Saturday, March 7, 2015

Double: 2015 Pioneer 8km and 2015 Vancouver First Half

Already 3 months into March and I have completed 2 races, yet blogging seems to have taken a back seat! I had 4 things added to my plate over the last 7 days, a questionnaire to fill out, a blog request from one of my sponsors, an athlete info piece for another sponsor and a blog for here. Two of those are finished, this is the start of the 3rd which will leave 1 to go! I can't let the procrastinator in me take over! I can do this! 

The easiest way to recap the races is to put both into this one blog. Just get it done right? 

Back on January 11th I took part in my first official race back since my injury last May. The race was the Prairie Inn Harriers Pioneer 8km, which like last year, played host to the 2015 BC 8km Championship. 

Last year, somehow I won the event in 27:13 which was a surprise to me as I was hoping to run sub 28:00. This year, I was very nervous. Not because it was the BC Championship, but because it was my first race back and I had NO idea what to expect. I remember standing on the line with my heart just pounding. 

In the end, the race started and all those nerves went away. Everyone shot off down the road (downhill) at flying speeds including race winner Natasha Wodak. That was a bit of a shock to the system. Eventually I found my stride and found myself next to Frontrunner Westshore's Nick Walker. I have known Nick for years, totally had a crush on him when we were in high school too, but I was honestly surprised he was right there. 

Photo credit Catrin Jones
Well I guess Nick must have had a race plan to start out slow and then hammer the second half because I ran with him until just about 4km and then he took off and left me in his dust. I remember coach Matt yelling out for me to stay with Nick, but there was no chance of that. Once Nick took off he left me in no mans land for the last half of the race. That made it hard compared to last year when I was right with Natasha for most of the race. Running in no mans land is much harder, but I did my best to push on. Today Natasha was flying, though it appeared I could reel her in a tad on the hills and then she would pull away again. That girl was fit. 

In the end I had enough for a decent sprint, even though the series ended their official 100m sprint awards (I think I was 3rd behind a masters runner and one of the Nanaimo Track athletes Amy). I felt strong right until the end, other than my right glute acting up in the last 2km of the race and I was surprised to see the clock at 27:16. That was only 3 seconds shy of my time last year and it also made me wonder what I could have done if I had competition nearby. The closest man either side of me I believe was approx 16 seconds. Natasha blasted out a 26:37 and 3rd female Marilyn was just over a minute behind in 28:19. Results can be found here.


The second race I stepped into was the Vancouver First Half Half Marathon (also the 2015 BC Half Marathon Championships). This race nearly didn't happen for me as after the 8km I had 3 solid weeks of less than ideal training. It was a rough 3 weeks and I nearly pulled the plug. In the end I decided to race and see what happened. This race was on February 15th. 

Due to the less than ideal training going into the race, my confidence was a bit low, so I opted to take the race out at a comfortable pace. The conditions were perfect, other than some fog and a light breeze for the first portions of the race, it was gorgeous. Dayna Pidhoresky flew off the line and I knew that was going to happen so I let her go. 

About 4km into the race there was a bit of a breeze and this guy started running right on my heels to avoid it. Oh great I thought, just wonderful; however, he was a nice guy and after a bit he pulled even, asked me my goal time (which I said 1:15/1:16) and he stated that was his goal too. He then asked if I wanted to switch off miles, so I said sure. He pulled in front and attempted to take the lead. 

 Photo credit Dave Burroughs

Unfortunately though, I found myself chopping my stride and also found the pace had slowed. I pulled out even again and said, the pace was too slow. He picked it up and pulled in front again, but the same thing happened. I chopped my stride, it felt awkward and the pace slowed. I eventually just pulled out and around and went on my way. I don't know who this guy was, but I am very thankful for his attempt to work together. I guess I am just a stubborn runner who couldn't hack it. 

I did end up running with another guy from Lion's Gate I believe. As per the results it says his name is Benoit Gignac. We ran pretty much the entire seawall together hitting 10km in 35:59 (him) and 36:00 (me). I had no idea the time difference, but I could see Dayna WAY ahead at this point. I told myself to keep pushing along and hoped that maybe she would come back to me. 

The second part of the race the seawall gets really twisty and the fog rolled in. Benoit and I ran together, then I pulled ahead, then he pulled ahead, then we ran together again. We hit the lagoon and I think I had a lead, but then had a bit of a weakness and he pulled ahead when this other guy Ryan Carl caught us. I saw we were also gaining on a Comox Valley Runner who turned out to be Vince Brotherston. 

When the race finally came back down on the seawall and visibility cleared up, I suddenly realized that Dayna wasn't that far ahead. 150m or so maybe? With the fog, twisty corners and lagoon I couldn't see myself gaining on her. By the time I finally realized it, there was only a mile left in the race. We had passed Vince and Ryan and Benoit were both ahead of me. I kept trying to push and I could see the gap closing. 

Up the final hill with cheers from the amazing Natasha Wodak and Catherine Watkins, then the downhill toward the finish where I heard and saw my Sister, brother in law and 2 nieces as I ran by. I finished in 1:16:27 (1:16:26 chip) which was 17 seconds back of Dayna for my second BC Champ Silver of the year. (Ryan and Benoit kicked my butt in the last km finishing in 1:16:18 and 1:16:21)

Photo credit Rita Ivanauskas


I was happy with the race. I had no reason not to be. The weeks leading into the race broke me mentally at times. I truly had no idea what to expect. Sure I would have loved to have been 1:15:xx and I believe I probably could have been if I had actually made myself hurt more, but it is easy to say that after the race. If that race was like 500m more I might have had gold! How come half marathons aren't 21.6km? ;) Results can be found here.

My sister Heather, Karys, myself and Jeremy Deere

Top 5 women (5,4,3,1,2)

Top 3 BC Champs
(myself, Dayna, Shauna)

Solo shot after AG awards

Recovery since the race has gone extremely well and I have run some of my fastest workouts yet. I am looking forward to the Bazan Bay 5km this coming Sunday! 

PS. 1 project to go! 

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