Many people told me "Don't you dare" "race and have fun" "who cares about time, just run and don't worry." What is funny is that some of these comments come from people who I know for a fact would care deeply if it was them in this situation and would be very upset if they were to run 1-2 minutes slower than their best time. I put that all aside and tried to stay positive. It was hard. I am a very determined person. I am extremely hard on myself. I think it comes from my past as a child hood track star. I had a lot of pressure on myself when I was setting records and winning championships. Then when I got older and went through puberty and struggled, I couldn't deal with how things went from good to bad.
I debated dropping out and also debated maybe racing the 8km. I figured if I couldn't hold half pace, then I had no chance of holding 8km pace. I decided to ultimately race the half and to re-set my goals. My goal going into the race became to run faster than last year (1:24:15) and hopefully no slower than 1:25. In August I was sure I was destined to run a PB and beat my Eugene time of 1:21:55. After the last month of training, I wasn't sure this was possible. So with the new goals set and after being told that it was okay to drop out if things are going horrible, to which I responded, I couldn't do that with my parents attending the race, I committed myself to racing.
I had Wednesday and Thursday off work last week and then worked Friday before taking Saturday (pre-race) and Sunday (race day) off. I opted to stay away from all sick people on Friday at work. 1st floor was short staffed and unfortunately since I work in Assisted Living I always get asked to help on other floors when they are short. Since it was so close to my race, I unfortunately decided to be selfish and told them that "no I would not help." I had heard rumors of people feeling sick down stairs, even the nurse working that night, so I opted to stay away. I felt bad for saying no, but I had to do what was in my best interest that day. Sorry.
Saturday I got up and did my usual day before a race routine. After that, I coached the high school kids while they did a nasty hill workout and then I headed home for a warm shower and to pack. I finally made it out the door just prior to 2pm for my drive to Victoria. I got 3 minutes away and I realized I forgot my jacket. Last year was cold after the race, so I wanted my winter jacket. I turned around and came back to get it. Of course it turns out I didn't need it, go figure. Again, I was off to Victoria just after 2pm.
The drive was horrible. I swear my heart rate was at race pace while driving over the Malahat. A summit drive just before going into Victoria. Not only was the traffic horrid the whole way down (likely due to the race and also the long Thanksgiving weekend), but it was raining and the fog on the Malahat was SO incredibly thick it was hard to see the car in front of you. I hate driving in that. The drive was definitely slow and the heart rate was high. I was glad to arrive in downtown Victoria just after 3:30pm.
By the time I found a parking spot it was 3:45. I was staying in a hotel downtown with my dad and step mom, but I had no clue where it was. 2 circles of the block, I didn't see it, so I parked and headed in the area to look around. I spotted the hotel (I drove right by it) and then decided to head across the street to the Race Expo to get my race package before going back to my car to get my stuff.
I picked up my race number and said quick hello's to Bob and Sylvan. I then did a quick circle of the race expo. A lot of advertising for upcoming races and a few products. Tons of people so I didn't hang around too long. Not to mention I had to use the washroom due to all the water I drank on the way down. I ditched the expo, picked up my stuff from the car and headed to the hotel.
I went from expecting to sleep on a foam mattress on the floor of their room, to finding out I had my own bed and practically my own room (it was a 2 bedroom hotel room). Much better!
The rest of the evening was spent catching up with my dad, watching my step mom try to feed a seagull in our room, having dinner (which wasn't actually that good and had my stomach turning) and then watching part of the Canuck vs Kings game.
I think I had the lights out by 8:45 as I was dead tired and was asleep by 9pm. I went to sleep when it was 1-0 Canucks, woke up when it was 1-1 with 3 something left in OT and then shut off the game and went back to sleep. I woke up a few more times throughout the night, such as when the bars let out around 2:30am and people were yelling on the street, but each time I went back to sleep. I finally got up at 5:10 feeling well rested.
I brought a bagel and cream cheese with me for breakfast as I generally cannot eat much prior to a race. I think I only got half the bagel in, it was dry even with the cream cheese and I could not shove anymore in. I relaxed and checked the weather channel, which said 13 degrees and calm winds. Funny, when I looked outside the flags were blowing. Interesting. I got dressed and then a little before 6:30 I headed out the door towards the start line to find my mom. She hung onto my stuff while I did my warm up and drills.
I attempted to use the outhouses prior to the race, but saw the line ups were WAY too long. I decided to opt out of that figuring I'd just go after the race, but then a buddy Mike told me to go into a local hotel and use their facilities as that is what they just did. I quickly did that, jogged back to my mom, stripped down, put some tiger balm on my quads and calves and then ran off to the start. I got there and did a few strides and then Bob advised all the elites that the race start was going to be delayed by 5 minutes. A few more strides and good lucks around and we were on the start line.
