Keeping busy

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for me, with lots of travel and a couple of races. If you’ve been looking for my latest posts, I’m sorry for keeping you waiting. Who knew a break from training would end up being so busy.

I will be reviewing two races I finished over the last two weekends: the Head for the Hills 10k trail race in Niagara Falls and the DSBN Road Race 5k in St. Catharines. I accomplished a couple of firsts in both races. Hills was the first trail race I’ve ever ran and DSBN was the first race I’ve placed first in. Exciting stuff.

I hopefully have the reviews up by the end of the week. Talk to you later.

Boston

The scene at the finish line after two explosions at the Boston Marathon. Photo from the Boston Globe.

The scene at the finish line after two explosions at the Boston Marathon. Photo from the Boston Globe.

My thoughts and heart go out tonight to the everyone involved in the Boston Marathon tragedy: the victims, their families and friends, the runners, spectators, organizers. emergency responders, everyone involved.

I’m happy to hear everyone from the Niagara region who was running in Boston today is ok. My home club, the St. Catharines Road Runners and Walkers, reports its members running the marathon made it to the finish line safely. Dan Dakin of the St. Catharines Standard has a good story about the experiences of local runners in Boston as well as the perspectives of those cheering them on at home. Here is another story by Dan about a Niagara Falls man who helped the first responders.

Also happy to report all the Team Running Free runners in Boston are also accounted for. Here is another story about Toronto area runners in the race.

Before I was a runner, I was always in awe of those who had done Boston. Whenever I speak with anyone about running, it’s not long before Boston is brought up. For us runners, Boston remains as the juiciest carrot we are all chasing.

Picked up a few messages today. Thanks, everyone, for your concern. I did not run in the Boston Marathon today. Registration was sold out by the time I qualified last fall and I was looking forward to running in 2014.

I did have opportunity to watch the women finish on TV and the top men were on their way to the finish line when I left the house around noon. It was just after 3 p.m. when I got back to my car, turned on the radio and heard Tim and Sid talking about explosions on the Fan590. It was definitely jarring.

While the events were tragic, I am in awe of runners helping each other during the most dire of situations. We’ve all seen  runners helping other runners during races or in training during races when their bodies give out. Today was a great example of how we are truly all in this together.

Click this link and this link for some other inspiring stories.

You’ve come a long way, Bobby

I ran the Jordan 5k for the first time two years ago, finishing in 19 minutes and 53 seconds. When I ran the same race for the third time last weekend, I was three minutes faster than I was in that very first race.

I set a new 5k personal best when I finished one of my favourite races Saturday morning (April 6) in 16 minutes and 51 seconds. It was more than one minute faster than the PB I set last November and almost a minute-and-a-half faster than I ran Jordan last year.

I’ve definitely come along way. I didn’t even barf at the end of this year’s race.

I love the Jordan 5k, which is part of the Subaru Niagara Running Series. It’s flat, fast and familiar. It’s an out-and-back course that takes you along some quiet country roads in Lincoln, Ont., which is just outside of St. Catharines. There’s one water station near the halfway point, traffic is well controlled and the volunteers are great. The weather always seems to be perfect: it was a little cold in the morning this year, but the sun was out and things warmed up a bit by the time I toed the line.

There was free food for runners at the finish line, including hot dogs, fries and chili (yes, even vegetarian), as well as bananas, apples and granola bars. There were medals for the top three male and female runners overall and in five-year age groups starting from 14 and under. There were also awards for the top male and female masters runners as well as a special medal for anyone who finished in under 20 minutes.

The Jordan 5k also features a 1k fun run for youngsters and technical T-Shirts for those who register early. Since I signed up late, I did not get a shirt this year. But I did get the Sub-20 Club medal and an age group medal for winning the 35-39 mens division. I was 10th overall.

I wasn’t even going to do Jordan this year. Instead, I’ve been focusing on a couple of races later this month. I’d been training really hard and didn’t feel ready, but, a friend talked me into it. Really, I couldn’t help myself.

Having done this race a few times now, I felt like I knew what to expect and set out to do it as fast and hard as I could. There were some fast runners at the front of the pack and they started fast. My plan was to average 3:10 per kilometer for as long as I could and then push to the finish with whatever I had left. My goal is to run a sub-16 minute 5k and I’ve been doing well at holding the pace during the first three kilometers. It’s the last two where I feel like I’m going to die.

I typically feel myself start to fade between the kilometers three and four. During the Jordan run, there’s a little grave yard and a big tree close to the end of kilometer four on 19th street where I usually start feeling like I’m dying. This year was no different and I definitely lost some time at that point. Looking back at my Garmin, I was starting to fall off the pace a little earlier than expected: I should have finished 3k in about 9:30 but I was about 15 seconds off. But I did have a really fast start. The timer on the pace vehicle had me clocked at about three minutes for the first kilometer.

I felt like I picked it up during the final kilometer and was making a real push over the last 400 metres. But, I think I was just working harder and not really going anywhere. I was even passed in the final stretch. I remember thinking at the time that it was OK. I was satisfied with my new PR and my age-group win. Later on, I kind of felt like I was actually just settling, if that makes sense. Even though I felt like I didn’t have much left in the tank I regretted not trying to chase him down. I need to remember to save a little for the finish. You live and learn.

Congratulations to Lionel Sanders from Hamilton for winning the race in 14:55 and top female Amelie Kretz with a 16:58. Also, congrats to Jason West, who finished in 19:20 in his first 5k race in 12 years. 

All in all, this was a great way to start the spring racing season and I’m excited for the next two races I have coming up before the end of the month: the Head for the Hills 10k trail race and the DSBN Run 5k. I’m really looking forward to my rest week next week with two new PBs in my sights.

Oh, loved appearing in the Get Out There Magazine video race report for the Jordan 5k. About 30 seconds in you can see the back of my head at the start for the 5k race. I’m the guy in the red Team Running Free shirt.