I hadn't scored a hat trick since playing hockey with the Guelph Gryphons a few years ago so today was my opportunity to do it again, but as a runner. I had my Around the Bay 30 km win followed by my Harry's Spring Run-Off 8 km victory a week later, then today's Toronto Yonge Street 10 km race to seal the deal. Three wins in three weeks would be sweet. Amazing, actually. And mission was accomplished for 9.5/10 km until Rachel Hannah just flew past me, throwing down a big hammer for the big win. How on earth she managed to beat me by 8 seconds in the final 1/2 km is really mind-boggling. She likely made it look like I was standing still! What a fast last km for her! My shout-out obviously goes to her this week!
In our cool down together after, we had a nice chit chat. We are dietitians and really enjoy each others company so our topics ranged from food and racing to jobs and family life. Felt bad for winner Eric Gillis who joined us in our cool-down amidst our big quinoa discussion. We dietitians can be quite nerdy! Anyway, Rachel recently suffered from an IT band injury but stayed in amazing shape by cross training and only doing quality running. Like me a few years ago, she has been consistently training and racing, steadily making her way up. Today was a huge advancement in her running career as far I am concerned; she was more than a minute faster than her time from last year! Rachel ran a great race, right in my back pocket and made a perfect move to break the tape on a course she knows very well. I started the race as a rookie, at a good clip around 3:10/km, which is to be expected with a start that's also downhill . Throughout the race I had a few parts where I thought I was on my own. I kinda let my mind wander and was cruising then would hear, "Go, ladies". Ladies? So, I'd surge a bit and get moving a touch faster. Only for it to happen, again and again!. In the end, only running 32:41 for a 12 second PB on a downhill course after a season devoted to strength and speed was a bit of a downer but I guess this race was more of a fartlek than anything. My "Go, ladies" surges were reflected by inconsistent splits that ranged from 3:10-3:19.
Alas, I am certainly not displeased with the race. Honestly, I don't know when I've ever walked away angry or pouting at any race. Just not my style I suppose. There is always something to be learned, a positive take-away. The glass is always half full. And I always have so much to be thankful for. As my dad would say, "You always win if you can lose with a smile!".
Today's race was the end of my low mileage (120 k/wk) spring/strength season. Coach Rick will start to ramp up the mileage and we'll return to longer interval sessions, lengthier tempo workouts, and more consistent 35 km+ long runs. I have certainly enjoyed the frequency and fun of racing, easier recoveries after racing and training, and a few less workouts here n' there. But to be honest, I'm ready to get back to my marathon thing. I'll always race 10 km's and the such but I am more suited to the mental and physical balance that comes with marathoning. Those "shorter" races are great and certainly necessary but I don't seem to find a rhythm and I recover so easily that I sometimes wonder if I tried hard enough while racing! I think my Canadian Marathon partner Lanni has recently found the same thing. She ran a 32:29 PB at the Stanford Invite last weekend. It is most certainly a respectable time especially given her high mileage training for Boston but the only thing that bothered her after was a sore tricep! She said her legs just wouldn't turn over and her engine was set for the marathon. I don't know all the stats but I don't think many athletes can race at top level over a range of distances. Mo Farah, a multiple Olympic and World Championships Gold Medalist for the 5,000 m and 10,000 m debuted in the London Marathon today in 2:08 for 8th place. Amazing. Truly outstanding. But not the best that day. I think it takes years to master one distance.
Now that spring is here, I look forward to logging more kilometers outside. After that crazy winter, it's just nice to have footing that is free of snow and ice! I have a long, two-week break until Montreal with Easter in between race weekends. Not sure yet what my goal time will be but with winner, Rachel Hannah and 3rd place finisher, Erin Burrett racing, I'll certainly have to play my A game!
|All smiles with Rachel Hannah after eating her dust in that final stretch.|
|Here's that, "I think I'm on my own, I'll let my mind wander" moment.|
|And you see that arm behind me. That was one of the, "Go, ladies" moments.|
|Other than the end, this is the only time I actually saw Rachel and it was for a very brief moment. If you can't hear your competition's breath or footsteps that are right behind you, they are smooth. Real smooth. Beware.|
|Great recovery food - Liberte Yogurt.|
|Little bit of East vs West competition before racing.|
|Dan Way doing a bit of pacing today since he's racing the Boston Marathon next weekend. Go, Dan!|
|Team East gets the victory over Team West!|
|So excited about my involvement with the Kenyan Kids Foundation! Much more to come.|