Monday, June 7, 2010

Victoria Track Series Mile Race Report

After the half marathon, coach decided that it was time to switch things up and work on my weakness aka Speed. I can do the endurance stuff just fine, but put me in a 5km and not so good. First up was the Nanaimo 3000, which went decently well but due to the only competitor near me not having her legs that day, it didn't go the way either of us had planned.

A few more weeks of speed work, the next race discussed was the Victoria Track Series Mile. This race terrified me to be honest as I have not done a race this short in 11 years. Yes I know I said that about the 3000, but at the time that was my shortest race! It terrified me even more coming up to race day when I looked at the start list and saw many of the University of Victoria Vikes team on the list. I had never raced a mile before, so I had no idea what to expect time wise. All I knew was that my 1500m PB from grade 7 or 8 was 4:51. My goal became "not to get left behind by too far," though coach stated that I would not get left behind and not to worry about it.

In order to do this race, which was scheduled for Saturday evening, I had to do some shift swapping at work because I was initially scheduled for 3-11:15pm all weekend long. Luckily though, the morning worker (7-3:15pm) switched me shifts, though that meant I was unfortunately working 3-11:15pm on Friday night then 7-3:15pm on Saturday before going back to 3-11:15pm on Sunday.

Asleep by 12:30 or so on Saturday morning I suppose, I was up just prior to 6:30am and off to work. I managed to stay busy and awake until about 1:45 and then when things slowed down, I started to get drowsy. By the time I arrived home around 3:30 I was feeling pretty tired. I had about an hour to drag my butt and relax and also get ready before leaving around 4:30 to head to Victoria. Dealing with some traffic on the way down, I arrived to the Jack Wallace Memorial Track just after 6pm. Paid for my registration, found my coach and chatted for a bit before heading off on my warm up.

Nerves were still there while I watched some pretty smoking 800m races and then did some strides while the open Mile was taking place. That meant my race was up next, the elite women's mile. Up to the line I saw there was 8 us, which included Jessica Sedlock, Julia Tschanz and Lemlem
Ogbasilassie just to name a few. On your mark and away we went with the nerves disappearing. I was advised to forget splits and just to go with the group and hang on for as long as I could and see what happens.

The group went out fast, though a few girls a tad faster than the rest. I was unsure which group to go with, I was sitting in 5th initially on the outside shoulder of one of the Vikes (not sure which one sorry). I did the first lap around the outside, no idea the split, but I think it was fast. It would have been 409m at around 68 or 69" I think (can't say for sure as I wasn't paying too close attention). Coming around for the first time I decided "screw this" and surged ahead of the Vike as I saw the top 3 girls were pulling away a bit. Plus I didn't want to run on the outside the whole way. Lemlem was leading the pack, with Julia and another Vike behind her (not sure which one, Brittany maybe?) so I pulled in behind them. I hit 809m in about 2:24ish and this is where the race starting hurting. Did I mention my pathetic 800m PB was only 2:23?

Julia and the other Vike pulled away a bit on this lap but not out of reach. We came around 1209m in around 3:46 maybe and I quickly knew that if I wanted sub 5 at this point, I would need a pretty fast last lap and my legs were hurting. I told myself only 400 left and to hang in there. I heard Ron on the side lines yelling "lean forward, lean forward" at which point I realized my form had gone to sh!t, which often happens when I am tired. Actually throughout the race I heard many "Go Erin's" and I have no clue where half of them came from (sorry to those who were cheering).

With 250 left, Matt was yelling at me, though I don't even remember what he was saying (sorry coach). With 200 left I heard Marilyn yell "quick feet" which also meant my form was horrid. On the back stretch, the one Vike started to drop from Julia and I was slowly pulling her in. I think I passed her with about 150m to go and just gave it what I could for the final bit of the race. It probably didn't look pretty, but I ended up crossing the line in 3rd place in a time of 5:02.3. Lemlem crushed the field in 4:43.8 and Julia in 4:54.8, followed by me and then the next girl Alicia in 5:05.7.

In the end, I crushed my goal of not wanting to be left behind by taking the bronze out of 8 total girls. I am proud of the way I raced and really proud of the time and how I held up against some of the university girls considering I am a half marathoner who doesn't train for the short stuff like they do. Interesting enough, my mile time converts into a 4:40.2 1500m, a 10 flat 3000m (I do remember saying I felt I was capable of closer to a 10 flat 3000), 17:26 5km, 36:13 10km and a 1:20:36 half marathon. Yes I do realize these are all predictions, but they are predictions that I would love to make real!

I have received some great feedback about the race, that I looked strong (minus the 4th lap where my form fell apart) and that I raced awesome. Coach thinks that if I actually trained for these distances I could easily have been under 5 and up there with the top 2 girls; however, I am not a miler so there is no plan to do that! In essence, this was just a fun way to get in a good speed workout and to challenge myself. Results can be found here.

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