I arrived to the race early and met up with the Vancouver crew. About an hour before the start I headed off on a warm up with Sabrina Wilkie, Katherine Moore, Shannon Thompson and Jen Moroz. It was actually a faster warm up than I usually do and I noticed that my legs felt alright. I had no idea how the race was going to go. I was hoping for close to 27:30 if I was having a good day and simply wanted to break 28 minutes. Having not raced an 8km since Pioneer last year where I finished 6th in 28:46, I knew I had a PB in me, the question was simply how big of a PB.
It was a mild day which meant it was plenty warm enough to wear shorts and a singlet. I threw on arm warmers and gloves just in case. Also had some CEP Calf Sleeves. Off to the start and after completing some strides my legs felt pretty good.
Boy don't we look impressed ;)
As the race flattened out, I still had Natasha 5-10m ahead of me. I kept pressing on and actually began to close the gap. The legs still felt good so I went with it. Sure part of me thought “what if I blow up at half way” but I basically told that side of me to “shut up and that if I blew up I blew up. The legs felt good so keep going.” So I did. Around 2km I think I passed local runner and friend Byron Trajan as he fell off the pack running with Natasha.
Around 2.5km we hit the first incline, which is a steady gradual climb and here I reeled in Natasha and pulled even. I have a feeling she might have been surprised to see me at this point. When the hill flattened out, it appears as though Natasha surged. Either that or I slowed down, but she pulled away from me slightly. I kept plodding along and kept within a few meters of her.
I hit 4km in 13:30 a few seconds back from Natasha and still felt great. I felt in control and smooth. A bit of rolling hills and then we turned up another gradual hill around 5km. Again, up the hill I reeled her in again. What the…. I kept thinking, she must be just holding back and will kick at some point. The hill flattened out and we hit the one 180 degree turn and I was still right on her heels. Down a slight hill and I was right there. She took the corner a bit wider than me so I then moved to her right shoulder.
Just after 4km
We hit I guess the second to last hill by the school and I still felt good so I made a move to pass her, still while thinking, she is just sitting back to kick. I kept moving and kept pressing on, around the final turn to the uphill finish and I kicked as hard as my legs would let me go up the hill to cross the line surprisingly in 1st place in a new personal best of 27:13. Most people who win cross the line with a smile, not this girl. I crossed with determination because I truly wasn’t sure I was going to win until I actually crossed the line.
Oy Vey I am not a pretty runner. hah. I needed sunglasses, hence the squint. Lovely form with the arm and foot (eye roll)
Two days later, I am still taken aback by my performance. Initially I kept saying and attributing my win to Natasha having an off day. I have been given grief about that and have been told not to down play my performance. Truly I am not trying to downplay my performance by saying that, but at the same time, I have had bad races before and I know how it feels. I was happy to have won, but at the same time I felt for Natasha. I have known this girl since we were kids and used to compete against each other in track. We have been roomies many times for trips. Trust me, I am thrilled I was able to take the win and I realize that on that specific day I was better, but I am human, and I feel for her.
While it may be a race that she wants to forget, I thank her for being right there and pushing me along to my new best time. It was fun to race together nearly the entire way and I hope to be able to do it again when we are both on our A game. Again, I am not discrediting my performance at all, so no grief here please! I am just being honest! Love you T, go rock Arizona!
After the excitement and congratulations from many people after the race, my lovely coach Matt (and Sarah) who had come to watch found me and with his evil smirk, informed me what my workout was going to be. I knew going into the race that I had a workout to do after, but that small part of me thought that maybe he would be nice after the great race I had and forget the workout. Boy was I wrong. Thanks Sarah for trying to reign him in though. In the end the workout wasn’t too bad. Sure my legs were tired but that was the point. I hit some good times in the workout after and looking back at my final 2km in the race, even with some good hills, the last 2km were faster than the middle of the race. Nevertheless the race was a good sign and an awesome start to 2014.
My 27:13 time apparently puts me at #8 for all time Top 10 Performances at the Pioneer event. Yes the course has changed over the 35 years of the event (4 times apparently) and of course weather conditions can change, but to be #8 and be listed with Lucy Smith, Debbie Bowker, Ulla Marquette and Tina Connelly just to name a few….. wow. I am still taking it in. I knew from workouts I was fit, but it is even better seeing it come forward in a race. Hard work and consistency does pay off! Now to keep on rolling.
Congrats to Geoff Martinson who took the overall win and defended his 2013 title. Results can be found here. Thanks to Bob Reid and Prairie Inn Harriers for such a great event!
Some article about the race.
Pre race article - http://athleticsillustrated.com/editorial/top-seeded-runners-for-harriers-pioneer-8k/
Post race article - http://athleticsillustrated.com/editorial/harriers-pioneer-8k-martinson-and-burrett-win/
Nanaimo Daily News- http://www.nanaimodailynews.com/bits-and-bites-nanaimo-s-erin-burrett-beats-record-holder-to-win-harriers-pioneer-8k-race-1.788381
Canadian Running Magazine- http://runningmagazine.ca/harriers-pioneer-8k-draws-impressive-field/
Chek News Footage: http://www.cheknews.ca/index.php/sports?bckey=AQ~~,AAAA4mHNTzE~,ejlzBnGUUKY1gXVPwEwEepl35Y795rND&bclid=975107451001&bctid=3045846591001
Athletics Illustrated Post Race Interview