Monday, 11 June 2012

Doing the double raceday: Run, then bike. Part I.

Sandcastle City Classic 2012 Start.
Photo: Dan Ferguson, Peace Arch News
Yesterday I attempted something that I have only tired once before, and that was to run a race, then do a bike race on the same day. In 09, I travelled to Fairhaven to do the Chuckanut Footrace, which was my first. I finished that and came back home for the afternoon to ride the Tour de Delta Cat 3/4 crit. On that day, my run was good--a hard run that I had. prepared for poorly the night before by attending a summer part at one of my colleagues. My crit? A horrible disaster. I was dehydrated from the hot day, the night before, and the intesity of the crit trying to maintain 47km/h on the streets of Ladner. I lasted all of 16 minutes of a 30min + 1 Lap crit. Legs all packed up, I could not hold the pace, and subsequently dropped out of the race. Perhaps I had bitten off more than I could chew.

Sunday was different. I attended the Sandcastle City Classic in White Rock--a beautiful run through Ocean Park and down Marine Drive to the beach. Easy, this course is not. Although it is a net elevation loss, the rolling hills and climbs make this thing quite a challenge. This was my 3rd attempt at it since 2010.

In 2010, my goal was a sub 40 minute 10km, which I managed with a 39:36. Pleased as punch, I came back last year hoping to break 39 minutes. I clocked in at 39:24. A slight improvement over the first year, but I was disappointed that I could not muster something greater. After the end of last year's race, I was shattered, and Physiomoves provided me with a post race massage. That actually hurt.

Yesterday I went in with the mindset of trying to set an unrealistic goal for myself, and run my tail off to catch it. I thought 37 minutes would be tough, but was willing to try and run that fast to make a huge leap forward on my PB 10k.

The race began just up the road from Crescent Park Elementary School, and sees us run through the neighbourhood up an around to 132nd, down 132 to 18th ave, east on 18th to 128th street, through ocean park to Marine Drive, and down the drive to west beach, the finish being at the bottom of the hill. As I stated, this race is a killer due to the climbs, but also to the quad pounding descents on pavement.


I started the race hitting a 3:05/km pace, and cooled it down before I made it to the 2km mark, running 7 minutes for the first 2kms. It is hear that I feel that I can bank some time on this course. With a 10km, the race is too short to try and pick up time at the end, and this course seems to suit some time banking due to the downhills. I ran with Kristin Smart, a runner I ran with in the marathon a month ago. I know her to be fast, tough, and determined. I thought she might drop me, but we managed to pace each other fairly well through the first few kms.

Just after 4km, the course lead us onto Ocean Park Drive, and straight into a headwind. This is a long false flat section that seems to go on for longer than the 2km that it does, and pitches up near the end as it approaches 14a ave. This section was fast, but tough. The sun began to shoot through the clouds, and I bypassed the water station just after 5kms in order to conserve time. Again, a 10km is too short to waste time drinking.

At 6km, 14a is a beast of a hill--not the steepest, or hardest, but it is at the point in the race where going hard to earn a solid time begins to get difficult. Staying on the gas is necessary here to the top of the hill. Actually, between 5kms and 8 kms the race is at its hardest, as Marine Drive rolls along--climb and descend into a long climbing false flat before the near 2km descent to the beach.

Things were shaping up well for me, as I felt on the edge but not in too much trouble as I tapped out an average 3:49 pace. Unless I'm doing speedwork or Yasso's, I really do not hit speeds this fast for extended periods of time. But after all, this is a race. And PB's don't come without work. And the taste of blood in your mouth from your lungs. (*That last one did not actually happen at this race)


I felt good coming up 6km, and through the next two, I did everything I could to minimize my losses. My footpod  had me on pace for a 40 minute 10k, as I only looked at the average pace on my watch and crossed it with the running time of the race. I did not remember that my footpod was out a couple of hundred meters, so it indicated that I was running slower than I actually was. By 8km, I was telling myself that the end was near, and I could pick up some of the time I lost on the hills and rollers.

The downhill was long. Just when I needed my legs to open up and go fast, they would hit their limit. Forcing
myself to run faster, I crossed the 9km marker with a head of steam. It is necessary to run loose on the downhill to absorb a much of the shock as one can. Otherwise, the next few days are going to be really stiff.

As I approached the finish, the running clock came into view. I spotted 37:** on it, but could not make out the seconds. Just before the line, the clock turned over to 38:00, and I smiled, missing that minute milestone by 4 seconds.

PB 38:04. A hard charging Kristin Smart behind me.
38:04. A personal best.

3rd overall in 35-39 age group

20th overall out of 260 racers.

An improvement over last years 39:24. I am really happy with this result.

Kristin came in at 38:07. I congratulated her on a good run. She told me she was hoping to 2 minutes faster.

Kristin was great--she is a very motivating competitor and she handily won the women's division of this race with her time. A 2:49 marathoner, a 1:22 half marathoner, and a 37 minute 10k runner, she is quite accomplished as a distance runner. She bested me by 8 minutes at the BMO Run Van Marathon this year. Very speedy, she is.

Running with her has upped my motivation and changed my perspective on what my abilities are as a runner. I feel that with the training I have put in this year, I can post the times that she has achieved. My goal for my next half will be to get in the 1:23s. I think cutting 4 minutes off of this year's 1:27 at the first half is doable. That will be an achievable goal. For 10kms, I am content with this result for now, but feel that perhaps on a less hilly course, I would be down in the 37 minute range.

The next big one is the Kamloops Marathon. This is an encouraging result leading to that race in about 8 weeks. I am looking for my best marathon result there, in the heat. We shall see what goes down.

As for the double, I headed up to the South Surrey bike park immediately after the race to do the Junk Yard Dog on my 29er XC bike. Race report #2 for the day will follow soon.....