Monday, July 4, 2011

Canada Day Race review

Well it’s a belated Happy Canada Day!!! Friday was Canada Day and I guess the best comparison is St. Patrick's Day in Ireland. Every City, Town, village has the Canadian colors out there are parades and all sorts of family festivities all of which ends with Fireworks.

Canada Day (when running a race) is always an early start for me I was woken at 4:00am as the police helicopter was doing the rounds overhead, plus the fact that I had some sort of coughing fit in the middle of the night. This was loud enough to wake the baby. I went back to sleep on the couch until 6:00am and then got ready to go to the race start. It didn't take long to get there, it’s just that I was thinking of riding the bike there as part of the warm up....well that didn't happen as I saw that it was raining out, but by the time the race started the sun was out and it was starting to warm up. I did my usually warm up down by the Kinsmen and then jogged over to the start line.

This was to be my first race since getting injured back in October 2010 with Achilles Tendinitis so I didn't really expect it to be a lightning fast race. My plan was to run at an even pace of 3:50 per K or 18:XX per 5K, the other (I guess more realistic) goals I had ranged from simply finishing to going under the hour for the distance.....That was the plan anyway but that is not what happened. I came down the hill from the start/finish in a good place nowhere near the front of the race and then proceeded to go backwards for about the next 5or 6K. I ended up going through the first 5k almost on the pace that I was thinking I was capable of but slowed down over the next 10K.

I was on my own by the time we got to Hawrelak Park and was getting encouragement from the walkers that started out 30 minutes before us, it’s not their fault I was running badly so I said thank you to anyone that shouted a word of encouragement. Going up Emily Murphy hill is never easy even when you're going well this is one of those hills that always seems steep and people just seemed to go away from me, but the encouragement at the top made up  for the lack of speed.

Once the race wound its way back to Saskatchewan Drive (try saying that 6 times in row with a few pints on you) I could see how far the leaders where in front of me and from my spot it had all the looks of a good race. I ended up going through 10K in 39 flat (which isn't great even for me). Two years ago on this course I went through 10K in 36 something; it’s amazing how much an injury can screw you up. The thing is by this point I had resigned myself to just finishing so I offered encouragement to the guys in front of that I know that I would normally be running with. The rest of the race went by in a blur of trying to keep the pace that I was at going until the dreaded hill up to the finish. Again this is a hill like Emily Murphy in that it’s steep and it always feels hard. I really slowed down on this hill and had no idea how I was doing until I saw the clock at the finish line and realized that I could break the hour for the run.

I ended up crossing the line in 59:58, so both of my realistic goals were reached (finishing and going under the hour) after finishing the run I spoke to Mia Clarke for a few minutes and could feel that the injured leg was tightening up, I think it was the hills as it felt tight on both of the hills during the race. My fear was that the AT would start hurting again, but luckily it didn't and the leg didn't get any worse over the course of the next couple of days.

It was the longest /hardest run since the New York Marathon in November, according to my Polar I ran it at approx. 92% of maximum heart rate with HR getting up to a max of 95%. My Achilles hasn't hurt in the time since, so that is looking good. So while it wasn't a great race it wasn't bad and it has shown me that I have a lot of work to do to get back to the form that I had last year when I went sub 2:40 for the marathon and 1:16 for the half marathon. 

From now until the beginning of September I'll be focusing more on running a faster 10K as I haven't done one in a long time and my current 10K PB is pretty bad (I think it’s 36:XX).