Since my last post a few weeks back, I’ve managed to try a couple different things both in training and racing. Some went well, some not so well, however one thing for sure is that they all took me out of my comfort zone.
I have two conclusions from this last little block of racing: 1) I do not like road races, they friggen hurt! (yes I am a wimp); 2) 25 laps on the track is a long way, but is much more enjoyable than road racing.
The first of firsts was some road racing. Back-to-back weekends saw our group head to Stanley Park for some fun death. The first being St. Paddy’s Day 5km followed by Canadian Running Series Modo 8km. Both of these races were my first real foray into the painful world of road racing. I am definitely not a person who enjoys physical activity first thing in the morning, most days I take my sweet time to get out the door for the first session of the day, so perhaps that was the first major red flag! Not that these races were at the crack of dawn by any means, but 5:30 pm sessions really are my zone of running-awesomeness. The St. Paddy’s 5km was an awesome environment! A thousand plus people running through the causeway in Stanley Park dressed in green, followed by beers post race! Doesn’t get much better than that. I finished second to training partner (and roommate) Kelly Wiebe at St. Paddy’s in 14:35, with Geoff Martinson, another BCEP training partner a couple seconds behind me. Quite the group, eh!? Modo didn’t seem to have quite the same hype to it, that being said the CRS folks know how to put on a great race, and definitely do an awesome job of putting some of Canada’s top guys on the start line. Can’t say I liked dodging all the muggles on the Seawall during the race though! Safe to say I was servé(d) le lunch in Modo, finishing 4th just under 24:30. And despite this conservative time, it never felt very comfortable to be honest. Something about these road races has me feeling like the I’m sprinting the whole way.
Moving on, the second of firsts was making my 10,000m debut on the track. As somebody who came out of high school thinking I was predominantly an 800-1500 guy this was totally at the other end of the spectrum. If somebody would have asked me last year when I thought I would run my first 10, I probably would have laughed at the question! The weird thing is I was actually quite excited going into the race, and thought, “hell why not give it a try.” I was very fortunate that my first 10k was at Stanford, which always seems to be near perfect racing conditions. The weather always seems to cooperate and the fields assembled are always top notch. Other than my excitement for the race, I didn’t really have any expectations going in. Sure I had been telling friends I wanted to run 28:30-40, which I’m sure they thought was ambitious for the first one out, but I really didn’t know what I was capable of. I had a bit of and inkling from Rich on what would be a good run, and where the spectrum of ‘good’ started and finished. Thankfully I was at the upper end of that spectrum. With a first 5,000m of 14:30ish, I managed to close really well and finish off with 28:36.74 for 10th. Lots of people gave me different advice for the race, but one consensus seemed to be not getting caught up with splits or the lap counter. I think I did a pretty solid job only glancing at the lap counter with 16 and 9 laps remaining. I did check the clock around five and eight km as well as a few times during the last two to three laps but other than that all I did was follow, which made it much easier. The one thing about these Stanford races is that all the runners come to run fast times, and there are always some guys willing to dictate the pace. I didn’t even make the first page of results on the scoreboard! One interesting factoid, my lovely lady (Kendra Pomfret) has correctly predicted my time at my last two races at Stanford. This past race and prior to my 5km pb last year at Payton Jordan she wrote me a good luck note one withe 28:36 and one with 13:33. Potential coaching great? Simple luck? All I know was that it was pretty cool and impressive (once I pull the letters out of the closet, I’ll post them for all those people who think I may be blowing smoke).
I envisioned posting two blogs after the road races and another after Payton Jordan. But we all know how busy the life of a full time athlete is, so many things to do! Lots has happened over the last four weeks (?). Training has gone quite well. It took a few days to start feeling normal after the 10, but things are finally coming around. One cool thing that happened this past week was that I was awarded the graduating athlete of the year at the annual UBC awards banquet. Yes, I graduated last year, however because NAIA outdoor track championship finishes in the summer after the school session is completed I wasn’t eligible for the 2014 award. I was grateful enough to be nominated this year and even more grateful to win the award. Apparently I am the only athlete in the history of UBC to win all three major (male) athletic awards (Rookie of the Year, Athlete of the Year & Graduating Athlete of the Year). Pretty cool!
Next race on the calendar is a 1500m at Oregon Relays (April 18th). A little sharpening race before my 5k season opener at Payton Jordan at the start of May. It’s funny to think I’m dropping nearly nine tenths from one race to the next. Fast twitch muscles – ASSEMBLE!