And just like that we’re back! Back to road racing for the first time since 2020 (Jan/Feb). This was the first race of the year in Ontario known for its winter conditions, and it did not dissapoint with -15 degrees at race start and long pants all around.
I decided last minute to jump into this RunWaterloo Race since my workouts have been going surprisingly well lately. Also, my longrun partner, Mitch, was racing and I could not bear a long run in these temps alone. I had a great warm-up catching up with friends including Mitch, Krista, Tina, Nick, Rob, Denise, and Melissa. It also was great chatting with runners in the community whom I have not seen in ages.
Pre-race plan was go out with the goal pace of 3:45/km as an average. I figured that was about where my fitness was today. The race was a 1.1k out and back + two 2.9km loops.
The race was off and I was able to run with the lead ladies Krista and Rachel in the 8mile before they turned around at 800m. I was not sure who was racing so I just went out on my own pace and raced from there. I was off in no-man’s land with 3 men in front of me. At our turnaround around 1.1km I spotted a few girls not that far behind me. The entire first loop I could hear the other ladies trucking along behind me, I dared not to look. Near the start of the second loop they caught me, with one male (their coach/partner) pacing the two of them. Obviously, I’m at a huge disadvantage here. Having a personal pacer who is your friend/coach is a big mental boost so I had my work cut out for me. I tried to jump in an pace off him as well but I was conflicted between staying with them to conserve energy and making moves to drop the pack. I threw in at least 5 surges to gap them 3-4 strides and everytime they were able to cover my move. A few more weeks of speed training would have really helped here but, this is all I had. It was a difficult day with the cold making it tough to breathe. I was constantly pulling my belaclava up and down the entire race. With about a mile to go, the three of them pulled away from me and I just did not have it in me to go with them. They had a great day and that was a great battle. Really the first time I’ve had to actually race for a place in a very long time (as I’m usually in no man’s land out in front or out behind in 2nd or 3rd place the entire time).
I finished the race in 30:26 for 8km, 3rd female overall. Congrats to Jessica and Allison for a great race. A great rust buster and return to the roads. I actually was so grateful to lose. It’s so good for the ego to lose sometimes. It also allowed me to continue to let go of the need to be perfect and “need to win.” I lost and the world did not end. I’m just happy to be back racing and not feel the overwhelming anxiety pre-race that had been crushing me so much in the last 5 years. It is also a great way to see where I’m at now and figure out how I should adjust my training going forward.
My next race will be Around the Bay 30km at the end of March. Looking forward to a long, hilly grind. I don’t have any expectations for myself here, I will just run and do my best on the day. I’m really looking forward to returning to trail training when the snow clears. This year I will be working towards 2 more 50km races and a debut at the 50mile distance.
Until next time, Grind on.