Friday, August 24, 2012

Back To Back To Back

My training had been building to this weekend since March.  Three days, three cities, three races.  Sounds impressive but in reality it was a glorified fitness test.

Race One in Port Stanley, Ontario was my fourth Reach theBeach 5K.  I love this event, the course and my history of overcoming injury and accomplishment.

This time around my plan was to run disciplined, not bolt out at the start and die climbing he hill.  I knew that my training methodology wasn’t conducive to a lightning fast race; however I was going to using the time to baseline my fitness and determine my pacing goals for the rest of the weekend.

Finding a location on the starting line that would minimize trampling 8 year olds and 2.5km walkers eventually put me in the finishing chute with half a dozen other “adults”  It also provided great inside line once we got to green light to run.  Through the first kilometer I kept telling myself to dial it back a bit.  Heading to the “hill” I had a brief chat with the running coach from Runner’s Choice.  He’s been nailing some great runs this year and it was a pleasure to see him slowly peel away healthy and happy.

The only thing I felt I struggled with this year was running the downhill.  I couldn’t find my stride and felt like I was braking down the entire hill.  Looking at my splits from 2010 (no watch in 2011) I was quicker through the middle of the course and slower at the start and finish.  The finish I understand.  If there is no one behind me, I tend to coast in to the finish and not push the pace.  I‘ll take the 22:18 with the 22nd overall and 4th in the 50-59 age group. (although after factoring out the Masters runners I was awarded 2nd)

Run For Your Life'rs
Up next on Saturday was a Catholic-Hindu wedding followed by a bus trip with Chris and Julianne and the gang from Run For Your Life in St Thomas to A Mid Summer Night's Run in Toronto to run the 15K.
Going in to this event I had no clue what to expect from myself.  All my training had been by heart rate and not pacing so I was a bit lost for a race plan.  All I could envision was use my 5K time from the night before and plug it in to the Jack Daniels spreadsheet.  The magic numbers were a 4:46min/km pace and a goal finishing time of 1:11:31.  Interesting numbers, my fastest distance time was the 2011 Good Life Half Marathon and my overall pace was 4:50-ish. 
Chris and Julianne

Regardless of all the numbers stuff, this was a fun event with a great routing through Tommy Thompson Park.  You wouldn’t know you were running in Metropolitan Toronto until you see the skyline at sunset.
Other than the skirt compliments of Terri, this was a really quick training run.  Evenly paced, by 5km segments, slowly increasing in the last 5km, I checked my pace on every kilometer split, pleasantly surprised how closely I was holding my goal pace, occasionally slowing by a few seconds, occasionally speeding up by a few.  All-in-all this distance was right in my comfort zone and I nailed my goal, finishing in 1:10:32 with a 4:43min/km pace.  Needless to say, I’m quite happy this result.

The final event of the weekend on Sunday morning was the Rock the Road 10K.  I blistered the course last year.  This year I hoped just to survive with magic numbers considerably slower than my PB.  I was looking at a 46:30 finish and 4:39min/km pacing.  I settled on using 4:40 as my pace.

The first 5K were close to plan with the me remembering to hold back a bit on the downhill start.  Heading in to the second half my legs started to get heavy. While there wasn’t a stampede past me along Adelaide Street, I knew I wasn’t holding my pace.  At the 7km mark my average pace was right on the 4:40 mark but I was running at 4:50.  I had no oomph for the last two kilometers although I was still managing to pass people.

My finish time was 47:07 for 9th overall in my age group and 62nd finisher.  Not quite what I was expecting, in my head I was closer to my goal time.  Bottom line, I really wasn’t spending too much time looking at my watch I was probably thinking about the beer waiting for me at the finish line.

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