Three Martini Lunch
This is a bit long, but here it is:
Pre-race: I play tourist on Saturday morning; head to the expo about noon to pick up my packet. The expo was nice, but I didn’t linger because I wanted to spend as much of the afternoon as I could off my feet.
Gun time was 7am, so on race morning, I woke up at 5am, ate a bagel and drank a bottle of Gatorade. I left my hotel about 45 minutes before gun time and walked the four blocks or so to the start. I found a portapotty that didn’t have a long line. I did a bit of a warmup, which was very easy running for about five minutes mostly to remind all of the various and sundry parts what to do. After my brief warmup, I decided to hit the portapotties again just in case, and then made my way to the start corrals. I ate a Gu and then ditched my water bottle and throwaway shirt right before the wheelchair start. The start line was well organized, with plenty of space to spread out. I was in the third corral, for those of us with expected finishing times between 3:30 and 4:00. I was planning on marking the 3:35 pace group for a while until I had a grasp on how I was feeling a couple of miles into the race, so I lined up a bit behind them.
The weather this morning is perfect for racing. It was overcast and temps at gun time were about 47F with a light wind. I had been a bit concerned about wind because Saturday the wind was brutal and whipping, but it had died down and was only an issue (and a slight one at that) around the 10 mile mark. There had also been a forecast of scattered showers, but they didn’t materialize (and between about 11am and noon, the clouds blew off and it turned into an absolutely glorious day).
Miles 1-4: 8:11; 8:00; 8:03; 7:59
The gun goes off, and we have a short run on a wide boulevard up a gentle hill and then a sweeping U turn going over a bridge and down onto a scenic drive along the canal that cuts through Ottawa. The first 4 miles or so we run along the canal. The curves are gentle and the road is pancake flat. I’m marking the 3:35 pacer as I try to settle into a rhythm, and I notice that after the first mile in the start traffic, he is running roughly 3:30 pace for the first couple of miles. I note this, and shrug it off. I’m trying to run my own race. In the past, I’ve not the most consistent pacer, so I figure that if I can keep most of my miles between 8:00 and 8:10, then I’ll be happy. So far, this pace feels comfortable.
Miles 5-9: 8:08; 8:04; 8:04; 7:57; 8:00
We turn off the parkway onto a main commercial street in a neighborhood. There is a ton of crowd support, which is nice. My pacing is feeling right, and nothing aches or hurts at this point, which is good. We wind through this part of town, and then around the 8 mile mark get to what I feel is the most boring part of the course, skirting the edge of a cluster of government buildings and the acres of parking lots that surround them. Think suburban office park. We are close to the Ottawa River here, and this is where we have the first stretch where the wind is blowing.
Miles 10-13: 8:01; 8:00; 8:02; 8:08
This is the hard part. Hard because it is dead quiet and boring (but scenic along the river), and it is too early in the race for negative thoughts to start, even though the monotony triggers some because there is nothing else going on. After we get past the government complex, we are on the parkway that runs along the Ottawa River. The wind is coming in off the river, blowing in sideways, so it is more annoying than anything. I’m actually feeling a bit cold because of it, too. Not something I would have thought ten miles into a late May race. This part is an out and back and as we come back, we have a very good view of downtown Ottawa. At about Mile 12 we have a slight uphill as we make a sweeping turn onto a bridge over the river. There is a big crowd cheering right before we get to the bridge, which is nice because it gets very quiet for a couple of miles. After a bit of an uphill, I hit the half at 1:46:14.
Miles 14-17: 8:08; 7:58; 7:54; 8:04
After I go through the half, I have a momentary panic that I have been running too fast because the Gu I ate just before Mile 11 hasn’t been sitting very well and I’m feeling a bit queasy. But just ahead is a water stop, and a cup of water dissolves whatever sugar lump was bugging me and my stomach calms down. I’m in the middle miles, just trying to stay focused. There is sporadic crowd support here, mostly people out on the sidewalks in front of their houses. I catch myself running a shade too fast and try to dial it back. At the water stop in front of a high school, I smile at the kids clearing discarded water cups with hockey sticks. I think to myself, "Well, you are running in Canada." We have a bit of a climb to go back over the river, and this is where I start feeling tired. Nothing debilitating, but with the climb I start to notice fatigue in my legs.
Miles 18-22: 7:57; 8:09; 7:59; 8:11; 8:01
After we run back across the bridge we have a big loop through a residential section of the city. The first bit is past stately houses with lots of trees and wrought iron fences; then after running through a narrow street up a hill, we come to a road cut into the side of a hill overlooking the river. It was quite pretty, and the view helps me to forget that I’m starting to hurt. As we run through a park at about the 20 mile mark, I’m noticing how few people are trying to run the tangents; the curves are gentle for the most part so I’m not finding it all that difficult to do so. I do a systems check at about 20 miles to see how I feel. I’m tired, but not close to red-lining, so I figure that I’ll stick to my plan of shooting for even splits rather than try to press and risking a blowup. I’m also noticing that it is taking more and more effort just to hold my pace.
