Saturday, March 30, 2019

Park Run Halifax Race #3 2019

So 3 weeks ago Park Run started up in Halifax. Finding a good spot to host this is tough around here, but the group opted to use the Chain of Lakes Trail. A 5KM measured course was set up and racing began.

Park Run is a free 5 KM Run/Race hosted around the globe on Saturday mornings. You sign up once, get a bar code and race for free forever.

Last week I went to my first run and opted to pace a friend, Sarah, to a nice 22:45 5KM, a great effort for her on tired legs (she had done a part of the Moose Run the weekend before and run much of the week without a taper).  This week I decided to test myself to see how training was going. I went in with the goal of a sub 18, knowing I needed to average a 3:36 min/km to do so. I thought it was doable because in my last 2 races (Moose and Frostbite) I had sections of longer races in the 18:10 range. So 11 seconds shouldn't have been out of the question.

Basically, Park Run gives a brief intro chat, and you are off. I took off with the goal of holding a 3:30 pace out and a 3:40 pace back as it is downhill all the way to the turn around and uphill all the way back. Not crazy steep since this is an old rail bed, but obviously noticeable.

My goal wasn't the win but the time. I quickly tried to get into race pace, though my first kilometer was a bit fast at 3:24. I eased it back a touch with my next split being 3:31

At the turn around I had a decent gap on second place but was still focused on my time. It is easy to accept your race position at certain points and do just enough to hold position, especially with a potential win. So i had to be mentally focused on feeling bad.

Some high fives and thumbs up were exchanged on the way back, though I will admit, I didn't want to give that too much effort. I hit kilometer 3 (half down, turn around, half up) at 3:31. So I was super stoked about that. It certainly gave me a cushion on the second half.

Kilometer 4 was tough. I fell to a 3:41. I expected that and felt it. Then that deep down ugh feeling hit as I started kilometer 5. That feeling you get at the end of a hard interval where you are glad it is over. Only I had a bunch to run still. I pushed through that, but was focused on holding pace. I had time in the bag, but didn't want to drift too far down. 

There is an overpass 200m from the end, and the trail flattens slightly, so I did pick it up a tiny but there. I crossed the finish line with a 3:39 final kilometer and an official time of 17:48.

My splits were just what I hoped for, but with kilometer 3 being better than planned, I beat my goal by 11 seconds and took the win overall, and age graded. I also took Craig's course record (sorry Craig), though he took his win here with a tempo effort and has more to give on this course himself, I know he will be sub 19 on it in no time. 

Thanks to the volunteer for setting this up. Week one had 30 runner, last week 20, but with the slightly better (though quite cool) weather this week we had 39 brave souls.

Shout out to the many BLT Runners that came out and set course PBs, personal PBs and just had good fun.

Shout out to Luke on consistently going faster each week on his path back to sub 20.

The Brooks Launch made for an ideal all around shoe as well for the warm up run over and the race.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Moose Run 2019

Quick weekend recap. The Moose Run was back, our 25km fun run that is now in its 26th year. New race director (fellow Nuun Ambassador Mat Sabinski) but same great community support.

As before, this is a pay by donation race with a few water stops along the way, options for relay teams and tons of tough hills. At 5 weeks out from Boston this is a favorite course for getting a race day prep run in (go Marg!).

But for me this is fun. Every year so far I have taken this event as an opportunity to pace someone to a desired result. So far I have done this for Craig directly twice, for Pat and Craig last year, and this year I started with a few fellow runners with similar goals. We wanted to pace around a 4:30 min/km with a variety of distances. Sarah hoped to go to the 8.5 km mark, Luke was opting for 5km and Craig heading to the halfway mark, to share the run with Gillian.  

Thanks to Ron for snapping a quick shot near the start as we headed off on a cool, windy but sun filled day. I was testing out my newish NB 1500's to see how they did over this kind of distance. 

The first 5km were chatty and fun before Luke took off to hand off to his team mate for a relay finish and begin doing a #worldlitterrun. Craig also kept a strong pace at this point and pulled ahead a little of myself and Sarah. 

For her this was going to be a long run at this pace. 5km was no problem, but 8.5 with huge hills was going to be tough. We ran together (and picked up some friends to chat with like Chad) and she held on with some tough grit until we hit that final big downhill and she could just give a strong final 0.5km effort before handing off to teammate #2, Heather. 

At this point the wind blew my hat off and I had to chase it. Then I ran with Heather for a bit before teaming up with Al and pushing toward the halfway mark and a reunion with Craig. 

I took this time to stop, have a gel and a drink of water, get my music out and prepare for a little tempo work. The goal was a tough tempo run back to the spot I dropped off Sarah (about 4.5km) before easing back to an easy effort.  So off I went.

At the turn around I had averaged about a 4:37 min/km pace. My next two kilometers were a 3:30 pace. 

With the wind at my back, the sun in my face and a hard effort I was getting hot. As I ran to the teammate switching spot, I threw my coat to Sarah and headed off feeling really good. 

So I decided to just not look at my watch, give a hard but doable effort and see where I finished, knowing that with no goal in mind I could ease back if need be.

The hills were tough, the wind blew my hat off again and I ended up carrying it, and without the tail wind it wasn't quite as hot anymore. But I was enjoying my tunes and loving the journey (oh and some Journey).

With 3 kilometers to go and a downhill finish, I picked up the pace a bit, passing a few runners in the process. 

With about a kilometer to go, I saw Craig and Elizabeth drive by and wave and Sarah, Jordan and Heather drive by. Sarah popped out for a shout of encouragement and some nice photos.

I ran hard to the finish with a final kilometer back in the 3:30 mark. I crossed the finish line after 1 hour 45 minutes, dropping that average pace from 4:37 to 4:14.

We had a great post run team gathering with food and drink at the Buffalo Club.

This was the first time I pushed a hard effort on any part of this run and I really liked it. The challenging hills, the every changing scenery and the pretty decent weather (except maybe the wind) were just inspiring to run in. This course is also partially used in some of the Maritime Race Weekend races as well, were I have had some good runs).

Oh and the 1500's were great. Just enough cushioning and support for a longer run, but zippy enough to propel you forward.

Lots of great finishes and good times by fellow BLT Runners as well.