Tuesday, January 15, 2008

PIH Pioneer 8km Road Race

This past Sunday, I attended the first road race in the Frontrunners Island Race Series. These are well put together events put on by various clubs on the island. The first race was put on by the Prairie Inn Harriers (PIH) of which I am a member and do regular training sessions with. Held in Central Saanich, the weather was overcast with sunny patches and the temperature was perfect for an 8km sprint.

While these short distance races are definitely not my focus, I'm starting to see why so many people get into them; they gauge your fitness over time and allow for a fair comparison. In trail runs, courses get changed, and the weather can greatly affect the times due to excessive mud or slippery rocks. Also, time is less important than placement. On the road, time is the important factor and road conditions are only minor issues as times will not vary greatly because of them.

Last year, with limited training, I pulled off a 30:00 time in the same race. I was happy with my result but I knew that I could easily beat that time this year. It was time to find out.

With over 500 people at the line, the race started without a hitch and soon I was red-lining it through Brentwood Bay. As the course is slightly downhill for the first kilometer, it is easy to get ahead of yourself and before you know it, you're running way faster than you should be. Knowing this, I went out strong but really tried to gauge myself once the course levelled out. I was with a small pack of runners at this point which was being separated by a larger group ahead. This gap between the groups was getting larger and I soon realized that the pack I was in was just not going at the speed I needed to go. I pulled away and tried to catch them. Unfortunately for me, the distance had grown too much and I was now in no man's land running into a headwind. In hindsight, I should have pushed the pace sooner and caught the group. Always in hindsight.

Pushing for the next Pack
I ran by myself for the rest of the race with only of couple of positions being exchanged. The last position change hurt the most. The finish is slightly uphill to the finish shoot. I had a racer on my back (who had been there for the last few kms) and a racer just in front of me. The racer behind put on a sprint, I soon followed and we both passed the guy in front. I didn't have enough left and ended up losing the sprint by 1 second. However, it just so happend that he was in my age category and I was dropped out of third place to fourth!

I came away with a decent time of 28:30; 1 1/2 minutes faster than last year and exactly where I was aiming. While my back half was slower than the front half, I still felt that I had a solid race and am looking forward to beating (no, crushing!) this PB next year!

Now, I just need to find out how to take another four minutes off to rival the leaders! ;)


1 comment:

Gary Robbins said...

Nice work Todd!!