hard and Craig who as usual was just out of reach. I was surprised to find myself ahead of Shawn and Rejean whom I had been told had impressive race times.

The first 2 kilometers were a little fast at 3:15 each, but I felt in control so continued on. Soon I found that Rejean had gone out easy as he caught up and passed me around the 2k marker. I briefly passed him back on an uphill section after 3k, but on the next flat section he sped up and was soon well ahead. I was running my own race and knew that trying to match him would have made me pay dearly later in the race. I continued to feel strong and posted strong splits though 5k. The 6th km includes a long gradual grade up that cut into my pace, but I was still able to hit the halfway point at a sub 40min pace. It was quicker than expected, but I knew that it would be tough to maintain on the return since there were more hills on the way back.

Craig was only 10 or 15s ahead at the 6k mark, but as we made our way back he inched ahead. Craig is strong on the hills and I was not able to make any ground up on him on the climbs. For most of the race, I was expecting Shawn to catch up and pass me as it has been some time since I have beaten him at any race. Only once I passed the 10k marker did I actually think I might stay ahead. I paid a little for my initial brisk pace on the final 5k with splits that were a little slower than I would have liked. I didn't feel terrible, but was certainly starting to fatigue.

Keeping the form up around 10.5k. Photo credit: Andrew Pape-Salmon

I struggled though the last few hundred meters on the wet grass field and ran an OK final km crossing the finish in 40:24, overall a pretty strong time for me and my second best points for an IRS race only behind Bazan 2010. As a bonus, I was even managed to get an under elite age group benchmark time for this race although due to the rarely run distance this is much easier than normal. I was 5th overall, 27s behind Craig. Jim crushed the field and the course record with a 37:11 clocking and Rejean finished well for 2nd overall with Sean taking 3rd. Care Wakely took the win for the women in 45:17 just edging out Melissa Ross. Results.

My splits: 3:15, 3:15, 3:17, 3:22, 3:15, 3:28, (6k split: 19:51) 3:21, 3:21, 3:30, 3:29, 3:27, 3:24

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