Thursday, 30 January 2014

Race Recap: Robbie Burns 8km

So kind of unexpectedly and rather last minute I got a bib for the Robbie Burns 8km in Burlington this past Sunday. I have never run an 8km before and I was not exactly training for a short fast race - so I wasn't really sure what to expect.

I pow-wowed with my coach Michelle, and she suggested I use the run as a way to gauge where I am, kind of like a time-trial. This race was meant to be a way to check in and gain some much needed training perspective as we move forward into the winter/spring race season.

I woke up early and ate my usual pre-race breakfast (sesame seed bagel and peanut butter) and then hopped in to car to head down to Burlington. I picked up my race bib and then met up with coach Michelle and a whole host of Insta-Friends (** waves furiously at the screen Hi Mike! Hi Laura! Hi Nancy! **). We milled around for a little bit and listened to the bag-pipping group. I ate a banana and checked my bag. And before I knew it was time to squeeze in a quick warm-up and head out to the start line.

Let me just say that the weather was obnoxiously cold. It was -15C, and felt like -20C. There was also some serious wind happening. So my feet were numb to start the race, and breathing was also slightly painful. Luckily the streets were clear, and at 9:30AM we were off.

I made the mistake of lining up too far back. The start line was informal, so I placed myself kind of in the middle of the crowd, thinking my placement seemed about right. But when we started I found myself doing a fair bit of bobbing and weaving for the first couple of kms. I eventually found my pace and found some space and just went ticking along. Since this was a time-trial I tried to keep track of my kilometer splits for coach to look at an analyze post-race. My first 4km were pretty consistent

1km - 5:36
2km - 5:51
3km - ??? for some reason my watch missed this one
4km - 5:42

I felt good moving into the second half of my race. Michelle suggested that I try to push the pace here, so my goal was to start picking up the pace a bit. It was moderately successful until I hit the lake front. Once I started running across the lake I found I was struggling more with my breathing - likely complicated by the wind. I started coughing and struggled to catch my breath. I kind of stayed on pace, but lost it a bit. I finished strong though.

5km - 5:23
6km - 5:50
7km - 5:44
8km - 5:04

I finished 45:47, which is about what I expected. As always, I would have been happier if I was slightly faster, but given the weather and my lack of prep for this one I was generally pretty happy with my time. Coach said she was really happy with my race performance. And after reviewing my data, we have a pretty good indication of where I am fitness-wise. So here is what we learned from today's 8km race...
  • I was able to run a comfortable, smart race, but the fact that I was able to drop the hammer in the final kilometer probably says I could have put out a stronger effort sooner. There was more in the tank.
  • I was able to maintain my fitness over the off-season/holidays - WIN.
  • My form is improving. I was less tense on the course today and my stride was a lot more relaxed.
  • My pace is creeping closer to my half marathon goal pace, and I am on track training wise.
  • It is time to increase my mileage and push harder.
Not too shabby for a Sunday morning right?! Plus we got hot chocolate and cookies post-race, along with this hilarious medal and a cozy pair of plaid PJ pants as race swag. I am loving the PJ race swag! LOVING IT!
All and all I would say that was a pretty successful start to the 2014 Race Season.
What is your favourite kind of race swag? Have you ever done a time-trial?
Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,