Miles 23-26.2: 8:06; 8:05; 7:57; 7:50; 3:00 (7:38 pace)
This stretch finished the loop out of the neighborhood and back onto the scenic drive we started on. At this point, I’m trying to hold on. Once we get into downtown, the crowd support is very strong. The half marathoners join at about the 24 mile mark, so there are tons of people cheering. I need it because I feel I’m running on fumes. The half-ers are about running our pace, so there are no problems with the merge. With a mile left, we make a sweeping U to run back up the other side of the canal to the finish. I dig for all I have to try to kick to a strong finish, but don’t have very much left. I cross the mat at 3:31:56.
Final tally is:
PR by 14:30 or so.
Looking back at things now, I feel ran a very disciplined-pace effort. Given that I could only drop my pace by about ten seconds for the last mile (and it was a painful final mile), I think I ran up to the edge of my fitness. A flat course (Garmin says about 550 feet of total elevation gain) and perfect racing weather also helped. All in all, I’m very happy with how things turned out. I thought the race was very well organized and run, and there was a ton of crowd support through most of the race. There were a few quiet spots, but a lot of that was due to where those spots were on the course.
Fueling, if you care: I ate a Gu right before the gun, and four during the race, i.e. about once about every 45 minutes. The water stops (every 3-3.5km) had Gatorade and water at each stop, I usually alternated water and Gatorade, making sure to take a water at the stop closest to when I had a Gu.
Flinders - congratulations on the race !! That consistency is really impressive ! I haven't done the math, but did you have a slight favorable split for the last 13? What plan did you use for your training ? also what mile did you eventually catch up to the 3:35 pacer who had the quicker than expected start?
PB's 10K 47:15 (9/13) HM 1:45 (9/13) M 3:57 (10/13)
Running Blog http://davesdigitaldestinations.blogspot.com/
Congratulations, Flinders! Awesome performance. Must be those three martini lunches, I tell you....
Bask on your performance! You earned it!
Damaris, Marathon Maniac, Ultra Runner, INKnBURN Ambassador
"The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire."
It's always fucking hot in Miami!
Thanks, DTF! I passed the 3:35 pacer at about the 5km mark (running a race in metric was a new experience, too!), but they were right behind me for about six more miles. At the water stop in the office park at about mile 8 I heard people yelling "Go, 3:35!!" right after I passed by, and at the out and back around mile 10 they were about 400 yards behind me.
I just did the math, my second half was 1:45:42, so I ran a 32 second negative split.
I used the glorious "WTF" plan. I had a crazy schedule this spring, so I tried to get in what running I could. I ended up running more aggregate mileage for the 18 weeks leading up to the race (about 600 miles if I were to ballpark it) than I had in my prior two fulls, but fewer long runs. My training ended up being very Higdon-esque with no speed, a MLR and heavy weekend loading.
Thanks, Docket!! Actually, the TMLs are why I started running.... It still hasn't sunk in yet.
Wow, Flinders, you paced like a machine! Congrats on an awesome race!
PRs: 21:35 (5K); 1:46:46 (HM); 4:30:46 (FM)
BQ in 2016
Nic erace Flinders. I don't think you could of executed it better if you tried.
PR's - 5K - 20:15 (2013) | 10K - 45:14 (2011) | 13.1 - 1:34:40 (2013) | 26.2 - 3:40:40 (2014)
Chambersburg Half Marathon - 3/12/16
Gettysburg Marathon - 04/24/16
Great race Flinders! You got some excellent weather as well, Ottawa can be stinking hot some years at the end of May.
PRs: 47:54 (10K); 1:46:36 (HM); 3:50:52 (FM)
Recovering from injured knee (PCL/Lateral Meniscus)
Holy crap! That's amazing! Congratulations!
3/17 Shamrock Marathon
4/20 North Coast 24 Hour
7/27 Burning RIver 100M
8/24 Baker 50M
10/5 Oil Creek (distance to be determined)
Brands I Heart:
Altra Zero Drop
Thats a win to be remembered!!! Nice pacing and execution.
PR's : HM 1:51:15 - 5K 21:27
Excellent race report Flinders! Smokin' finish time too! Congrats on a well executed race. What's the next goal?
PRs: 1:39:24 (HM) 3:47:02 (FM)
zoe: I lucked out with the weather; late May is a crapshoot a lot of places. I chose a race in Canada because I thought the odds of getting decent weather in late May would be a bit higher than many places in the US. Plus I'd never been to Ottawa, so I got to see somewhere new.
mdawg: Next up is Victoria, in mid-October. All-in goal is probably going to be 3:15. It frightened me just now to type that. We'll see how I bounce back and if I can stick to a training plan this time around.
Woah, congrats on the speedy race there Flinders! I missed this while on vacation. What a great race and very even splits!