I made my way out to Stanley Park for the race, and the overall goal to chase points in the lower mainland XC series, and to take the age group win for my 35-39 category, thus securing another 30 points for my effort, and almost locking up the category with two more races to go.
I arrived just after 10, registered and had a quick warm-up. Mike Murphy went home after a bit of a jog due to a sore achilles--he was leaving well enough alone in prep for the nationals. I, on the other hand, have had a string of 9 runs in a row--a couple of really great ones in Kamloops over the weekend to boot. However, my legs have not felt sharp, and my calves have been tight. Swapping shoes between my beloved Sense Mantra's, my New Balance MT110's, a new set of Hoka Stinson Trail, and my Speedcross has my feet happy and confused.
At registration, Doug Alward was signing up beside me. He is the guy who drove Terry Fox across Canada years ago. It was pretty cool to have a bit of Canadian history beside me at this race.
My warmup was lack lustre. I doggedly ran part of the course 20 minutes before the race. No stretching, no sprints, just a body warm-up. At the start, Corinne Issel, Cyrus Sy, Will McKechnie, and Dave Cressman and myself met up and talked shop.
I wanted to follow Dave as last year he was a pretty fast dude finishing 2nd in his age cat just over 30 minutes. I had hoped to crack the 30 minute milestone this year, and improve on my form for nationals. At 11:01, the guns of Victory Square sounded, our moment of silence observed, and the last post bellowed from a trombone.
After a countdown, the race took off. I found myself running alongside an over 50 year old Doug Alward. I thought that I had dusted Dave Cressman, but he caught and passed me at the 3k mark. 8k is a long race when you are at the red line.
At 3k, I was toast. I felt like S#it. I tried hard to maintain, and surprisingly, I did hang on. My thought was that if I could keep Dave in sight, I would have a good chance at the overall for the category. The two climbs in Stanley Park are short, but steep and steady. They really take a chunk out of a racer. But proper pacing was needed at this time, and my paced slowed. Doug and I steadily raced to the top, I managed to keep him behind me, and built a few steps on him on the downhill. His heavy breathing was motivating yet intimidating.
|Rolling terrain and a couple of hills.|
Coming back to the start finish area, I knew that we had to make a short loop back into the finish, and thinking about that short loop nearly killed me. Victor Sologub (from the Cates Park XC--I lost the sprint finish to him) was just in front of me. I could not tell who he was when I passed him, but he recognized me and passed me back. I came in 4 seconds after him, in a sprint that was just over 100m.
My second crack at the Stanley Park course for the Remembrance Day 8K run presented by Hershey 's Harriers had me shave just over 40 seconds off of last year's race, and I moved down to 13th overall in 2013 from 12th for 2012. Lose one place, pick up 40 seconds overall.
I will take it if I am getting faster.
A very good result considering the field that showed up. Just not the result that I was looking for. I guess I have to be 40 seconds quicker to beat the very fast-very experienced Donovan Watts in my age cat, a super athlete extraordinaire. The guy is a beast.
|Some numbers from the race.....|
Results are here.
As last year, the Hershey Harriers put on a great race and threw another awesome after-race party at the Brockton Oval Field House, ordering up pizza for all racers, and opening the bar at noon for the runners. I did not partake in the drink that early in the day, for it would have made for a dangerous drive home. Corinne Issel was second in her cat, Victor was first in his, and I nearly stole Dave Cressman's silver medal before he was able to collect it.
Gear of the day:
Sugoi BC T-Shirt
New Balance MT110 V1 (Silver and Red)
Tomorrow is definitely a run day...
...in my Hoka's.
Next up: Clearbrook Park XC. Chasing points.....