Sunday, January 12, 2014

2014 Race 1 and Done - MEC PPP 5K

Well here we are in January already and though my training plan is aimed strictly at the Bluenose Half Marathon in May, I couldn't pass up the local MEC 5K race just down the road from me. Well that was until the weather forecast called for practically a hurricane.

 As I was just getting over being sick, I decided to wait until the day of to finally commit to the run, hoping the bad weather would pass, and luckily it did! The night before was a crazy wind and rain affair (my neighbour's shed blew away!). But by the time I was up and confirmed the race was actually happening, things were looking better.

Now as usual, I had all my stuff ready to go the night before, but just as I was getting ready to leave, I thought, why not grab a pair of shorts just in case. And I was glad I did.

I showed up, signed in and chatted with some people. Turns out the course had been all washed out during the storm. There were huge puddles, ditches and no spray painted arrows. But MEC had loads of course workers and pylons so that was fine. But what had just recently been a hard packed frozen crusher dust path (great for speed) was now a squishy mud fest. Glad I brought my trail shoes!

The rain was now pretty much stopped and the temp had soared to a crazy 10C (this is January in Nova Scotia). So with 10 minutes to go, I headed back to the car and changed quickly into shorts, took my place at the start line and within a few minutes we were off.

For the past 6 weeks I have been sticking to a training plan that called only for base mileage. My runs had been frequent (5-6 days a week) but nothing more than 45 minutes in length and all slow easy paced, for me. So I was interested in seeing if the legs had some oomph left in them.

As usual I took off feeling good. Last year I did this race in 20:28, which is slowish for a 5K for me, but not early in the season and not on a course that is uphill for the first 3 km. So this season I hoped to keep the average pace around 4 min/km. My good start was well under that as a couple of other runners surged ahead. Oh well, I thought. So far it doesn't hurt so lets go for it. One of those runners was racing the 10K, the other the 5K (Cameron).

My legs were turning over great, the new NB 1010 trail shoes felt nice, and I didn't mind the wet feet. I stuck with Cameron without hurting myself and decided to hang back just a bit to see how things would play out.

A little over 2 km in I ran by Marie-Claude G. who was training with a group and we exchange some waves and hellos. That was nice. Then I hit another hill (I mean seriously, it was all uphill for so long). No problems, though there were many tree branches to avoid.

Our pace was fine, my legs still had some energy and for a brief moment I thought about pushing into first place, but I looked and we were still 1.5 km from the finish, so yeah, I held back. But eventually Cameron found a slightly higher gear and pulled a slight lead on me.  I tried to hang in but we were back in the really wet squishy muddy area and my legs were just happy to hang in where I was.

The finish line loomed, and with what would a 5 second lead, I had no answer for first. I crossed in 19:50 and took second. A good 40 seconds faster than last year, where I had done a bit of speed work before, so not too bad.

Another MEC race, another 2nd place, ha ha. I joked with Race Director Christine that I might have to make a suit of armour out of these.

Lessons learned? Not that much actually. What I had, I gave. Cameron out ran me just fine. It is early in the season and I have done no speed training, so I can't expect to have speed yet. That will come. Hopefully for the next MEC race in April.  But next race up is the Tri The Oval 3 in February. I am really looking forward to that.

I am still training based on Heart Rate Zones based on the Jeff Zahavich Kinesic Sport Lab system, and it is still working for me. I am ahead of the game this year already and can't wait to see where I can take this!
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