Here goes “getting back into racing, part two.” I’ve been talking about Really Chilly for a while now as my first race back, which was certainly the plan for a while. I was certainly more excited about running a road race in February than stepping on a 200m track, being in ridiculous discomfort for a little over four and a half minutes, then coughing up a lung after the race and feeling chest pain for the next week because of it. Yup, road races are definitely way better.
The Really Chilly Road Races are part of the London Honda series. I’m going to try to run as many races in the series as I can because they are competitive, well-organized, local, and Paul Roberts (the owner of Runners’ Choice and the race director) always treats me well. In any case, I would still like to think of the 1500m at Hal Brown as the warm up or prelude and Really Chilly as my actual 2011 debut. Not that these labels actually matter. February doesn’t matter (sorry OUA kiddies). Running fast during the summer matters. Or at least it should to anyone who actually wants to be competitive on a national level.
Let’s get back on topic. The fact that I was racing in February took some of the pressure off. I was able to look at the race as a fitness test along the way toward the summer, rather than a super important do-or-die situation. Of course, I love road racing more than almost anything in the world, so I wasn’t about to write this effort off as a little morning jaunt either. And Lanni Marchant was showing up again to keep me from winning eternal glory as the top female, so I had to bring my A-game.
Sunday’s temperatures were pretty mild, so I was able to go with the longsleeve/half-tights combo. I wore my New Balance compression clothing, which is excellent, by the way. I was still freezing in the ten minutes before the race started, but I managed to run the first kilometer in 3:31, so I guess the cold couldn’t have been too bad. The footing was good, as the streets were bare (though there were a lot of puddles). The only exception was a small out-and-back on one of the side streets, where we had to run on a bit of snow. I ran a pretty slow stretch through there. I started ramping the pace up after the third kilometer, since I had seen two 3:38s in a row and I wasn’t happy. I was also doing a bit of back and forth with two of the guys around me. I would surge to get rid of them, then settle and let them pass me (then they would do the same, and on and on). I made a bit of a move at 3k and tried to hold a faster pace. I ran some decent splits through the middle section (3:35 or faster), but at the 7k mark, I definitely paid the price for it. The wheels started to come off and I ran a bunch of 3:37s.
The only exciting story I have from the race was during the last 500m. One of the guys I had dropped earlier in the race came screaming up behind me. I could hear his footsteps and I thought he would pass me for sure. As we were running up to the small hill (on the tunnel to get into the agriplex), he went by me. I was pretty angry at myself that I let the guy get back to me after working so hard to drop him 5k earlier, so I pressed hard on the little hill to really make him hurt if he wanted to pass me. It worked. I completely broke him on the hill and I didn’t have to worry about him on the homestretch after that. I was pretty proud of myself, because I’m normally a terrible hill runner (so I’m the one that gets broken, dropped, or destroyed on a hill). This was probably the only time in my life that I’ve broken someone on a hill.
Anyway, I ran 35:56.75, which is fine with me. My goal going into the race was to run under 36, which I figured would be a nice round number to aim for at this point in the season. It would also hopefully be under the old course record of 35:59, though I expected Lanni to get there first (which she did in 35:17). Lanni was way off ahead of me, but the good news is that I finished a little closer to her than I did last year. On Sunday I was 39 seconds behind her, compared to the 52 second spread between us at the Halloween Haunting 10k in the fall. Maybe in a few years I can actually challenge Lanni for a while!
Splits: 3:31, 3:38, 3:38, 3:34, 3:35 (17:58 at 5k), 3:33, 3:34, 3:37, 3:37, 3:37
The great part of this race was the support I got out on the course. Members of our club who weren’t racing on Sunday, along with friends and family members, were volunteering at the race. Having my teammates out there as course marshals was awesome; it felt like there was someone cheering for me on every street corner. It’s hard to slow down when Becky Pieterson is yelling at you to “get tough!” Thanks to everyone for your help with the race and for the support out on the race course.
On a not-race-related-but-related-to-the-blog-title note, I’ve been listening to a lot of Rancid lately, so here is one of my favourites. It’s a good pump-up song, too, if you’re into that.