Hi folks, hope you all had a great weekend…if the weather was as nice in your parts as it was in ours you have no excuse to not have gotten outside! Sunday was absolutely gorgeous and I was lucky enough to have a race on my schedule, the Run for Retina half marathon.
The race was originally supposed to take place at Harris Park in downtown London, but we had a bit of rain and the Thames River swelled just a wee bit…
The race organizers notified everyone on Saturday that the race venue would be changed and we were now starting at Springbank Gardens instead, meaning I wouldn't be taking part in my first triathlon of the season
With the river cresting the Harris Park bandshell, wondering if tomorrow's @RunForRetina will be converted to a triathlon? Wetsuit legal!
— 3 Cheap Runners (@3CheapRunners) April 11, 2015
I showed up on Sunday morning with Michelle and Kennedy, who were both running the 5K. My race started first at 9:15 and we got to the park with a good half hour to spare. We knew parking was a bit tricky so showing up a bit earlier ensured we would get a spot. It was looking like a perfect day for racing as the sun was shining and there was hardly a cloud in the sky…temperatures were a little cool but were warming up and it was around 6°C when we started.
I knew that Boyd was running the half as well so I made sure to hook up with him near the start line and have a quick chat to wish each other luck…I have to say I'm a fan of his race shirt!
I also got to meet one of Boyd's friends, Ary. Ary is a blind runner and he would be running the race with a guide…this is a pretty congested course in some spots, so quite a tall order! I saw him out on the course a couple of times and it is pretty inspiring to see someone overcome the obstacles in their life to and achieve their goals…really helps you push on as well.
The race went off right at 9:15 and I was at the front instantly. There were two guys just ahead of me and I ran for the first kilometre with the woman that eventually won, Lucy Kortchaguina. Lucy is no ordinary woman, she just happens to be a five-time Canadian marathon champion, as well as the second fastest female Canadian marathoner of all time. She continues to run (and dominate) at the Masters level, breaking Canadian records and winning National championships. So ya…she "chicked" me. Big time.
I cruised along pretty good, coming through the first 5K in 19:29…I had wanted to run around a 4:05-4:10/km pace (6:30-6:40/mile), but I was running a bit faster than that at 3:54/km (6:14/mile). despite the rich pace I was feeling good…I knew that I was going faster than I had planned and I had a history of going out too fast in this race, but I also wanted to make sure I was back past the start area in under 30 minutes so that I would be ahead of the 5K runners that were starting at 9:45 (and get sent off right in front of the returning half marathoners!).
I made the first turnaround and headed out on my second loop and saw the 5K runners approaching in the other lane…I kept my eyes peeled for Kennedy and Michelle and managed to get a high five. A local newspaper even caught us in the act (that's Michelle in the camo top).
I was still clipping along at 3:54/km and my 10K split was 39:04. I had one more loop of the park to go and I was still running solo. I was able to check the gap at the turnaround and I was about 300m back of 3rd place and had an even bigger lead on 5th, probably closer to 800m. I always find that this is the hardest point to push in a race, when you are in those middle miles and especially when you are on your own with no one pushing you and no one to reel in. I just kept pushing as best as I could and tried my best to shout encouragement to the runners going the opposite direction…cheering and being cheered is such a big boost!
One of the runners I saw and cheered was Ary, who looked to be doing well with his guide riding along with him. I also ran past Boyd a couple of times and got a high five.
As the race wore on my pace began to wane a bit…I was starting to see some 4:00 kilometres and knew I had to keep it right there if I wanted to have a shot at breaking 1:25…1:25 is about a 4:01/km pace. I popped my second and final chew at 14K and settled in for the last third of the race, still solo. I knocked out a few more sub-4:00 kilometres and kept the pace where it needed to be as 1:25 was all that was keeping me motivated at that point. There was no one spurring me on and pushing me and even racing for position wasn't doing it as I knew I would be 4th overall and 3rd male unless I blew up. I told Michelle going into the race that I wanted to place and that was right where I was. I turned it up a notch and told my legs to give it all they had left as I made my final kick, and got a great boost from my Mum and Jackson, as well as Kennedy and Michelle who had just finished their race.
I made the final turn into the finishing chute and saw 1:23:xx on the clock…I was pretty stoked! My PR coming into the race was from my last half, the Springbank Road Race, and it was 1:29:18. I crossed the line today at 1:23:21, nearly a full 6 minutes faster! I took 3rd place male and 4th overall, which also netted me a cool $50
Not a bad result at all and SUPER happy with it! If you want all the nerdy running data it is here on Strava. I didn't know if 1:25 was really possible, but it turns out I was selling myself short with it. Now I'm confused about what to set my goal at for the Forest City Road Races half on April 26…I have run both the Retina and FCRR half the last two years and have always followed up Retina with a better result at FCRR. I like the FCRR course a lot more and it is a bigger race so you always have people to run with and push you. 1:20 maybe?? I doubt I have that in me, but you never know!
Thanks for reading!