Sunday, February 20, 2011

Waterloo Refridge-Eighter 8K Road Race - Feb 20, 2011 Race Report

You can't ask for better race conditions in the middle of February.   The previous day, the winds were whipping around at 60 km/h, and tonight, we're expecting heavy snow, so today's race was sandwiched between two nasty winter weather days.

The race taking place at RIM Park in Waterloo was welcomed with sunny skies, dry roads and calm winds.   It was however cold early in the morning.   It was -12 when I left my house in New Hamburg, but it was expected to be -7 by race time.

I arrived at RIM park just before 9am to get my race kit, and get warmed up a bit before the race.  This still left me with a lot of time to kill.   It certainly doesn't take nearly as long to get ready for a running race compared to a triathlon.  After chatting with some friends and other runners for a bit, I made my way to the starting line for the casual 10am start.

This race was both an 8K and an 8M race.   I was entered in the 8K race, as I was doing it with two other people from work as part of a corporate relay.   I couldn't convince them to do the longer race, so the 8K it was.    I'm training for the Boston marathon in a couple of months, and this race was between a 32K run last weekend and a 36K next weekend.   This race was obviously short compared to the training I've been doing, but the pace was going to be significantly faster, making this a good training day none the less.

After the national anthem was sung, the race kicked off right at 10am.   The first couple of K were slightly downhill, but into a light headwind.  They were the two fastest K's of the race going 3:39 and 3:40.   My garmin race data can be seen below:

Garmin race info.

Right at the 2K mark, there is a nice little hill to slow the pace down.   Up to this point, I was running with a few other runners.    Going up the hill though, I made a break from them and found myself running all alone.   There was another runner about 75m up the road, but I wasn't gaining a lot of ground.   Around the 3K mark, there was another gradual uphill section.   Nothing too steep, but enough to make you work.

At the 4K mark, we turned right onto Bridge street and started heading back towards RIM park.   The next three K, were very consistent.   It was mostly flat, which made for consistent pacing.   In fact, kilometers 4, 5 and 6 were 3:45, 3:46 and 3:46.   Pretty even pacing for sure.   At the start of the 7th K, we had to start making the climb back towards RIM park.   Again, it was not a steep climb by any means, but long and gradual, and after pushing the pace for 6K, it was a tough K.   It turned out to be my slowest one of the race in 3:57, but once I got to the top of the hill and the 7K marker, I started feeling ok again, and picked the pace up a bit more.   I still found myself all alone out there since the 2K mark.   The same runner that was ahead of me back then, was still ahead, but only by about 50m now.   I was pushing hard, but knew it was unlikely I could catch him.   I finished my last K in 3:45 again and finished the race in 30:14, 5th place overall and 1st place in my M35-39 age group.   This beat my time from last year by 17 seconds, which was good to see.   I keep getting older, but my times are continuing to get faster.   I'd say conditions were similar, this year to last, so not much to compare to other than fitness.

Other than a few hills to slow the pace down, I was happy to have pretty consistent pacing throughout as can be seen by my splits below:

After finishing the race, I caught my breath, received and gave a few congratulations, and then started to back track through the remaining runners to pick up a female runner in our corporate race team.  The other runner on our team had a great race and finished in 33:38, 14th overall.   I likely ran about 1.5K back into the race before I ran into her.   I turned around and ran with her to the end.   She doesn't run too much, so her effort was very good overall, and I think she was pleased with her results as well.  We ended up getting first place in the corporate division as a result of all of our solid efforts.

After finishing (for the second time), I headed back inside for some post race food and I actually was lucky enough to get a quick massage without having to wait for very long.

The Refridge-Eighter race is the first in a series of races in the Waterloo area each year.

Waterloo Running Series

It's a fun and challenging race (either 8K or 8M) that is a good test for your winter fitness.   I've been working hard this winter in preparation for the Boston marathon in April and my first Ironman in July (Austria), so this race gives me some comfort, that I am well on my way to meeting my upcoming race goals.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011