Always outnumbered, never outgunned

It’s been a week and a bit since Harry’s Spring Run-Off, so I suppose it’s time for a few more updates. Not much has happened; I’ve just been pounding out the miles on the roads (just like every other week of my life). I reduced my mileage to 140km during the week of Harry’s Spring Run-Off to rest up a bit for the race. It actually said 130km on my schedule, but after two or three days I complained to Steve that it felt like I was barely running, so for the first time in, well, ever, I was allowed to run a bit more. It’s a good feeling when you get fit and a 60-80 minute run doesn’t feel like a big deal anymore.

We took the mileage back up last week, to my great relief. I finished the week with 175 kills and a couple of solid workouts under my belt. I learned that I still love mile repeats and track workouts are still brutal, especially when your first outdoor track workout of the year involves running 5000m goal pace (at 8:30 in the morning, to boot). We had a pretty good pack doing a staggered workout, with the guys doing 800m repeats at 10k pace, myself running 600m repeats at 5k pace, and the junior girls doing 400m repeats at 1500m pace. It was pretty cool to have a big pack pulling me along, which I expect a lot of women in Ontario doing long distance track events (you know, all three of us) would normally have trouble finding. In all seriousness, it has been great this year to have a group of training partners in workouts.

I managed to make the weekend consist of two hard days in a row with my decision to run the Run for Retina Half Marathon on Sunday. I figured it would make for a good steady run and get me a quick buck ($150 for the win) for my road-whoring ways. As it turned out, my teammates Bronwen Douglas and Scott Finch were also running the half. I asked Bronwen what sort of time she was hoping to run, and she replied with “oh, I would just like to break 1:30.” I offered to pace her for a while, since that was about the pace I wanted to run. Of course, the gun when off and Bronwen goes off and runs a 3:50 or something first kilometer. Up a hill. I actually didn’t know how fast she went, because within the first 800m, my shoelace came undone. This has NEVER happened to me in a race before, because I am one of those obsessive compulsive triple-knotters. I figured I didn’t want to run another 20km with my shoelace undone, so I stopped to fix it and gave Bronwen a 25 second lead.  After that I settled in to 4 min/km pace, which was difficult to maintain when we ran back through Harris Park right after the 10k race had started. I got to fight my way through about 500 people running on a narrow bike path. I tried to be polite by saying “on your left!” or “on your right!” but people either looked at me like I was crazy or couldn’t hear me because they were running with headphones. Eventually I got out of that mess, and clicked off a bunch of 3:58s. I caught up to Bronwen at 17k, at which point I called her a sandbagger because she was on pace to run 1:25. I took the lead after that and finished in 1:25:01. Bronwen ended up running 1:25:51, a big personal best for her.

The half marathon was a decent effort for me. I averaged 4:02 per kilometer, including the shoelace incident. I was quite surprised at how comfortable sub-four minute kilometers felt during the race. While it was a good training run, the Run for Retina road races are probably the worst organized road races in London. It sure made me appreciate the very well-run London Honda road race series. I’ll be running the Downtown 5k on April 22nd as my next race. I’m pretty excited to see what I can do for 5k on a fast course.

In other news, this weekend promises to be pretty exciting. Between the Canadian Half Marathon Championships, the Vancouver Sun Run, the London Marathon, and the Boston Marathon, it’s a good weekend to be a fan of road racing. It’s also a good weekend to be a fantasy geek, because Games of Thrones is premiering this weekend on HBO. Based on the awesomeness of the books and preview videos like this, I think the series is going to be pretty sick.

Perhaps this song captures the feeling of trying to run past 500 people on a bridge. Or maybe not. Either way, it’s awesome. It’s very different than Rancid’s usual stuff (which I love…I’m not one of those kids that loves acoustic songs but then won’t listen to the real thing), but I’ve been obsessed with it lately. I realize I have already featured a Rancid song in one of my posts this year, but this band is just so damn good that I could use awesome songs by them on every blog post and still run out of good blog ideas before I run out of songs.

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