I am always eager to write up my race report when everything goes well, but when things go off the rails it's a bit more like work! But there are more lessons in a humbling result than in an ego-booster, so here we go.
I pre-rode the course on my bike yesterday, and found it was a lot hillier than I had remembered. These aren't long arduous climbs, but rather short little steep ups and downs. I knew it would be a tough day, and getting a personal best would be challenging... but I decided to try anyway.
In fact, I biked just shy of 40km yesterday... not really that long, but not what you typically want to do the day before a race. I don't know if this was a factor in how things went, but not the smartest thing to do any way you cut it!
I started the race feeling pretty good. I was easily holding the 4:30/km I needed, assisted partially by going net downhill. The little rollers on this first section weren't that bad, and I was still fresh.
I got to the 6km mark still on my pace, but my heart rate was creeping up on me... from the 170bpm I try to hold to 175ish. Probably partly due to the headwind, partly due to the hills. I had a choice, either back off and nurse it down or keep going at the target pace... I chose to hold the pace, which was probably pretty stupid, but I really was out to PB and anything less would be a fail!
By the time I got to 10km, things were starting to falter... I got there at 45:00, almost bang-on 4:30/km pace, but now it was really feeling like work.
There is an out-and-back on Lakeridge, somehow it felt uphill both ways. I'm still not sure which way was downhill, but by this point I felt awful and I knew sub-1:35 was not happening. From then on I pretty much mailed it in, dropping way off to something closer to 5:00/km pace... this coincided with getting a tail-wind, which sounds good - but in the hot sun, it proved to be miserable!
At about 19km, there is one last long hill. It's not steep, but it just goes on and on. Miserable stuff!
Finally, mercifully, I came to the short downhill that lead to the finish. One guy who had just passed me was within striking distance, so somehow I managed to find enough for a finishing kick and blew by him. An ounce of satisfaction to go with my pound of disappointment.
Final result - 1:40:30 (21/261, 9/33 M30-39)
I burned too many matches early on trying to hold an overly ambitious 4:30/km pace and bombed out. This course was tough and I didn't give it enough respect, bit me. Lessor factors - the wind and heat in the second half, maybe the lack of taper.
The weird thing is - as my pace dropped from 4:30/km to 5:00+/km, very few people passed me. I even stopped to tie my shoes - not once, but twice. I think this course humbled a lot of people today.
Enjoyed a beer with a couple I met on the RunningMania forums - nice to meet in person and put some faces to the names. Even better when it involves a much needed beer! :)
Next up... Tour de King, cyclocross race (sort-of) next weekend. Probably shouldn't be doing it during marathon training, but it's going to be fun, so........