Sunday, April 15, 2012

First Race of the Year - 2012

Well I had kind of decided  that my first real race this season was going to be the Bluenose Half Marathon. All the Duathlons and Triathlons were starting later and there wasn`t really a race I felt ready for or excited about.

Then about a week ago I came across a listing for a race being put on by MEC. They had a kids race, a 5K and a 10K. My wife was excited about the 5K and I felt I could give the 10 a go. I wasn`t expecting much due to a huge hole in my training over the last few months. Also the price was great at $15, can`t beat that.

This was going to be a hard race with loads of up and down as the course zig zagged around Citadel Hill in downtown Halifax.  And it wasn`t just the hills. There was running through a rutty grass covered dry ditch section of the fort and a final lap around the ramparts, which included dodging the big guns of the fort and the steps and ruts up there. This was a trail run more than anything.

Check out that Garmin map

Again, I hadn`t really trained for a 10K as my sights were set on the half marathon coming up. But I had been doing some 5K at speed and some moderately fast 7.5K runs as well. And in the end I decided to treat this like a really hard training session with a great view of Halifax.

After we figured out the course, we had a lovely chat with a Soldier about Parks Canada, then a gun was fired and off we went. (By the way a 10 AM start time is lovely).

As we started off I took the lead with an excited burst of energy and held the lead for the first 1/2 km or so. Then I glanced at my Garmin and decided that pace was way too crazy (3:30 or so) and backed it off. Also as this was a "training" run I wore my heart rate monitor. It was screaming at me as I had previously set it up to "warn me" when my HR went too high. Well apparently 204 was a bit on the high side. Eventually by the end of the first lap things had settled to a nice even 177 or so. Yikes!

Eventually I managed to settle into a 4:20's pace and held that for much of the race. Around the fort, up and down hills, through the grass covered ditch, back to the road, into the fort and up on the walls (ramparts), then all over again.

I help 3rd place for almost the entire race (except for my brief flirtation with 1st place). It was on the final trip on the ramparts that the racer behind me finally started to catch up. I was spent and did my best to try and pick up the pace but it was to no avail. He finally caught and passed me with 200 meters to go or so.  I held on and did my best at a sprint, but just couldn't hang in there and settled for 4th place overall. I have no idea ultimately how many 10K runners there were, but I think it was probably around 40 or so.

My end time was 42:13 with an average pace of around 4:18. I was seriously happy with this time and the fact that now as I sit and type a few hours later I am not worn out. This bodes well for my goal of a sub 40 minute 10K run later this year. My only other stand alone 10K runs were Bluenose runs a few years back and the best I did there with an extra month and a bit of training, was a 47 something. So all this base training really is helping.

Next up, the Bluenose. Unless something interesting enough comes along I guess.


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