Friday, August 17, 2012

Dartmouth Natal Day Race 2012 - Back to Backs

So I choose shorter races (generally) due to my love of going all out fast for as long as I can. I find it hard to pace over longer distances and either end up mentally slowing down to a crawl or running out of steam.

What the heck does this have to do with the 6mi  Dartmouth Natal Day Race? Ordinarily nothing. It is a 6mi (just shy of 10K) so right up my alley and a perfect chance to aim for a sub 40 minute run. But this time I was coming off my previous day's Sprint Triathlon race in Bridgetown, where I went (you guessed it) all out for the race. As I mentioned in my previous post it wasn't so much the race itself that wore me out, but the added heat of the day (35C) and the early start and long drive home. All of these things said, "Rest up Ian!" But alas there was no rest for me.

I have never before done the Dartmouth Natal Day Race and I know it has a long and storied history, being 106 years old this year and due to work reasons I may or may not be around here next year. So I couldn't pass up the opportunity to try this out.

Well I felt okay waking up the morning after the Sprint Triathlon and got myself ready to race. I knew there was no way I could give this one 100%, but I still wanted to see what I had left in the tank.

Lining up for this race is rather tricky as this is a 3 lap course and there are 2 races happening at the same time, the 6mi and a 2mi. So the fastest people all line up at the front but you don't want to get in the way of the extra fast 2mi people. Anyway, I lined up near the 7mi / min sign thinking it would be a decent place to start.

I also want to point out that this day could not have been different weather-wise than the day before. It was drizzly, foggy and oh so humid.

The gun went off and I began the run. I was taking it easy for sure at the beginning, just hoping my legs would warm themselves up. Immediately my shins screamed and seized up but I soldiered on through lap one. By lap two things were loosening up and feeling a bit better so I was able to open up my stride a bit more. I wasn't even looking at my Garmin at this point, instead just trying to find a moderately comfortable pace to hold.

By lap three I was up to pace and holding my own. By this lap other than a few strollers and kids finishing the 2mi race / walk, most people were kind of holding station on what would be their finishing place.  But there are always a few people dying at this point in any running race (in the past it was always me), either due to heat, going out too fast or maybe an injury. So I passed a few people.

Going by the water table the final time I heard a voice behind me saying "Thanks for the pull." It was a guy who I had previously passed at the bottom of a small climb who had decided to draft me. That was fine, but my pace was a bit too much for me.

It wasn't too much for another runner though, who decided to tag onto me at that point. I could hear him behind me, but didn't worry too much as his breathing was very laboured. Instead I would slowly start to ramp up my pace just a bit more and he worked hard at staying on me. Unfortunately for him my increasing pace followed by his getting momentarily stuck behind a stroller, meant he fell off my draft and couldn't get back on. With the finish line a mere 1/4 mile away I wasn't about to slow down anyway and kept pushing my pace.

Up Ochterloney Street one last time and towards the finishing chute I ran, picking up steam and passing a few more people, to cross the line 43rd overall out of 420, and a crazy 20th place in my Age Group (darn 30 year old runners seem to flock to events) with a time of 40:10. I was pretty happy considering my slow pace to start and realizing what I may have been able to do with fresh legs.

So back to back races? It can be done easily, but make sure to pick your A race and give that one you best attention. And if you plan on pushing it in both? Well make sure to have a nice soft sofa waiting for you to crash on when you get home.
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