Thursday, May 9, 2013

Gotta know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em.

Hello sports fans,

As you all know, the last few months of training for many people have been devoted to the BMO Vancouver Marathon.  It was a long and strenuous journey for many to fight injury and illness and toe the line in May for this big spring marathon.  I had been focussing all of my training and races specifically for this race and for the most part, things were going very much to plan.

I had recently had the confidence booster I needed coming into this race by setting a new PB at the Vancouver Sun Run.  On race morning I felt great and my pre race routine was shaping up very nicely.  I was able to consume all my fuel at the early hour and keep myself relaxed and happy.  I made it to the Fairmont Waterfront hotel by 6am to catch the elite shuttle.  It was great being in the lobby basking in the sun as it rose up over the east of the North Shore mountains.  Kenyans so relaxed and graceful even as they eat their pre race fuel.   It feels so calming being around such greats as I know in their minds they are approaching this race with a familiar feeling.  We are all going out on course to push the limits of our bodies and minds.  I find a spot on the bus next to fellow VFAC teammate Alex Lea who was pleased to have earned her way up the ranks to elite status.  Her and I both shared our feelings and goals on the way to the start area.

The elite warm up gym was great for pre race dynamic movements.  It was an acrobatic gym so the floor was bouncy and very soft under foot.  Had I not had a race to do I would be tempted to try some acrobatics on the floor and trampoline.  With my luck I'd brake a leg for sure.   The sun shone in through the windows and the Kenyan runners stretched and applied their Icy Hot rub as I listened to my music and did my routine.  I left to go out and do a warm up run.  The Pearl Izumi Road N1's felt great under foot for my warm up and have treated me well during training.  They really do promote an efficient running style and cater perfectly to my mid foot strike.

As the gun went off and we made our way down the road I noticed a very relaxed and lazy pace.  My goal in a marathon is to run the same pace from start to finish with some tolerance on downhills and uphills.  It worries me to be shoulder to shoulder with a 2:15 Kenyan Marathoner for any length of time in a race but I knew based on effort I was running the right speed.   A familiar sight was talented Nic Browne race up to the lead as he is quite religious with pacing as well.  I know the marathon is a run your own race kind of deal so I plugged on at my given pace.  We were closing in on the second mile and I was in a very familiar place. I was all by myself feeling good and relaxed and running the correct pace.  There was no group around me as I was planning on and Nic was pushing it just out of reach up ahead.  I was passed by Jason Loutit going down the last bit of hill at 8km.  I knew I was running fast enough and kept my pace.  He's a strong runner but we were super early in the race.  As we climbed Camosun hill I caught up to and passed Jason.  There was a great cheering squad at the top of the hill and a very enjoyable water hose which sprayed us as we ran by.  It was hot at 10km and I was still comfortable with the heat.

The next few kilometres were uneventful.  I cruised through the out and back and was able to get a look at the leaders as well as my competition.  I was comfortable with my effort and placing, but my pace was not as consistent as it should have been.  The course for the next few kms would be flat and also a great place to see how pacing would be.  I was not happy and my pace was between 5-10 seconds per kilometre slower than projected.  I knew I could maintain this effort and placing but would never be able to achieve my goal time at this rate.  With the heat and slow speed, it would likely be a disastrous time.  My coach and I had agreed that if for some reason on race day things were not going to plan to pull out early enough to save my legs and body for the Abbotsford Run For Water Marathon in three weeks.  I was passed again at the bottom of Spanish banks hill by Jason once again by his uncommon surge pacing.  I knew I would likely be able to catch him if not keep the gap.  I kept the effort on as I had yet to make up my mind weather or not to race to the finish and keep my second place Canadian Finish and a pay day but also a slow time which I would not be happy with.  I went through Half way in 1:15:30 about a minute slower that I had hoped.  After seeing my coach on the sidelines, I told him I was out.  I kept my effort at tempo pace for the next few mms until the 25km mark.  I pulled the plug and sheepishly walked off course.
Just before making the crucial decision.

The decision was more difficult than finishing the race would have been but I really wanted my fast Marathon time.  It was not the day for it.  I know how many people had expectations of my performance and will likely consider this as a failed attempt.  Some of Canada's best Marathoners including Dylan Wykes (2nd fasted Canadian Marathon of all time) have had to pul out of a race in a desperate attempt to save the body for another attempt.  In a way, his Olympic qualifying race in Rotterdam meant nothing in regards to his overall placing, but everything in regards to his time.  He not only qualified and beat the olympic standard, But set the 2nd fastest Canadian marathon time ever.  Sometimes you have to look outside the box to the bigger picture and know when to hold em and when to fold em.  I am continuing to train and stepping up my mileage to prepare to crush my best marathon time.
If I failed you, do not worry, I have not given up and nor will I.  No matter what happens in the Run For Water     I will cross the line and meet all three of my goals. First is my time goal of between 2:32 and 2:29. Second, I want to win the race, but will accept top three if the day goes poorly. Third, Bring home the cheddar! Even if I had finished second Canadian in the BMO Marathon, my payout would be less than finishing 2nd in this race.  I know I don't make lots of money with running and that I run for greater reasons, but when there is cash, it always helps out.  For now I am tired of writing but still hungry to train and build strength and speed.  Stay tuned for the next entry in a few weeks and come out to Run For Water to cheer or compete. 

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes the smartest decisions are the hardest ones to make. All the best these next couple weeks leading up to RFW - this race is all yours. Given the timing of that race for me, I'd been considering doing the 10K. But I might come out to cheer and support!