Team Kintec hits the Sunshine Coast
Sunday was my third successive April Fool’s Run… and my debut race in Team Kintec colours! The Sunshine Coast half-marathon, where runners race from Gibsons to Sechelt, is always a fun-filled affair, and the 2011 edition was no exception 070-341.
From the moment I got picked up in Lynn Valley by my buddy Mark Bennett at 6:30am, the unique race-day buzz was palpable. Mark, partner Tanya and four-legged cheering squad Rex & Coco were driving over, so we didn’t have to worry about parking at Horseshoe Bay. We just zipped straight on and into the bowels of the ferry, before heading up on board to join a heavy contingent of travelling Vancouver Falcons, the club I also run with.
AFR 2011 was my fourth race of the year and the perfect tune-up tempo for the Sun Run on April 17th. I’d PB’d in the First Half in February (1:20:30), but the Fool’s Run course is much hillier, so I knew the chances of breaking 80 here (my big half-marathon goal) were slim-to-zero; I’d gone hard in 2009 & 2010 and ‘only’ clocked 1:24s. So I planned to go hard, but maybe 90% hard (a kind of ‘racing tempo’) and save a bit for the Sun Run.
The 7:20am Langdale-bound ferry was 10 minutes late arriving, so pre-race prep was a little more frantic than normal (ferry docked at 8:20am and race-start-time was 9). But I managed to squeeze in a mile 070-488 warm-up, pre-race ‘wash’ and still make it to the start-line just outside the Gibsons Community Centre with a few minutes to spare. I chose to don my racing orange Team Kintec stripes — and the Smartwool compression socks, straight out of the wrapper! The latter decision was a bit of a gamble, but I’d worn them from home on race-day and they felt great.
The weather was a little overcast and chilly at the start, but with virtually no wind, racing conditions were good and likely conducive to some fast times. The gun fired and I settled into a groove with VFAC buddy Guy Smith and a running friend from my days out in the Fraser Valley, Rob Durrant. We coasted through 5k in just under 19 mins and the idea of breaking 80 sat in the back of my mind (as it always does when you go haring off early on). Guy then made a surge and I tried to counter, but dropped off his pace. My effort had taken me ahead of Rob though, and we would now run the rest of the race by ourselves.
My 10k split was around 38:25 and by halfway I was a little off Sub-80 pace (40:20), with the tougher second half of the course to come. So my original plan of a fast tempo (and to set a new AFR PB — 1:24:09 to beat) came back into view. The compression socks I’d gambled on were working out well and perhaps giving me a little something extra (as well as obviously being aesthetically pleasing). The hills through miles 8-10 were once again a character-building challenge and, as much as I wanted to drive up them, I felt a little lacking in juice. But, overall, they didn’t seem quite as formidable as in previous years.
The last three miles I felt somewhat reinvigorated and confident I could break 1:24. The sweeping downhill of Mile 11 definitely helped – though I tried to take that section relatively easily, so as not to trash my legs too much. The last mile into the finish felt comfortable, though my pace was dropping a little, as I was passed by two guys and also chicked (by second-place lady Amy Schneeberg). I’m still licking that wound.
Closing in on the line I realized a 1:22-something might be possible, but I had a little too much work to do. However, I was more than happy with my 1:23:10 (25th overall and 4th in my age group) – and still had a little energy left to help Superstar AFR race director Teresa Nightingale present the awards afterwards. Vancouver Falcons were out in force (Kevin O’Connor broke 1:10 to win just ahead of team-mate David Palermo) — almost 20 making the trip — and many PBs were smashed along the way. So a three-part post-race celebration really sealed the deal on another memorable AFR experience.
Now looking forward to the Sun Run — on my birthday… ;o) — and setting my first PB in Team Kintec colours! Kudos and congratulations to TK team-mates who have raced recently — I know both Mike and Janette enjoyed overall podium finishes in their respective races this past weekend — and see you all soon!