Sunday, March 29, 2015

Race report: Around the Bay 2015

My eighth straight Around the Bay happens 22 days before my goal marathon, and while I thought I had fitness to race it, it's too risky to go all out, or so I told coach Rejean.

His battle plan was to run 5K at 4:30 kms, 5K-10K at 4:20, then 15K at 4:15 (marathon pace) and close the final 5K in 4:10.

Race, but only to a point. Run but only to pace. But what could you do if you followed the game plan? That would give me a 2:08 ATB and a solid close to a long distance taper run with 20K at MP or faster.

My team all gathered at Copps and we took the team photo. I was going to run with Andrew who had similar plans.

We set out to run our 4:30s but were swept away in the crowds even though it felt easy. We knew it was a bit warmer than yesterday's forecast had indicated, but I had pretty much made the perfect gear choice save for the gloves which at that point felt a little too warm. I carried it for much of the first 10K.

The course revamped has a series of rollers but we were running on well maintained roads and we were able to get on to pace. Seeding ourselves in the first corral we were able to find our space. We made room from the 2:15 pace bunny and started to hit our paces. By the time we hit a 4:23 fourth kilometre, I was ready to start testing 4:20s.

1 4:18
2 4:25
3 4:19
4 4:23
5 4:19

Glorious day, we tend to get them at the ATB, and it was good to run among strong ruers. My paces started to dip below the 4:20 mark, logging a 4:16/4:17 and also a 4:07. None of it felt particularly hard but I knew that this run would give me a tonne of benefit for Boston. I've done a number of 30+ km runs this training cycles, six of them at 35K, but none of them were subscribed for this pace. Aside from speedwork and hills, our long runs were getting us endurance in often cases bad conditions.

We turned the corner and up the ramp to hit the 10K relay mark, and the wind picked up. Good decision to have the gloves, I concluded as I also resolved to now think of the game as on.

6 4:17
7 4:21
8 4:16
9 4:07
10 4:10


This portion of the run is usually when I get into pace, it was also the time when Rejean wanted me to start hitting 4:15s. He was pretty adamant that I be true to pace this run so we started to ramp things up. We were naturally starting to pass runners as we sped up.

Passed a few runners we knew and I made sure to take my second gel, having taken the first before the race. Looking back, these kilometers were strong -- I only hit 4:15 once, but the other four kilometres were pretty consistently on.

11 4:12
12 4:16
13 4:17
14 4:15
15 4:18

Halfway mark and the move into Burlington. The rollers were coming and I mostly ran by feel, not really looking much at the average pace. I knew running up hills the best tactic was to run by effort -- if I looked at the watch I'd probably get a little freaked. A 4:15 effort into hills would take a few seconds off here and there, but for every uphill, you'd get a flat or a downhill.

Andrew and I around 21K in. Photo: Tom Sapiano

The splits I'm fine with, even happy with.

16 4:19
17 4:10
18 4:21
19 4:14
20 4:18

The 21K mark is a top Lasalle Park, which is the biggest hill, but there were two more mini hills left, I knew. my average pace may have had my passing the half marathon mark in about 1:30, not a bad warmup.

The next kilometre or so, we climbed the hill and tried to make it up to pace. Around 22 or 23K, Andrew told me that he was going to stick to his current pace so I decided to keep the pace strong. By the 23rd-25K stretch, I was now getting closer to the 4:10s that coach wanted from me for the last 5K.

21 4:20
22 4:19
23 4:11
24 4:17
25 4:10

So the dreaded and infamous hill, Spring Valley Road, is no longer there, but while we got flat road, we got a lot of wind. I had no one to draft off of, so I just tried to up the pace. I was recovering from the final hill and I had looked at this final 5K like the last part of Boston after you crest Heartbreak Hill. Could I hammer it home, even into the wind?

After we passed the 26K mark I had hit is in 4:18, I felt that the race was now down to a very manageable portion. I started to push a bit, hitting 4:11 for 27K and you could see the final stretch, one I've raced the past seven years. I did 28K in 4:13 and found another gear, hitting the last two kilometres in 3:58 and 4:06.

I entered the arena and even in the last 500 metres I knew I'd have a new PB. Crossed the finish in 2:07:33, more than a minute off my Midsummer's Night race from 2014 and 4:30 faster than last year's ATB.

26 4:18
27 4:11
28 4:13
29 3:58
30 4:06

In a lot of ways, breakthroughs are moments to celebrate. Today was a breakthrough at the 30K, but it was also the logical output of a season's worth of training. My half marathon at Chilly, at 1:26:25, was the barometre that would set the rest of the season -- today felt like it was one I'd had to go out and earn. The prize is cashing in on my fitness and taking that, and a healthy body, right to Hopkinton in three weeks.

Around the Bay is that annual test though, and I'm so happy with how this one unfolded. A 2:07 and a silver medal is well below what I would have told you I could have done a few years ago when going sub 2:15 felt like hard work. Come a long way indeed.

A photo posted by Kenny (@yumkerun) on


macnic said...

HUGE congrats to you, Kenny! I'm loving how much training with a crew and coach has given you. You've always been a strong and supportive runner, and the crew has only improved both. A true inspiration. Way to hammer through that wind!

Mike said...

Now that's some rolling hills there ;) Nice recap and great job racing, fast effort! Things are looking really good going into Boston for you! :)

Robin said...

Another great race Kenny and must be a huge confidence Booster going into Boston. You had great pacing through that last 5K too with that wind. Nice work. Inspirational.

Patrick Voo said...

great run kenny! i could only hope for such a fantastic result. one of these days i will test myself at ATB!

Unknown said...

Can you tell us: what was your average heart rate for the run?

Emma said...

Congrats, Kenny! It's so inspiring to follow your training, you are just so strong and consistent.