Monday, January 30, 2017

MEC PPP Race #1 Jan 2017

So yesterday I was wondering what my run fitness was going to be like when actually tested against others and today I found out.

MEC's race #1 was finally here after being postponed previously due to a large snow storm. This time around weather was not going to be an issue. In fact, the weather was wonderful. About -2C when i woke up and around the 0C mark by the time the race started, so plenty warm. Also the wind was pretty much non-existent and the ground was frozen hard. Conditions could not have been better to see what speed was in the old legs.

Not a picture from today

I started the day with a good warm up run with Craig and Stacey, partly for us and partly to show Stacey a little of the course, we did around 3km in all. Then Craig and I did a few strides int he parking lot to get the blood flowing in the legs. Finally we were called to the start line by the Race Director.

These races pit all distances together at the start, so if you don't ask, you don't always know who is racing what distance. A few of us chatted a bit while waiting and I felt I had a good sense of who my competition was. Still, my main goal was a sub 19 min run, something I had not done on this course and this early in the year. 

And we were off!

Immediately Drew took to the lead and I popped into second. Our pace felt okay but I knew it was ultimately a bit too fast. By the first 500m point I checked and yup, a 3:22 pace. So yeah, I started to ease off a bit. Then Lee took second place, quickly followed by Fraser. 

As we hit the first major hill of the day (really this race is a big climb and a big descent) I quickly caught back on to Fraser and decided to take this chance to pass him. I pushed the first hill as much as I dared, hoping it would lead to a gap. 

Finally reaching the top of the climb, you run a relatively flatish bit for awhile, before quick down, then another steep but shorter climb. This whole race is steep climbs and descents with rolling terrain in between. The top of this section meant we were now at the halfway point. 

As we tore down towards the major descent of the day, I was still in 3rd in my race, 4th overall.  Halfway down the descent of Cable, Fraser caught up and passed me again. He clearly relished the big downs, while I was just trying to hang in there.  Now I was sort of resigned to what I assumed was 4th, hoping to be able to hang onto my current average pace for a course PB at least.

Then we hit the bottom and another slight climb, then a down, then a climb (you get the idea). I started to reel Fraser in a little bit and with a little over 1 kilometer to go I knew it was now or never and bridged the gap. My goal was to tuck in behind him, and see if my legs had a sprint finish.  But (and there is always a but) another runner started to pull up beside us. Sigh. What race was he in? I had no idea. So soon we were 3 abreast with about 800m to go.

I knew the final run to the finish included a final good climb before a big downhill to the line, so I made the choice to just push it. Darn, I wanted that 3rd place and I wanted to get the best time my legs had. So I took off.

As the climb happened I could here Fraser's foot steps getting a little softer, and I pushed harder. We crested the hill and I could see the finish line, so off I went. I crossed the line 3rd overall and with an official time of 18:29, a PB on this course, and a great result so early in the season.

I collapsed a bit after the finish, knowing my legs had given it there all. But I recovered fast enough to watch a bunch of other great runs happen from the BLTRunners, with Craig coming in a well run course PB as well (and very close to the 20 min mark) and Stacey come in 2nd for women with a blazing time.

Looking over the data post race I was totally happy with most of my stats, but really the heartrate data was wonderful. A good spike to start things off (not uncommon in a 5K all out race) but then a  recovery and solid high Zone 4 effort throughout. All of my recent speed work seems to be paying off.

As is always the case, a huge thanks to those that keep me running well, Alan at Seaside Chiropractic, Jeff Z at Kinesic Sport Lab, Luke at Aerobics First and my fellow BLTRunners. 

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