Thursday, January 12, 2012

2012 Pioneer 8km Race Report

I jumped into racing only a week into the new year. The plan was to train through this race and to not taper for it. I completed close to my regular week leading up the race and had no idea how the legs would feel. In fact, coach Matt had some plans for me post race too that I wasn't informed of the details until after the race. 

I headed off around 8:15 for the drive south to Victoria. Of course, with my luck I swear I hit almost every red light possible. Not to mention I was terribly afraid that my lovely 91 tempo, which has been struggling lately, wouldn't make it. Already breaking down on the malahat once (post TC 10km about 3 years ago) I did not want a repeat event! Thankfully I made it down to the race start at approximately 9:45. 

I did my usual thing of picking up my race number, chatting with a few people and hitting the washroom. Then off to my car to get ready for warm up. Just as I was heading out, I ran into Marilyn and Joey, so the three of us continued on for our warm up. A few quick words with Matt and I was back to my car to get ready to race. At this point I wanted a washroom but knew that with 15 minutes to race time, there would definitely be a line up. 

I hit the line and before I knew it we were off. The first km is mostly downhill which meant for a quick start. I tried to hold back, but also didn't want to get left behind. A flat 2nd km lead into a hill. Here I went from 4th female to 7th female. My legs felt dead and just would not respond as Catrin, Care, Sabrina and Claire went by. Definitely fighting negative thoughts in my head from 3-6km. A downhill section into the half way point, which I hit at 14:31. With my next km 3:43 (according to Garmin, which I know is not exact), meant 5km at 18:14, which is technically a 5km PB for me (18:25 from 2010). That bodes well for the next time I race a 5km I hope!

We hit a hill, turn around and then downhill as we headed back towards the start/finish between 5 and 7km. After the turn around, which I felt I was moving quite well, I saw a split on my garmin that said 4:00 and I thought to myself, wtf?! This definitely feels worse than 4 min/km pace. I was slightly defeated at this point, thinking that I had gone out too fast and no longer would hit at least sub 30 like I wanted. At 6.5km I passed Sabrina who had unfortunately began a battle with her stomach that left her puking on course. I wanted out shout out to keep going, but she was mid puke as I went by. Thankfully she did keep going and finished not far behind me. 

I kept plodding on, just wanting the race to finish. An uphill finish and I tried to pour it on, but just couldn't catch Claire and finished 6th female (50th overall) in 29:49. I was initially extremely disappointed in my time. I ran 30:05 in October and felt as though I was in WAY better shape than that, so to finish only 16 second faster did not impress me. But I chalked it up to being what it was and accepted that I had really run the race as a training race and my legs were far from fresh. 

I chatted with Matt and Marilyn for a bit and then grabbed some clothes before heading off on a cool down with Marilyn (who also ran it as a training race on less than fresh legs) and Joey. We met Claire about half way through and continued with her. On the cool down, Joey mentioned that the turn around was actually in the wrong place and the course was long. 

One of the PIH members Gary is always responsible for measuring courses, so he went and officially measured the difference which came out to 74.9m. Calculations say that it added about 17 seconds to my time, which means 29:49 turns into 29:32, only 1 second off of my best time, from a flatter course last January. That improved my overall outlook on the race. While I am not 100% happy with the way I ran the race and my mentality during the race, it is what it is and I am grateful for the experience. 

Thank you to PIH for hosting the race and to Bob for everything he does in the running community. Results found here.

One photo from the race so far, I believe mid race, courtesy of Noa Deutsch

Sunday, January 8, 2012

2011 Send Off and Thanks!

It won't take me long to recap 2011. I started off training through aches. About a week before I ran the Ice-Breaker 8km in 29:31, those aches started to turn to pain. A few days after the 8km, that pain became unbearable and I began to cross train. Cross training continued for about 2.5 months before we realized it was not going anywhere. I also learned that your feet go numb on the elliptical after about 80 minutes. Getting hooked on Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory also happened during these 2.5 months. 

After cross training, I turned to time off for 4 weeks. No running, no cross training, though I did go for a few hikes and explored some new trails that I had never had the time to explore before. Nothing like hiking up in the bushes in the middle of nowhere and having no idea where you are and not seeing another sole for ages. Bears? Cougars? I hope not. I did not see any, but I am sure they must have been around somewhere. Maybe not cougars, but bears for sure. 

After 3.5 months off (now mid May), I began to trial running again. Starting with 15' runs. At first it felt so good to be out running again, pain minimal though MUCH better than before. Those 15' turned into 30' runs and all of a sudden I realized how out of shape I was. I realized this was going to be a long battle back. 

Eventually, things became easier. It is hard to be patient. I wanted to be back to where I was NOW rather than later. But it doesn't work that way. I had lots of encouragement from coach Matt and also from Marilyn and although it sucks that she was injured, it was kind of nice to have her going through a comeback from a similar injury at the same time. I don't know about her, but she helped keep me sane.

I hit my first real race and test in October at the Goodlife Fitness 8km. It hurt. It hurt A LOT. But I got through it in 30:05 which was decent considering what I had been through earlier in the year. 

My second test came at the BC XC Championships. Ahh Aldergrove, those hills.... so lovely. A very tough field where I missed Team BC but feel as though I ran better and faster than in 2010. I also raced with no pain and was thrilled. 

From there I turned on some xc training with the idea to compete at the Canadian National XC Champs at the end of November. A few weeks prior to the race, some of my injury symptoms began to creep up again (screw you injury). I ran nationals splish splashing through mud. I can't complain about how the conditions affected me because everyone ran in the same conditions. We were all affected, just some handled it better than others I suppose. While I didn't place as high as I hoped, it was still a fun experience and I was just grateful to be back racing. 

Nationals was my last race of the year, turning back to training for December. The aches still come and go, but never go very far away. I keep my eye on them and tell them to eff off often. 

I would like to take time to say thank you to Matt for all your knowledge and my wonderful training plans. Thanks for sticking by me while I was injured and probably pretty whiny about being injured. It's amazing that we have known each other since I used to kick your butt when we were kids. Oh those were the days. ;) Thanks for helping me find those days again!

Thank you to Marilyn, also for all your wisdom and encouragement. Thank you for keeping me positive and hopefully 2012 will rock for both of us. I appreciate all your help.

Thank you to Saucony for hanging in there with me for 2011. I became injured nearly one month into the 2011 season, which left me sidelined from races for 8.5 months. I am equally thrilled to say that they have agreed to continue to support me for 2012. I hope to make the company proud as I strive to put 2011 behind me. 

Thanks to Joe and Abe at Island Optimal Health and Performance. I have sure given you guys a lot of work over the last year. Thanks for your assistance in my rehab and for keeping me as healthy as possible. PS Go Canucks Go!  

Lastly, thank you to my support team in Nanaimo and surrounding areas. This includes numerous people, some of which I have known for ages and some whom I have only recently met. The running community is amazing and I am glad to know so many great and supportive people. 

One more thing before I go, eff you 2011. I am glad you are gone and welcome 2012 with open arms!