My plan to rest up on Friday worked rather well. On Thursday, my legs were pretty shot. I had a theory that since I’ve been doing double runs every day, I could recover quickly with a single day of rest. I took Friday off completely, and by Saturday morning, my legs felt great. I think Friday was my first real rest day in about three weeks. I woke up for the 5k intersquad race on Saturday morning feeling fresh and ready to pull a fast one.
The intersquad race consisted of only the Queen’s team, for the purpose of selecting those athletes who will compete at the Western Invitational next week. I was happy to race it, since my legs were itching to go fast, and I wanted to test myself at this early point in the season. It had rained on Friday night, but the ground was still pretty firm over on the Fort Henry course. The wind, however, would be a foe to contend with, as is typical of that course. As of 1 PM, the Kingston Airport measured the wind speed at 22 km/h. Of course, it could have been more than that up at Fort Henry, since we were on top of a hill and right beside the lake.
The start was something of a fast one. I believe Liz Miller, a former sprinter (in front), has a tendency to just take off at the start of a race. But after about 400m or so, we managed to settle in at a good pace. The race consisted of two laps of a 2.5k loop. Nadia Tatlow, a fast rookie from Calgary, and I led the first lap. The course was tough, since we ran the first bit of each lap with a tailwind, then battled a fierce headwind as we headed back towards the start line. A few switchbacks provided some temporary respite, but before long, it was straight into the wind again.
My 2.5k split was somewhere in the neighbourhood of 9:10, but I was hurting from fighting that headwind. Thankfully, we made a 180 degree turn around the halfway mark, so it was easy again for the next kilometer or so. I kept my effort level the same as it had been while I was running into the wind, and managed to put a gap between myself and Nadia. At this point, I started to notice that my heels were in pain. I had had the brilliant idea of running in my spikes without socks. Needless to say, it was a big mistake. I ran alone for the entire second lap, and my motivation was not staying ahead of everyone else, but finishing the race as quickly as possible in order to get those bloody shoes off of my feet.
I finished the 5k race in 18:44, and proceeded to sit down and remove my spikes immediately. I was very happy with my time, since it was the fastest I had ever run on the Fort Henry course (in windy conditions, to boot!) I was also very impressed with the effort that everyone on the team gave. I was a bit worried that because of the wind, everyone would be bunched up into a tight pack (not working as hard as they should have, and making for a very difficult team selection job for the coaches!) But instead, it appeared that everyone chose to “man up” (yes, it’s a politically incorrect term, but see the current issue of Triathlete for more details) and take the wind themselves. And I’m all for a mentally tough Queen’s team!
Oh, and since you’re probably curious…