Sunday, March 29, 2009

Race report: Around the Bay 30K

From A whole lot of soles...

I spent Saturday morning clearing my chest of congestion and it continued through the afternoon. Ugh, this cold has haunted me for the past two weeks and I'm sick of it. By the time I got to Hamilton, I was feeling a little better. Picked up my race pack -- the T-shirts this year are really nice, fits me better than last year's.

Later on, I met up with Fran and we had beer and nachos at the bar near the hotel. We chatted running and called it a night just after Earth Hour began.

I had a great night's sleep and woke up dismayed by the rain. Had my bagel and around 8:30, went down to the lobby to take a look at the rain. Yep, coming down hard.

Fast forward to the start, just before 9:30, the rain tapered and I lined up near the front.

The first 5K
I shot out at a pretty good pace, feeling that I could breathe properly and get my stride going. A lot of puddles everywhere so it was difficult jumping over puddles. After a few kilometres, I already had soaking wet feet. Oh well. The first two kilometres were great at the 4:33 range, a little slower than 2:15 pace. I saw the 2:15 pacer run by and decided that this just wouldn't be the day. Sure, I could have tried to keep up but today, it just didn't feel right to go any faster. A 30K requires you to bank energy and I was feeling good at first, but I knew that the lack of real mileage in the past two weeks and that my full lung power would not let me do 4:30s throughout. It was then I decided to slow down and go for a comfortable pace which turned out to be 4:37s.

1. 4:33
2. 4:33
3. 4:37
4. 4:37
5. 4:37

5K to 10K
We were running through the streets of Hamilton and it was nice to see the area again. It felt a little frantic since a lot of runners were jockeying for position. I brought a small disposable bottle of Gatorade and had that done by the 3K mark so I was depending on the water stops for Gatorade. It was my goal to take liquid at every stop and I did.

Soon after the 6K mark, my co-worker B. came running up to me and we high fived. We started running together and we chatted. He was going a little faster than his pace and I told him I still had a cold. It was kinda nice to have someone to run with and we kept up our pace and conversation through the 10K mark. By the 9K mark, we were slowing a bit, partly because we were talking and also we were pacing off runners who were slowing. We hit the 10K mark and there was the first series of small hills as we started running close to the Bay.

6. 4:37
7. 4:33
8. 4:41
9. 4:44
10. 4:38
The 10K split was 46:25

10K to 20K
Gonna write about this entire section cause, well, a lot of it was flat. I was still running with B. until we hit a water station somewhere around the 13K mark. Since I've gotten used to taking in liquid at stops, he was a bit behind and I decided that I should continue to the pace and even raise it. Unfortunately, since I was so focused, I couldn't say goodbye and wasn't sure where he ended up finishing. The pacing was pretty straightforward, I was judging it by effort and by who I was running around rather than to worry too much about the splits. You can see that most of my splits were around 4:35 to 4:40 range. It was at this point that I felt congestion building (In gross speak, that's mucus building up). It was strarting to interfere with my breathing and I had to cough and spit at times. The rain picked up and so did the wind so from the 10K now until about the 25K mark we were dealing with wet weather. It was pretty brutal.

We entered Burlington around the 18K mark and I was dreading the moment. I was trying to figure out how I would deal with the hills from the 19K to 26K mark but even just entering North Shore, there was a long incline.

Here are the 11 to 20K splits

11. 4:32
12. 4:42
13. 4:34
14. 4:36
15. 4:39
16. 4:41
17. 4:40
18. 4:41
19. 4:39
20. 4:42

The 20K split was in 46:31, only a few seconds slower than the first 10K

21K to 26K
Last year, I made major work of the hills. I charged up them, letting my breathing get laboured, then I coasted down the downhills and I made major time. Today, I took it easy on the hill. The breathing was already laboured and the weather was making me miserable. I really wanted to take walk breaks but I knew that if I gave in, it could have been game over. Having reduced lung capacity, mucus buildup and a little less training than I'd liked, made the hills a real test of resolve. I really huffed and puffed my way up the hills and barely did recoveries on the downhills.

Near the cemetery, in the kilometre before the last big decline and the huge incline, I started to  find somewehre near my pace. Looking at the splits between 21K and 26K, I can tell that I'm just not where I should be. Last year, I was clocking sub 4:30s on a lot of those kilometres as I made time on the downhill portions.

The final downhill, I was happy to hear the loudspeakers blare 'We Will Rock You'. The downhill and uphill afterward were tough and I managed to make it up the killer hill but it was hurting big time. Did I mention that my hat, my tights, my top were all soaked?

21. 4:46
22. 4:49
23. 4:46
24. 4:52
25. 4:47
26. 4:39

The Final Four
My slowest kilometre is around the 27K mark, which accounts for the hill and recovery as we coasted downtown. The final four kilometres were really tough. I was having trouble getting my breathing in check and the fact that I hadn't done truely long mileage in three week was hurting my strength. I did this last three/four kilometres last year at near 10K pace (low 4 minute kilometres) but today, my turnover just wasn't doing it for me. Mentally, I thought maybe I had gas but I knew that if I picked it up early, I would risk a redline and decided to enjoy and coast to the finish. By the final kilometre, I had regained some speed with a 4:32ish pace.

27. 5:03
28. 4:54
29. 4:37
30. 4:32

As we entered the downhill ramp, I was very happy for it to be finished. The rain had stopped a few kilometres before and I felt good having done my longest mileage of the year, all at a reasonable 3:20 marathon pace. I crossed the finish line at 2:21:10 and pumped my fist. Very happy with this effort. A good test of resolve. It hurt a lot. I probably shouldn't have gone out at that pace and even talked myself that a 2:30 would be a good time to go for.

Here are my splits at the 10K marks

Chip time: 2:21:10
Overall: 392/4916 (92 percentile)
Gender: 341/2617 (87 percentile)
Division: 40/248 (83.8 percentile)


Arcane said...

Hmm, if you drink more beer the night before, you might even become faster! Pretty consistent pace you had. I think you'll be fine for the marathon in May.

Quinto Sol said...

If the cold lasts longer than a week, then it probably it's not a cold; it may be a bacterial infection. Or you may have really bad allergies.

I once went for two months recovering from a very productive cough only to find out that the reason was allergens... sigh.

Excellent effort on the race!

Mark said...

Wow! That's some great racing! Great splits! I feel your pain with the wind and rain, makes for tougher racing. Hope you get better, soon.

Marlene said...

You know, I may have seen you pump your fist! I saw so many runners coming in looking disappointed that I really noticed the happy ones.

Congratulations. You ran a strong race with a great finish! I give a lot of credit to everyone who faced that rain yesterday. And on a challenging course! Wow.

Anonymous said...

Great race report. i love the detail and the rundown of your thoughts and considerations throughout the race. tremendous finish - all things considered.