Monday, September 25, 2017

MEC Race 4 - September 2017

So it was race 4 in the 5 race MEC series. My first 3 went well with 3 second place medals. But those were races in tougher conditions (winter, heat, hills!).  This race is flat and in the Fall. So while there was some humidity, the air temp was cool enough and the course was pretty easy.

I started with a warm up run of about 4 km at a super easy pace, finishing around race pace to warm up the legs. I had opted for the 15 km option, as I wanted to see how my half marathon training was progressing. Ideally I wanted to run my A goal pace on this course (I have a B goal pace as well, but that is another post). That would be a 3:48 min/km.

This year, due to the number of people entered in the race, the 15 km race started first. We lined up and were soon off. The top 4 men soon formed a pack and we took off from the rest of the runners. After a bit, even though I was feeling good, I glanced at my watch and saw we were running too fast for my goals on the day, more in the 3:33 range. I eased a little and soon found a good sustainable pace of 3:44. My placing was now 4th about 100m behind 2nd and 3rd.

The first 2 water stops came and went and I didn't bother grabbing anything. The final stop on the trail was the turn around, and as it required me to come to a crawl to get around the cone, I grabbed a glass of water and rinsed my mouth out before taking off.

My pace had dropped off  a little bit and I was now averaging 3:46 as we headed through kilometer 8 and 9.  I didn't look at my watch much but kept my distance to the top 3 runners fairly even, running on feel.

By kilometer 11, I was starting to feel the humidity a bit, but was enjoying the on trail shade.  Now we were starting to come across runners from the 10 and 5km races, which did require a bit of moving about on the trail, though everyone was pretty spread out and it wasn't a huge issue.

I knew I was starting to fall back pace wise, but with 2 kilometers to go I hit 3:48 as an average and knew I had to sustain that. I picked up my pace a little and had a good effort for the final kilometer. I crossed the finish line with a time of 56:47 and an average pace of 3:48. My perfect goal pace. So while I missed out on a medal, it was still a success.

What I learned was 3:48 is sustainable, but to be cautious at the start not to push much harder. I'm not sure I could have been much faster, though today (the day after) I feel pretty good, which means there was another level of harshness I could push down into if need be.  

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