Sunday, March 4, 2012

Bazan Bay 5k

March 4, 2012

Bazan Bay is the last race in my of Island Race Series calendar this year and also 3rd in as many weeks. This distance is always painful as it is so intense since the entire effort is well under the lactate threshold (my LT is around 3:24/km). Last year I ran quite well here (15:36) and this year I hoped to be able to get under 15:30. Honestly though, I wasn't particularly looking forward to the race itself since it is such a tough effort even iwhen it goes well.

Due to construction, the course was altered this year to a pure out and back race starting near the Washington State Ferries terminal on Lochside Drive and heading south 2.5km before turning back to the finish. It is fairly flat, but has a mild climb from 1-2km of about 10m and a few other very minor elevation changes. Unfortunately, despite being calm in Victoria, a steady breeze was coming off the water in Sidney and this meant that on the way out there was a bit of a headwind. It wasn't brutal, but was still significant.

Unlike last year, which was a relatively shallow field (compared to other years), this year the race was stacked, both on the men's and women's side. Large contingents of speedy runners from the National Triathlon Club, UVic Vikes, Point Grey Track Club, and Speed River Club were in attendance and would end up dominating the race.

With the large field, the start line was a bit crowded and everyone had to be careful to not get trampled once the gun went off. Unfortunately, I guess one guy was tripped on the line and went down. Hopefully he still finished OK. There was also a bit of gun jumping which meant that I went instantly from being on the front line to about 20th place. Its not really a big deal overall, but it is annoying when people don't wait for the gun.

A large group formed in front and I soon found that I had fallen off that pace despite moving at what felt like a quick rate. Normally, this would have been fine and I generally prefer to run my own race especially on the road, but because of the wind I found myself quite exposed with only a couple of other guys running around me. After about 500-600m of this, I decided that I should try and bridge the gap to the group ahead to give me some protection from the wind. I surged to accomplish the task, but it turned out to be a bit more of an effort than I expected. It did lead to a quick opening km in 3:01 which could be good or bad depending on what happened later. It didn't turn out to be very effective, however, since by the time I actually made it to the group, it had started to splinter and I didn't gain much wind blocking advantage. Also, it took a bit out of me and I had to throttle back a bit to recover and with the wind and slight uphill grade I slowed to 3:16, a full 10s off my goal pace. It wasn't going to be easy to make that back.

I picked it up a bit more on the next km, but with the turnaround it was still a relatively slow 3:11. At this point, I was in about 12th place, but around 3km, Nick Walker breezed passed me and I felt that I was already at a maximal effort and couldn't respond without blowing up. Nick is strong at this distance so I wasn't shocked, but it is still a bit disappointing to be passed. As is always the case in a 5k, the last 2k or so are really excruciating and this race was no different. At this point, every minute feels like 10 and it is all you to do to will your body to keep going. Fortunately, we did have wind assist on the way back so faster splits than normal were possible. My 4th km, was back on track with a 3:06, and I dug in for the final kilometre. Soon after, Ian Hallam went flying past me, just hammering out the final section of the course. I tried to go with him, but he redoubled his efforts and I didn't have anything more. I still managed an reasonable sprint to the finish and with a final 2:59km, actually managed to salvage the race to end with a 1s PB in 15:35.

I was 14th overall, down 7 places from last year, attesting to the depth of the field. I somehow still managed to place first in the M35 category - sometimes is pays to be a bit older! Geoff Martinson broke the course record with a 14:20 performance. Even more impressive was Malindi Elmore's performance winning the woman's division in 15:48 and setting a new all time IRS new points record of 943. There were a number of other great performances and records set on the day which are summed up nicely by Bob Reid on the PIH Runner of the Week writeup for March 4.

My post race volume training of 27km at a steady pace went well and I felt strong until the last 15 min or so. I even happened to come upon ironman triathete, Adam O'Meara, who was finishing up a large 2x60 min session and was running just under 4min km's, very close to my run pace.


Splits: 3:01, 3:16, 3:11, 3:06, 2:59

1 comment:

Chris Callendar said...

The start was a bit crazy. I was directly behind the guy who fell, and luckily was able to instinctively jump over him without falling or kicking him. He passed me around the 2 km marker and said he was fine, so that is good to hear.


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