I Here By Declare 2016 Open!
The plan was to open my season in Ottawa, on the lovely, oversized, 400m track. But what to run? We decided that this opener would be more of a workout so we loaded it up and the goal was to run 3 races; first the 1000m followed very shortly by the 600m and finally the 3000m.
The plan was not to get injured and be battling an ITB issue. Tactics changed from talking about pace and to lets just see how far you get before it hurts. And not hurts so much you can’t run, but any pain.
There was no point in sacrificing a whole season for one race day.
As I warmed up on Saturday morning my knee felt better than it had all week. I felt like the inflammation was down, I felt strong on my feet, my stride felt great. No issue with strides in my spikes. So, ok, lets race.
I spoke with the coaches about the race plan. Just treat it like a workout, feel strong, push the pace, nothing crazy. And if you can run the 1000m thinking about having to run the 600m 20 minutes later.
The gun went off in the 1000m and a few gals took off in front of me. I didn’t feel like chasing so I sat in and waited to see if they would come back to me. Through 400 I felt great and had two in front of me. It was a 400m track but the turns still seemed tight. At 800m I felt really strong and decided to contest the lead. My teammate G was in the lead so I sat in on her shoulder. With about 20m I felt her slow down a little so I pushed the pace, she reacted, and we crossed the finish line 3 one-hundredths apart; she just edged me out at the end.
I finished the 1k in 2:42 and felt strong. My knee felt great so I decided to run the 600m. To be honest I kept thinking about the 600m while I was racing the 1000m. Not necessarily the best racing tactic.
As we lined up for the 600m I felt way more fatigued than I did right after the 1000m. I had tried to do a few quick strides in between but I still felt a bit sluggish. Ross said, ‘I don’t care about the time, just finish strong.’ So off we went.
I am not known for a strong start in the 600m, and I sure didn’t have one. Through the first 200m I was really out the back, I kept my coaches words in the back of my head that time didn’t matter and pushed on through. It’s not an easy thing to do when you’re racing. To be honest, I had moments of self-doubt, and I was embarrassed at the thought of running a slow time. In retrospect, absolute silliness. One time does not make your season or define who you are.
Around 300m my legs felt like they ‘woke up’ a bit. It’s hard to describe but all of a sudden they felt alive again. I started to make a move, following on the shoulder of the woman ahead of me. As we went through 400m, where I was about 60mid, my old, fierce racing self came out. I wanted to win the race and I was going to do all I could to make that happen.
With my legs feeling alive and great I pushed on through. With about 50m to go I could really feel the lactic building but I was so determined to push on through it and ignore it as much as possible. Unfortunately I do not have any pictures of the 600m finish, but I bet I had amazing pain face! I did somehow manage to win the 600m.
I had thought the 3000m was at 2:35pm, which would have given me about 2.5 hours between. Well two things happened; first, the meet was running ahead of schedule and secondly, I did not look at the schedule closely. The men were scheduled to run the 3000m at 2:35, the women at 1:30! (Forehead slap).
Maybe it was better that the break was shorter. I cooled down from the 1000m and 600m, got a little rub down, had a small snack, and then got ready to do it all over again.
I planned on running the 3000m at a workout, tempo pace (wow, do you sort of sound like a jerk when you write that!). I had flats on, the plan was to go 3:20/km, approximately 10 minutes for 3000m.
Well, I felt great and I must have picked it up because I finished in 9:45. I remember starting in about 39 seconds for 200, going through in 79 for 400m, and not much after that for the splits. It was a feel good race and if I wasn’t on pace, I’m sure the coaches would have let me know!
It was my fastest opener ever! I believe the 1k and 600m are both my second fastest times in both events ever. I felt great. My knee didn’t hurt. All and all, I would call that a very successful season opener.
Next up is the mile in at the New York City Armoury on February 6th!