Lots of fast ladies around me today. My original goal was top 5, but I also re-set that goal after this past month and after seeing the start lists. The race went off fast and some of the women took off. I went out fast too, but held myself back. I covered the first km in 3:43. Oops. It did have a slight downhill though. A group of 3 women passed me around 3km (I think), which included Shauna Skinner. I tried to go with them and hung on for a bit, but then I decided to run my own race and that maybe I could pull them in later in the race. I passed Gary Duncan a few km later, which surprised me. He is generally a very consistent runner and I debated hanging back as he always has good pacing. Instead I went on my way as I was feeling good.
I hit 10km at 38:38, uhh did I not just race a 10km in September in 38:41 which was hard? The 38:38 felt easy and in control though. A bit faster than I was looking for, but in no way was it too fast. Things were still good up a few hills, I took my gel as I knew a water stop was coming around. I couldn't remember what gel I used in Eugene, but it worked easily. I thought I bought the same one today, but for some reason today, the one I had was horrid. So thick I had trouble getting it down. Thank goodness for water.
I caught one girl around this point and pressed on. I had people (kids who were volunteering) yell out that they liked my pink shoes (Kinvara's) and pink sunglasses. Many people yelling that I was looking strong. I felt strong still. On the way back, I had many cheers from people I knew still heading towards the turn around. I headed down along Dallas Road when wham... a headwind. Where did this come from? I totally did not realize before this that the wind was apparently at my back. I ran on my own most of the way back, fighting some pretty strong gusts. I saw my km's slow down (I only checked the random split along the way, running mostly by feel). I pushed through the wind and eventually caught another female (Magali Tisseyre) which surprised me. She was either training through this race or having a bad day.
With about 2km left, a pack of 3-4 guys caught me. I swore it was Mark (my occasional training buddy), but it wasn't. They drafted behind me. I moved over, so did they. I muttered to myself "you've got to be kidding me." I let them get to me, I slowed on a hill and then passed me. I wanted them to pass me, but when they did, I couldn't go with them. I had a female about 25m in front of me, I never put in the effort to pass her until it was too late. I figured I wouldn't catch her, then when I realized I was getting closer, it was too late. I ended up finishing 6 seconds behind her in a time of 1:22:46, which was good for 8th female and 50th overall. 51 seconds behind my PB.
About 400m from the finish. My form has obviously fallen apart by now.
My lower back was aching when I finished. I found my coach (Matt) in the VIP tent. I found Mark who also happened to finish 58 seconds behind his best time. A quick chat to a few other buddies, some water and then Matt and I headed out of the finish area. I went to find my mom for my clothes and by the time I found her I was freezing. I then eventually found Matt and we did a cool down and chatted about the race where he told me "see, you had no reason to freak out" to which I said, yes I did, that felt WAY worse than Eugene and was better than I thought it would go. It was good to chat with him in person as I haven't been able to do that much. By the way, congrats to Matt on his 2nd place finish in 1:08:02, a new PB for him and 6 seconds behind the winner Jim Finlayson. Matt worked hard in the wind and unfortunately just couldn't hang on for the win..... this time ;)
Overall I am neither happy nor disappointed with the race. I am simply satisfied. Happy would have been a PB. Disappointed would have been slower than 1:24:15. Satisfied is where I sit and motivated for 2011.
I am recovering quite well, sore hamstrings and calves, but not too bad. Thank you so much to everyone who has given me support. I know I can be a headcase sometimes, but honestly I truly felt "off" going into this race. No other way to explain it. I am not making it up, things just felt wrong.
Thank you SO much to Abe Avender at Island Optimal for his super duper special treatment on Thursday. You not only keep me healthy but your positive encouragement also help.
Thanks to Jane as well and congrats on your 3:23 PB. Jane is so supportive and always has the kindest words to say.
To my sister Heather for wishing me well and for the best weather.
To Jason for somewhat putting up with my training schedule.
To Mike for all his OCD talk about numbers and paces.
To Mark for helping me on many workouts.
To Marilyn for her support even when she is unable to run.
To Byron for his lovely well wishes to his queen. Made me laugh before the start.
To my Mom and Step Dad for coming to watch, taking photos and holding my stuff while I ran.
To my Dad and Step Mom for the hotel room and for also coming to watch.
To Julie for her lovely count down reminding me how fast time was running down.
To Dave for trying his best to change my doubts to positive thoughts right up until the day before the race.
To Craig and Melisa for their support.
To the Bastion Runners, Dave, John, Zlatko, Bill, Anne, Bob etc all giving me support and encouragement when I was struggling to find it.
To Westwood Running Club, Shelby, Phil, Byron, Mark etc for your well wishes.
To my co-workers for giving me their colds 2 weeks before the race rather than right before the race, I appreciate it ;)
To Sam for reminding me to concentrate on other aspects of training other than pace sometimes.
To D for her awesome attitude. She keeps things real.
To all my blogger friends, Molly (thanks for the many shipments) and Todd for your wacky facebook comments.
And lastly, to Matt. Thank you for all you do for me. I love to ask questions, I love the ups and hate the downs. Thank you for sticking with me and supporting me through the good and the bad. You have taken me a long way with my training and I can't wait to see what the future holds.
I think I have most people. If I forgot, I am sorry, but thank you as well!