Sunday, September 27, 2015

Another Double Header - Rum Runners and MEC 2015

Another weekend and another race, or two! Will this madness ever end.

I have done this very weekend  for 2 years now, Rum Runners Relay followed by MEC trail run. Last year was painful, mostly due to the heat of the day during Rum Runners. I hoped this year to be a little better.

I purposely picked an early leg on Rum Runner Relay (an approx 100km relay run along Nova Scotia's South Shore), Leg 3, as it would leave me with more recovery time. Being 11.2 km long, it also would be hard but not on par with the 17km Leg 4 I did last year. Also early in the day generally means cooler temps. Nice.

My goal was to give a good hard run at Rum Runners and then go for a PB 10k time on the flat out and back race the next day. Goals, ha ha.

The start of the race was cool, almost cold, but I knew that would be really nice come race time. Things happen fast in Rum Runners (like me almost forgetting to register and sign my waiver form ahhh!) and we lined up at the crack of 9:30.  A quick glance around showed me some fast runners I knew and a whole host of other unknown runners. Maybe I would be fast enough this year to break my curse of always finishing 7th. Then we were off!

Two women quickly jumped to the front and lead us out. I decided to try and pace out with Mike and Dave, whom I knew were fast but smart runners. With 500m we assumed spots 1-3 and took off. I had felt prior to the race that a nice 4 min /km pace might be a smart way to head out. At the end of kilometer 1 we had run a 3:30 pace. Hmmm. Well it was mostly downhill, so okay.  Then kilometer 2 went by at 3:34 pace. Hmmmm. Still I felt good and was keeping up with the top 2.

We then hit some hills and my pace dropped to 3:45 on each of the next 2 kilometers and started to just drift slowly from the top 2. Over the next few kilometers I slowly drifted back, not fast though and saw them for most of the run, just in the distance.

I couldn't hear anyone behind me, but I knew that someone named Sasha was there, as I ran by numerous cars on the side of the road cheering her on. No time for looking back though. My pace was high and I felt really good.

Soon I was approaching the 10km mark. Having done some calculations the day before to prep for the 10km race on Sunday, I knew that I was going to go sub 38 min at this point. I checked as my watched beeped through the 10th km mark and saw 37:04. A new PB by 1:49. Well that was something. But I still had a little more than 1 km to go.

At this point we had to take a quick little left right jog to get back to the main road and I coudl just see over my shoulder that Sasha was maybe 100m at most behind me. It was hard to want to give up 3rd place at this point so I pushed hard again down hill, then up to the finish and surged just enough to cross the line in 3rd with an official time of 40:43 and a pace of 3:38 min/km. Where did that come from?  Needless to say I was pretty happy.

After spending the rest of the day cheering on my team and enjoying yummy burritos at the finished line of Leg 10, I headed home tired and weary and ready for sleep. My sun burn and sore legs didn't help with the sleep though.

I arrived at the MEC 10K trail race bright and early on a super cold morning, perfect for racing.

My calves hurt, I was quite tired but I had accomplished my goal for the weekend already, so this was going to be fun (I always say that). I would be satisfied with a medal, maybe even a win if possible (you never know who shows up for these races). I also needed to have a 38ish min 10km. That would cement in my mind that I was a sub 39 min 10km runner for sure.

We took off, and I hung out with the 15km runners and top 2 5km runner at first. The 5km guys pulled a slight gap but soon turned around and headed back. I was with Adam and Chad until the 10km turn around and checked my average pace, 3:47 at that point. So still in the sub 38 min world, not by much but there. and as I tuend I saw no one behind us. So it was my race to lose I guess.

I headed back and passed many other runners heading out. The loose gravel was a little speed sapping, my legs were done running and I keep pushing as best as I could. My speed started to dip a bit but I knew I had a low 38 min 10km time at this point and as the kilometers passed by I knew I just had to hang on.

I crossed the bridge that was about 400m from the finish and picked up my pace as best as I could, then just before the line saw the clock was at 37:50, so I sprinted (ish) and crossed the line at 37:54. Done, spent and happy. Wow, what a come back from an early season of lower results. And finally a win for the year, that felt really nice, especially wearing my nice new Kinesic Sports lab top. Thanks Jeff Z.

2 great races with great volunteers and race directors. And it was also great cheering my wife into the finish as she did the 15km run with a great pace and time result on her way to what will be a great Valley Half marathon in a few weeks. And it was nice seeing more of my running group the Timberlea Tundra Pounders come out to this style of racing. Slightly lower key, but all kinds of fun.

10 and 5 km winners

So now a little rest during the week before, yes, the next race. Oh my. 

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