The last month I have been through some ups and downs, but right now am currently working on an "up". Injuring myself in the Resolution Run in crescent park on New Year's Day left me hobbled with a sprained ankle, sore achilles tendon, and a huge question mark on my progress. Treating those injuries has been better than good, as I can now get out of bed in the morning and not limp around until the lower leg and foot warm up. it has been so good that 9 days ago, me and my brother in law, Sean, ticked off a 39km run in 3 hours and 45 minutes. Forced rest the week before due to illness left me feeling great, along with an improved bed time of 10 pm.
Which leads into last week. With the #3 race of the trail series on Sunday, my lead up was great--3 runs mid week, a CX ride on Saturday, and a chance to open up the engine on the course that is quite difficult with varied terrain--steep hills, undulations, and flats. I was looking to improve on my time of 45 minutes from last year.
Feeding on homemade ravioli and broiled chicken the night before (thanks Fab and David!), I was more than fueled up for the race. I even popped some Sportlegs and a mocha gel before the race, just to have some more jump and fend off the cramps when I needed it most.
The start of these races is so low key and chilled out, there really is nothing to get too worked up about. Nerves do not play a factor in the FVTS races. It is a great feeling to be able to go and run hard without the butterflies. At the start of the race, I did not start my watch until about 800m into the race. I was running faster than I wanted to, but knowing the course is much of the battle, and I know that the hills would play a factor in drawing some time off of the high speeds I was putting in.
I ran much of the race with Darren Walton, trying to gap him on the downhils. He would catch me on the uphill kickers, and we would even each other out. Mark Rowat, a New West runner registered for the Chuckanut 50, beat me in the last race in Campbell Valley, so on of my goals for this race was to beat him. Those downhills were me friends, as it felt great to open up and go full gas down them, caution be damned.
Darren and I would run the last 3 kms together, until the final straight stretch down to the finish, where I put a dig into him, beating him by 8 seconds and setting a series and personal course best of 42:19, good enough for 7th place--my highest placing yet. Running the last km at a 3:40 pace was comfortable, if not on the edge. Sean followed up 46:05, Mark Rowat at 43:49. Our winner yet again is the awesome Mike Murphy blazing a 36:39. He runs so smooth and so fast. Another great race from Peninsula Runners--well organized, fun, and friendly. Thanks to them!
Up next is the First Half Half Marathon.Things are really coming together for me and my run. The ankle is much better, the fitness is there, and the strength and endurance is all falling in line. I need to work some magic and hammer out a quick pace to beat my 1 hour 30 personal best. With this weekend's run in the books, I feel that a 1 hour 27 half marathon is doable.
Time to set up a firm goal. An average of 4:14 per km this week for 10 kms, I feel like 4:02 per km is doable, perhaps my highest maximum average at this point in my running life for a half marathon. That would put me in at 1 hour 25 minutes. We will see. One more run to go before a bit of rest and then Sunday.