Sunday, March 18

F’n eh!

“Something inside of me just said “Hey, wait a minute, I want to beat him,” and I just took off. You have to wonder at times what you're doing out there. Over the years, I've given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement”.

Rumon and I drove up to Lantzville on a wet Saturday afternoon to stay with Ceri and Stefan, enjoying a superb pre-race meal of spaghetti and meatballs. In fact, I enjoyed it so much, that Ally and I made it for diner this evening.

Race morning I found myself toeing the line, feeling confident in my fitness but questioning my limits. I’d raced on this course twice, and last year wasn’t pretty. I’d decided to play it conservatively and aim for 3:36/8 k (1:16:00-1:16:30). That said, I was eager to race with a small amount of reckless abandonment and that stimulus held more weight.

When the gun sounded, I slipped in behind Hicham’s right shoulder; I knew he was faster but I was up for the challenge and was also prepared to pull the plug if things started to get out of hand. I could hear Cliff sitting just behind me & I smiled; like a water drop in a sugar bowl, a pack had formed and the games began. After 3k Cliff eased off and I stayed with Hicham, aware that we were splitting faster then what I had intended but amazed at how easy it felt… had we been at Elk Lake I could’ve mistaken our effort for a Sunday long run. It was just before 5k that we passed the first aid-station; I went to grab some water and must have inadvertently stepped of the conveyor belt b/c when I looked up bloody Hicham had but 10m on me. I think this was partially my subconscious deciding running 3:30 min/k was outside of what it was prepared to do, either way; the pace that he pulled away from me was astounding.

From 5k through to the turnaround I tried to run relaxed and not take notice of the splits. The turnaround through 16k is predominantly downhill, but remembering last years scribbled legs, I relaxed on the hills and decided to save my effort for the last quarter. At this point Hicham had put 150m on me but the gap wasn’t growing. I focused on keeping him in sight and realized that we were slowly gaining on some runners that had started out faster then us. Reeling these people in kept me focused through the remainder of the race, that and realizing that unless I exploded a PB was in the bag, the only question left, “how big?”

The results are a tad misleading as you’d think we’d run in a tight knit group, rather following Hicham’s lead, we were able to reap our reward. Crossing the finish line I had a huge grin on my face and found myself punching the air, there is something special about deciding on a goal and then setting about achieving it. Thanks to everyone who was out cheering and I apologize for not say hello back (for those who know me this will sound like a broken record, but I wasn’t wearing my glasses & I had no idea who you were). A BIG thanks goes to Ceri and Stefan for a great pre-race meal and to Rumon for his encouragement.

3:30 (17:33)
3:43 – a short sharp hill that if you’re not ready for will leave your HR redlining
3:40, 3:55 & 3:43 – 7 through 9k suck, it’s one long hill that grows exponentially; rather then dig a hole making my splits I ran by effort
3:38 (36:13, 18:40)
3:27, 3:22 & 3:29 (53:49, 17:36) – remember that hill, 7 through 9k, much better on the way back
3:36 (1:11:48, 17:59)
3:41 – 1:15:29!

Training: Comox Half Marathon, 1:15:29, a 2:02 PB, 8th overall and 5th in my age group


Lawrence said...

Congratulations on shattering your PB! Great race report. I wish I was over there. I hope you had the chili..........

You're setting yourself up nicely up for London.....

Michael said...

Thanks & yes... 3 bowls full, it was fantastic!

Jarhead said...

Congrats - great run!

Anonymous said...

WAY TO GO!!! Good job Mike! That's fantastic! Wish I could have seen you punching the air...


Mark said...

race goes to show your overall conditioning is good as shooting for a 1:16 and running 1:15:30 is awesome

Congrats! on your new PB

Thomas said...

Congratulations! Running better than planned is a great feeling (I know from last week). Well done on the new PR, your marathon form is taking shape.

Eric said...

oooo...this is good! nice race, and a huge pr as well.

i'll give you a pass now on the decision to skip maui. cheers!

Michael said...

Thanks everyone, it was nice having that "break through" race.

Mike said...

Sorry I'm late to the party Michael, but congrats nonetheless. I'm quite impressed at how easy you said you felt, especially early on. The feeling of slightly holding back even when you're flying means you are certainly on a good day.

Guy who shouted "Go!" said...

Well done Mike! You looked amazing!

Anonymous said...