In the last few weeks I have been in discussion with my coach Matt as to what races to attack in the upcoming weeks. Whether it would be 5km then a half or 5km and then a 5km. I was leaning towards the double 5km; however, that small part of me that is in love with half marathons, wanted another attempt at that distance after a less than satisfying First Half last month. With a half scheduled for the end of April (Montreal) I thought a half in February, March and April might be a bit much. In the end I decided on the double 5km.
After Bazan went so well, I was eager to try my hand at a 2nd race; however, I was well aware that while the St.Patricks course was altered this year to be faster, it still wouldn’t be quite as fast as Bazan. Not to mention the races were 6 days a part. In fact, I did a mini workout on the Wednesday between just to spin the legs and I felt like I was sucking wind and dying. My legs weren’t sore from the race, but they simply would not run fast. As days passed though, things felt better.
Initially I was hoping to catch the float plane from Nanaimo to Vancouver, but with “sales” less than ideal, I opted for the cheaper (but still not cheap) more time consuming travel of the ferries. That meant after a night of minimal sleep, I was up at 5:30am and on the 6:30am boat to Vancouver. Thankfully I caught about an hour sleep in the backseat of my truck! I even packed a pillow and blankets to keep me company. Anyone who knows me will be well aware that when I travel via ferry with my vehicle, I do not tend to leave my vehicle and opt to sleep instead. Ask my sister, she is the same. Blame it on riding the ferry hundreds of times as kids.
I arrived to the mainland and found it was raining, surprise! I arrived to the race site at 8:45am and picked up my race number and hit the washrooms. I had a quick look around for Catherine Watkins but in the end I could not locate her so I headed out on the warm up alone. I checked out the first 2km of the course and then cut through the middle to check out the final few km. I followed my same warm up from Bazan earlier in the week. I found my legs feeling pretty decent. Some drills and strides at the start line and I finally found Catherine along with Ellie Greenwood.
The race started fast of course, doesn’t almost every race, not to mention 5km’s? It was basically a downhill for the first km. Unfortunately, I am not much of a downhill runner, so I didn’t find too much of an advantage of this. Right after the km marker, there was a sharp turn to the right to head down onto the seawall where we were met with a bit of a headwind (yay). I found myself right with Catherine and Ellie while Sabrina Wilkie was slightly ahead. We hit the mile marker at 5:20 with Catherine a second ahead of me. Unfortunately, Ellie’s shoe came untied and she had to stop so she had dropped back slightly by this point.
Just after 2.5km we hopped up off the seawall onto the sidewalk, then a somewhat sharp corner across the road onto a gravel trail briefly then across the road and back onto the seawall around 3km. Catherine was still slightly ahead of me with 2 other guys between us. We stayed on the seawall until just over 4km in which I know Catherine and I both tried to pick it up and I even thought to myself “thank god Catherine is here” as I pushed along. We then made another really sharp turn off the seawall and then began our uphill climb to the finish.
While the climb was certainly not as long as last year, it still wasn’t easy. Catherine and I both slowed on this final climb and probably were both cursing the hill. As we began the final portion, Catherine had a supporter who told her that I was right on her “right shoulder.” We crested the hill and I could see the finish so once again I gave it my final sprint and managed to make it past Catherine to finish 2nd in 17:16 (17:14 chip) with Catherine also 17:16 (17:15 chip). Sabrina wasn’t far ahead taking the win in 17:07 (17:05 chip).
I am proud that I was only 11 seconds off my time from 6 days earlier at Bazan Bay, especially since it was a slightly slower course. I am pretty sure I lost a good chunk of that in that final hill so without that hill, Catherine and I figure our times would have been similar or possibly slightly faster than Bazan. Another good sign.
We got changed and headed out on a nice 30 minute cool down before getting back to the awards just in time. The one bad thing about this race is the struggle it takes to get inside the pavilion where the awards are held. I ran into this problem last year and then again today. The security at each door wants everyone to enter through the big long line out back. Eventually with some arguing and convincing that we need to be inside for the awards we get in, but it still a pain sometimes.
In the end I claimed 2nd female and 1st in my age group (30-34). I finally broke the curse of finishing 1 spot out of the money and 1 spot out of the championship medals! Woo hoo! Catherine, Ellie and I collected our awards and then while everyone else stayed for the spectacular after part, we bolted and I rushed off to the 12:30pm ferry.
Top 3 women and men L-R (3rd Catherine, 2nd myself, 1st Sabrina, BC Athletics Maurice Wilson, 3rd Forrest Simpson, 2nd Clifford Childs, 1st Geoff Martinson)
Ellie and myself collecting our 30-34 AG awards
Thanks to Karen and Steve at St.Patrick’s 5km. You guys run an incredible race and we are always well taken care of, not to mention one of their awesome sponsors happens to be Saucony Canada themselves!
Results are found here.
Athletics Illustrated race recap here.