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3 seconds is still 3 seconds, right?

Ah January, you have returned, and along with you comes the start of the new year of racing.

In my neck of the woods, we always start the year with the Island Race Series, a series of races every second weekend from January – April with distances varying from 5K to half marathon.  The series starts each year with the Pioneer 8K, a fun, friendly, race just outside of Victoria.  It’s a great start to the year!

After a disappointing race in 2012, I was ready to take on the course and set a new PB (Personal Best).

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This was my 5th consecutive year running this race, so I’m pretty familiar with the course, which I think was definitely a benefit to my race plan.  In the days leading up to the race, I would visualize the course and how I was going to tackle each kilometer.

Start line, down hill, hold back, don’t go too fast, left turn, slight downhill, keep holding back, right turn, flat, stay consistent, right turn, smallish hill, don’t slow down, around the roundabout, right turn, keep pushing to the crest of the hill and ride the downhill to the halfway point.  Then a slight up hill, keep it up, your legs will be tired by now, don’t let them win, past the start line, left turn, this is where it gets hard, keep going, right turn, hairpin turn, left turn, straight with a slight downhill, keep pushing, right turn, finish line in sight, it’s up hill, keep pushing, don’t let the hill win, right turn, uphill finish!

The plan was in my head, I knew where I had struggled in the past, so I knew what I had to push through.

2 years ago I set my 8K PB, finishing this same race in 40:14. I knew a new PB could be possible, but I also knew that I had missed a few runs leading up to the race, and I hadn’t done everything I could have to prepare.  Then there was the fact that last year’s time was over 3 minutes slower than 2011. On top of that, I hadn’t run a time ‘short’ distance race in 8 months! I went in to the race having no idea where I stood, or what to expect from myself, all I knew was that I was going to give it my all!

I set a goal for this year, I actually set 3.  The ‘BIG’ one was to break the 40 minute mark, second was to set a new PB and third was just to be faster than last year.

I am really pleased with how I ran the race.  I stuck to my plan, and for the first time in the 5 years I’ve run this race, I did not stop to walk once. Not on the hill, not through the water station, not when my legs were tired.  I did not stop to walk at all!   I knew that I was going to blow my #3 goal out of the water before I even got to the half way point, but I would have to wait until I crossed the finish line to see if I beat my #1 & #2 goals.

It turns out that breaking the 40 minute mark wasn’t in the cards, but I did set a new PB.  I started my Garmin as I crossed the start line, and stopped it moments after I finished. It showed a time of 40:03.  The ‘official’ race time is ‘gun time’, which is the time elapsed from the gun, to when I crossed the finish line. That means since it took about 8 seconds to cross the start line, my official result was  40:11.  Not bad, I guess, 3 seconds faster than my previous PB, but PAINFULLY close to my #1 goal of getting under 40 minutes.

I’m pretty hard on myself when it comes to race times, so I have to admit that I have spent some time contemplating where I could have pushed harder to make up the time I would have needed to get under. But the thing is, when I look at the bigger picture, I am happy with how I ran, I am happy with how I raced.  I made a plan,  I stuck to that plan and I performed well.

#LetsGetPhysical - Pioneer 8kmAnd speaking of people who performed well, I want to give a shout out to my friend Nikki! This race was her very first timed race, and she rocked it.  Seriously, you guys should go on over to her BLOG and read all about it!  And I have to tell you, I am in LOVE with this collage she made to celebrate!  Look at all the support she had on race day!   And rumour has it that she’s got the racing bug now and is considering a HALF MARATHON! Go Nikki!

All in all, I think this was a great start to the 2013 year of racing. I had a blast hanging out with my #yyjrun  crew, and I am so proud of everyone for getting out there and kicking some 8K butt!

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