Race Reports

The Rustbuster – Lavington 10km

After the success of my Christmas runs, I didn’t really run for about six weeks. I could feel the shin splints beginning to rear their heads a d so I focused on cycling to try to maintain running fitness with a lower risk of injury.

The Lavington 10k is the first race of the Interior Running Association season. It is a beautiful course largely in the middle of nowhere, mostly flat bit with a few rolling hills. It seemed like as good a time as any to kick-start the 2015 season. The interior running Association is made up of local club runners, a slightly faster field than the more ‘generic races I usually partake in.

When I woke up that morning, I looked out of the window to try to ascertain the weather conditions, which would inform my clothing choices.

It looked cold.

I decided to throw a couple of different options into the car as I headed out to the race. After checking in and getting my number (and waiting in an incredibly long bathroom queue), I still didn’t know what to wear. It was very cold, but the sun was starting to peek through, so after much indecision, I opted for a T-shirt but long pants and gloves. It was risky, but I hoped it would warm up quickly and thus eliminate the need to carry a sweater for much of the race.

Thanks SeeKayTri for this picture!

Thanks SeeKayTri for this picture!

Right from the start, the field swarmed past me. I was ready for that, I had decided to start off slow, but still, as I looked back, there didn’t seem to be many people left.

I might come last!

Coming last is a constant worry for me, particularly in smaller, faster races; but I pushed it to the back of my mind and focused on maintaining a steady pace.

I saw the 1km marker.

Great, just need to do that nine more times…I can do that.

People were still passing me. I seemed to be running so slowly.

As if to underscore this point, at that moment, my friend Markus came past me, congratulating me on my ‘marathon pace’ as he did so.

Marathon pace?

This should be 10k pace!

Wow I really am slow.

Nevertheless, I ran on. I needed to maintain a good marathon pace for Ironman, so if today I couldn’t manage a 10k pace, I would make it practice for that.

2km marker.

Just need to do that four more times… I can do that.

I kept running, people kept slowly passing me, but my pace felt nice, my heart rate was good, this was sustainable.


Just need to do that three, no, three and a bit times… (OK, I admit that little piece of math stumped me as I ran on).

Around this time I started to get a stitch. This was interesting as I haven’t really had that problem since I learned to run seven years ago. It wasn’t too bad though, I could still run, but it wasn’t going away.

4km took us into the shade of some trees, I briefly wished I has gone with long sleeves, but after about a kilometre (which felt like forever), we emerged back out into the sun (such as it was) again.

Then the stitch really kicked in. I tried all of the usual stretches, massaging, poking and swearing, none of them seemed to work. I wondered how much faster I would be able to go if I could breathe properly. That 3km was pretty miserable actually.

Luckily by 8km it was beginning to fade, there was light at the end of the tunnel.

Just 2km to go… I KNOW I can do that!

I began to zero in on a single runner ahead of me and slowly (oh so slowly) catching and passing them. The slower pace at the start beginning to pay off. As I came close to the finish I kicked up my speed a notch.

I passed two more people.

I came to the final turn, about 25m to go. Someone yelled that I would be under 65 minutes.

“He must be talking to someone else, I’m not that fast”

The next thought tumbled in:

“It doesn’t matter who he’s talking to, we started together, I’m under 65?”

There was one more person between me and the line.

I sprinted.

Lavington 11008391_896182833767139_1802280652696161408_n

I   Ran   So   Fast!

I could hear my friends shouting my name. If I had had even three more paces I would have passed her, but it wasn’t to be.

My final time was 1:03:37 a full six minutes faster than my last 10km race. I obviously wasn’t going as slowly as I had initially feared, perhaps it was an illusion caused by the proportionally faster field. A pretty good start to the year.


Looking Forward

Thanks SeeKayTri for this picture!

Thanks SeeKayTri for this picture!

Now that 2015 is underway, it seems like a good time to look back at 2014 and make some plans for the coming year. (I have deliberately waited a few weeks so as not to get swept up in the New Year’s Resolution wave of excitement).

2014 was a very up and down year for me; the highlights were very high, but the ‘lowlights’ very low.

Let’s start with the bad and get it out of the way. If you have been reading the blog, you already know…

I developed a stress fracture in my ankle.

Yes, I haven’t shut up about it for months!

I was off training for weeks, and it pervaded everything I did (training and otherwise) for months – the entire summer. I was really miserable, as many of my friends will likely attest!

But every cloud has a silver lining…

In a strange way, the injury motivated me to achieve even more than before. Perhaps because I always had an excuse for any failure (which it turned out I didn’t need, but offered a psychological safety net).

I got to focus on swimming, and made some exciting advances.

I reintroduced myself to cycling, met some great people, and started to learn to love it again.

I learned many lessons about perseverance and some about patience.

I watched  more television (and learned a lot of really useless facts and a few useful ones too).

Which leads me to the highlights:

I completed 19 events including:

9 runs of varying distances

3 open water swims

4 sprint distance triathlons

My first ever 100km cycle ride

7PB’s (plus a bunch of firsts)

I found new friends, and new focus

I signed up for Ironman Canada!

Pretty good for such a *bad* year…

So now to look forward.

I don’t like New Year’s resolutions. They rarely get kept, and sometimes even turn into demotivators as I realise my failure, so I have simply chosen 3 areas that I would like to work on throughout the year.

To train harder, but with more focus and consistency.

Well training harder probably goes without saying, especially with the Ironman goal hanging around, but now that my capacity is growing, harder comes more naturally. More important I feel is to improve the consistency with which I train and to train smarter, to maximize improvement whilst minimizing injury.

To make better nutritional choices.

This was also a goal in 2014. I did better last year but I think there’s still room for improvement – there probably always will be.

To enjoy the journey – not just the destination.

This is the most important of the three goals. I have a tendency to be rather ‘end-point oriented’ causing me to miss much of the beauty along the way (it can also be crushing if for some reason one cannot reach said end point). Ironman training is going to be long and hard. Merely enduring this (and putting all my eggs in one basket for one 17 hour day in July) would be such a waste, not to mention, incredibly boring.

Well, you probably guessed that my major race goal this year, is indeed those 17 hours (hopefully less) in July, other highlights will hopefully incude:

My first Olympic distance triathlon at UBC in March

A half-iron distance triathlon, location TBD

Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan (160km)

Across the Lake swim

A swim from Alcatraz

A sprinkling of sprint triathlons and maybe some runs, if it feels good.

A whole plethora of new experiences – because you should never turn down a chance to try something new! (Unless it’s drugs – don’t try those kids!)