The course is challenging. It's very hilly in the second half of the race. Living within a few kilometers of the start line, I have home course advantage here. I run on these streets several times a week, so there was a nice familiarity to the race. This course started with a gradual downhill for 700m followed immediately by a steep "drop-off-the-earth" road section of about 50m. I blasted that kilometer clocking 3:49. I was still in a large pack, but I noticed the top women were with me. Kilometers 2 and 3 were on a long, flat stretch of road. It was a challenge to be patient here, and not push too hard - the 2nd and 3rd place women were close, and normally I would like to get some distance on them, but I knew that the course was really hilly in the last half, so I maintained a comfortably-hard pace.
At 4k, the hills started. Gradual climbs from 4-5k, then some steep climbs and seemingly constant climbing. I was running with Harriers Pedro and Jason, and working hard to hold a pace close to my goal. Between 5-6k, I was wondering if I would break the record. It felt like I had slowed down so much. But since this race was organized by my running group, most of the marshalls (especially those in the last 3k) were my running friends. I felt so supported and so lucky to have all the cheering as I passed (thank you so much Sharon, Warren, Doug, Nelson, Megan, Anita, Paula, Colin, Darcy, Jen, Joyce....and Greg!). I pulled ahead of Jason and Pedro in the last 2k. I really pushed, and was giving it all I had.
The last kilometer was tough. There was a steep downhill section, a steep uphill climb, followed by a 700m gradual hill to the finish line. My legs were done, and I was pushing so hard to get to the end. I approached the finish area, and I could see friends and family were there to see me finish the race. As soon as I got close enough that I could read the clock, it was clear to me that I would be breaking the record. I crossed the line feeling like I was going as fast as I possibly could go. I was so happy that I had broken the record - my Dad ran over and was the first one to give me a hug at the finish - followed by my Mom and my girls, then more of my running club buddies. I finished in 33:28. I was 10th overall, first female and I was the new course record holder. It was a wonderful feeling - getting over that line.
|Almost there! About to cross the line and claim the women's course record. It hurts so much - but I'm really happy-I swear :) Photo credit - George Aitkin|
|At the awards ceremony with my first place female overall prize. Photo credit - Anita Cressman|
Thanks to Race Directors Steve and Kelly Mota, and all the Harrier's volunteers. The race was well organized, and I really appreciate the opportunity to race on my home course. Thanks to my personal sponsors - CLIF bar for their delicious CLIF bars, CLIF shots, CLIF shot bloks, CLIF builders bars, and CLIF Organic trail mix bars that I use in my training and on race day. Thank you Coronation Chiropractic and Massage, and Sharon Rutledge Naturopath. Thanks to my coach Derrick Spafford for helping me to prepare for the race. Huge thanks to Greg for his unending support of my running, and for cheering and popping out all over the course. This was a very exciting start to my 2016 (snowshoe-less) racing season!
Results from the race can be found here.