(Chilly Half Marathon 2015 results here)
The mileage has been high so far this year -- I had just finished four weeks in a row of plus 100km weeks, plus four 35K runs in a row on weekends. The tempo and interval paces were getting faster but not all of them were strong. I had added spinning since December, which had helped boost my number of quality days to five a week -- more on that later.
As I march toward a marathon time as fast or faster than my 3:02 PB, coach had us going out with a conservative start but with a progressively faster pace. He wanted us to close it strong. It was 4:15 kms for 5K, 4:10 kms for the next 10K then faster at the end.
This year's Chilly was, compared with last year, perfect weather. Last year was -17C and this year, closer to -8C. I had three teammates to run with, Erin, Andrew and Noel.
I knew going in that though coach gave us 4:15s, we'd probably be a few seconds faster than pace. So we hit 4:12s or 4:13s, pretty much textbook. The weather had held, the roads were clear, and there was a light wind. This section includes an out-and-back and a tailwind at the end of it. We were able to see all the runners ahead of us at the turnaround -- which included a hugely fast field.
5K split: 21:01
We lowered the pace to 4:10s but by then we were going faster so kept on pace. Worked together with the team to keep things consistent then we started to reel in runners. My breath was solid, I felt like I had warmed up and it felt almost easy -- that was good, it should at this point. Andrew and Noel were with me and we all were feeling strong.
5K split: 20:36
The course had some rollers but that was fine -- we'd been training on hills pretty solidly the past month or so. I was feeling like it was work but we were gaining on runners. The pace was starting to fall, maybe because we were turning it up a notch. I didn't really pay attention to total time, just making sure the splits were strong.
5K split: 20:25
Reaching this point, I knew it would be time to see if I could throw down the hammer. Coach wanted a fast finish. Andrew said he would try to maintain his 4:05s and I felt after awhile that all the energy I had saved up, I channel, so I sped up the pace, kilometre after kilometer. With 4K to I increased the effort and was running alone. It never really felt too taxing, but it was work.
5K split: 19:58
|Photo: Tom Sapiano|
Booked it to the end, felt I was giving it. I knew I had a strong finish, but really no clue what the number would look like, until I saw the clock. It was a good number.
That's an almost 3 minute PB and a great indication that I'm at a good place. I did do a mini taper but this run comes with continuous rampup since late December. I'm feeling good and strong and with two races left in March (a 5K and a 30K) I think the work is paying off.