Fun in the sun.
It’s incredible how a subtle drop in mileage can you leave you feeling fresher and faster. Coming off of a successful Around the Bay 30K, it was time to sharpen up the legs. I knew that I was fitter than ever but my recent races were not displaying that. The St. Patrick’s Day 5K left me wondering why I wasn’t faster than last year and although ATB was very much about snagging the win, I still had a nagging feeling in the back of my mind that maybe I wasn’t in the kind of shape I had hoped.
But when workouts resumed I was immediately running faster than ever. I think the high mileage was disguising some of my increased fitness and once we lowered it slightly (as was the plan after the 30K) I was able to get the legs moving more readily while still benefitting from that large base I had built throughout the winter and early spring. That said, I was very nervous to line up at this years’ Vancouver Sun Run. The field was stacked and, though my workouts were going really well, I don’t have the best history when it comes to this particular 10K race. In the past I have found the hills very challenging and not a friendly course for those who are rhythm runners. Still, I was aiming for a new 10K pb and this was a great opportunity to go after it.
My race plan was to go out in around 16:30 for the first 5K and then to compete. When the gun went off I quickly settled in to the lead pack. The pace was manageable so I was pleased to have company. Within the first couple kilometres I knew it was just the 5 of us: three Canadians (Rachel Cliff, Natasha Wodak and I), an American (Emma Bates), and a Kenyan (Monicah Ngige). At that point I wasn’t sure how long I could hang but I just kept it a kilometre at a time. In a group of 10K specialists, I struggled with the feeling that perhaps I didn’t belong. I regeret not maintaining contact longer, but around the 4K mark I fell off the back slightly.
^ Toeing the line and taking off (pc: Thai Truong)
I was about five seconds back at 5K but was still doing well to keep the distance from growing too much. I think my split was just under 16:30 so I was right on target. I continued working hard, looking ahead and not worrying about what was going on behind me (another top goal of this race). I noticed between 6 and 7K that Natasha had also lost contact with the lead group. I began to focus on her, aiming to slowly close the gap if I could. She was getting closer as we neared the final kilometre on Cambie Bridge. My legs were burning on the downhill and I just didn’t have another gear as we raced toward the finish line.
^ Working on my tan during the latter half of Vancouver Sun Run (pc: Rob Shaer)
Still, I was very pleased with my result. Fifth overall, third Canadian, and a new personal best of 33:11 (besting my previous time by 24 seconds). I’m breathing a slight sigh of relief that the fitness is in fact there, as Josh of course never doubted, and I am eager to race again. Which is good — because this Sunday I will line up for another one in Victoria and try to defend my title at the Times Colonist 10K. Currently crossing my fingers for a windless day. Either way, I am approaching this Sunday feeling confident and excited to dig deep again!