I arrived early at Stanley Park after much deliberation about what to do about my long run. I considered running from home (about 12k) and then racing, before running back home. In the end I decided to drive down early and get an hour of running in before the race, and follow the race with another hour or so. This worked out very well for me. Not only did I run into Richard Rycraft (a friend and one of my former athletes), I was able to get a good parking sport, avoid the lines for package pick up, and I got to preview the course.
After parting ways with Richard, I finished my warm up with some drills and strides before making my way to the start. I was given an "elite" number so I was able to be at the front of the corral, but seeing Steve Osaduik and Ryan Hayden there, I knew that I was "elite" only in name.
I was actually feeling pretty good after the warm up; yesterday's race was sitting ok in my legs. The 8k started with a bit of an uphill, so, with Paul's reminder, I took it easy off the start - no need to blow up in the first 50m for an extra 4 seconds. The race was actually a little sketchy at the start with some narrow paths, poles in the way and 180 degree turns on wet dirt. We all survived fine and I hit my pace target for 1k - 3:15. Coach John had suggested that I go out in 3:10, but I thought that with the race yesterday that I should back that off a little. I would rather finish with a 3:10 then start with one.
The field spread out very quickly with the 4 true elites off the front and the rest of us racing for time. I was behind Paul and Jay, but perfectly so. I have learned that I can run with them in workout, but not yet in races. I was pleased with my position through 2k (3:18) and not much was going to change from that point on. Someone once told me that where you are at 3k in a race is pretty much where you will end up (the does not work if you go out WAY too hard or WAY to easy). This was to be the case today.
I ran well through the next 6k, but not really making up much ground on the people in front of me. It was interesting to watch the race ahead of me though, as the Stanley Park seawall affords some extended views. Paul was ahead, pulling two guys through the gentle headwind, only to have them sprint by in the end. Jay, like me, was on his own, two places in front of me. I tried to will him to catch Paul's group (he was about 15 seconds back), so that they could work together, but my mental energy wasn't enough. I had one guy about 10 seconds in front of me for the last 6k, but I wasn't able to get going enough to catch him.
My last 6k went as follows - 3:19, 3:20, 3:20, 3:21, 3:21, 3:15. I ended up running 26:30 (chip time, I WANT that 26:30, not the 26:31 gun time). I am pleased with this run today - 11th overall. It is a PB by about 30 seconds (from earlier this year - 26:59). None of us were truly rested for this, so Paul's 25:50 and Jay's 26:10 were very solid as well. A good day - and we won the team division which means the ten member of VFAC's Team Z won $100 gift cards to Harry Rosen's. I am not sure which pair of socks I will buy with it, but they will be nice!
I finished the day with an hour of base running with Paul. Good, geeky runner talk made the run go very quickly. I am going to back off a little this week - I have had a solid 5-6 weeks of training, so a little rest is in order (and I have Parent-Teacher interviews this week). This may also give me a little taper heading into the races next weekend. After seeing the results from the Bazan Bay 5k today, and looking at how fast my friends are going, I have to ante up!