Sunday, 22 April 2012

WR3 Race Report

On Saturday, April 21 2012, I ran the Wear Red Road Race (WR3). It was a half-marathon in support of military families. The race started at the rink in Pownal and ended at the Queen Charlotte Armory on the Charlottetown waterfront. The race cost $35 (early registration) which included timing chip services, shirt and goody bag, and a post-race meal prepared by culinary students. Not a bad deal!

Here is the race website if anyone wanted to check it out:

This is my first race of 2012. I was supposed to go in a 10Kf 2012. I was  on April 7th, but had to drop out due to a fever. I was considering toughing it out, but thought otherwise when I was exhausted from going out for morning coffee! Really hate the DNS, but it would have been pretty ugly had I went. Oh well... registration was only $10 and went to a worthy cause anyway.

Unfortunately, the aforementioned fever was a symptom of a flu, which essentially prevented me from training for over a week. I started feeling better on the 15th, only 6 days before WR3. The last week is supposed to be taper week, but I was in a bit of a dilemma on what I should do since I missed a full week of training. After asking friends and an online running team advice, I decided on one slow, long-ish run of 8 miles, one speed workout (3 * 1 mile repeats @8:20m/m) to wake up my fast twitch muscles, and another 4 mile easy run. The runs went fairly well, except I had coughing attacks during every one, likely leftover symptom of the flu. I went to the doctors and was given an asthma puffer to help my cough for the race.

WR3 was my third half marathon. My times on my first two were 1:55 and 1:52 respectively. My pre-flu goal was to beat 1:52, but I was really not sure what to expect given I was just getting over an illness as well as missing a full week of training.

The race

We boarded the bus the Pownal rink at 8:20. I spent the ride there eavesdropping on the conversation of the people sitting behind me. Basically, the guy was telling the girl he was sitting with how brutal some of the hills on the course were!

We arrived at the rink about 10 minutes before the 9:00am start time, just enough time for a final bathroom break and quick stretch….then off we were!

The first mile was typical for me, extremely heavy breathing - the type that would make Darth Vader proud. For the first time, I actually paid attention to those around me…only one other person was breathing as heavily as me. What’s up with that?

Me (#2030) about 2 miles in

Anyway, after the first mile, my breathing settled down to normal and I settled into a nice cruising pace on a relatively flat first half of the course. Then, just as I was nearing hallway point of the race, one of the most inspiring moments of any race I ever participated in occurred. I passed Camp Gencheff, which is a summer camp for physically and mentally challenged children. I assumed nobody would be there this early in the season, but a group of about 20 special needs kids gathered…hooting and hollering, loudly cheering on every runner as we went past. It gave me a real boost for the steep hill that came shortly thereafter.

The second half of the race had a lot more hills, but fortunately, we made a northward turn around the 12K mark, and there was a fairly strong wind from the south. Also, at this point, the next runner ahead of me was about a ¼ of mile ahead. I didn’t take the time to look behind me, but I could hear footsteps and breathing. At the 15K mark, I caught up to the runners ahead of me and started passing people. In the final 6K, I passed eight people and didn’t get passed by any (not that I was keeping track LOL). The only reason I am bragging about this is because it was the exact opposite situation in my previous two half marathons…I really ran out of gas and was tons of people passed me!

As we approached the final 2K, I took a peek at my Garmin and realized I was definitely on track for a PR, and possibly to break 1:50. Unfortunately, we took a southward turn and the strong wind that was my friend turned into my enemy. I plugged away against the wind and finished at 1:50:17, an improvement of 1:41 from my last half!
At the finish line! I always gun it in the last few hundred yards and usually forget to look up and smile. Despite what it looks like, I was not doing the dry heave thing...I actually felt great!

Official results can be found here .

Post-race analysis

Before I got sick, my long runs were 15-16 miles…way beyond the half marathon distance. I think this really paid off in the final 5K of the WR3. My first two half marathons, the final 5K were pretty tough…I slowed down considerably and was completely wiped crossing the finish line. I could not fathom the prospect of ever doubling the distance for a full Marathon. On this day however, as I crossed the finish line, I felt I could have kept running for who knows how much further. Even though I am comparing two different courses, my Garmin data showed to drastically different stories between my second half marathon and my third:

5k 10k 15K Final
Time for last 6K
Race 1 0:27:06 0:54:27 1:21:29 1:55:10
Race 2 0:24:53 0:50:44 1:17:15 1:52:07
Race 3 0:26:15 0:52:29 1:19:35 1:50:18

Compared to my second half marathon, I was almost 2 minutes slower in # 3 at the 15K mark, yet I finished 2 minutes better faster at the finish!

Overall, the WR3 was a very positive experience...looking forward to next year!