The Canada Day 15K in Edmonton is one of my favourite races. Last year, I somehow managed to win the race. This year, I was in “in the running” so to speak, until that last ugly hill.
Weather-wise, it was perfect. Tiny bit of headwind in the beginning, which meant tail wind at the end. I had to do two bathroom stops before the race, and as often seems to happen lately, I arrived at the start line with less than a minute to go. Race organizers really need to delay the start of races more often, so that I have a better chance of being there when the gun goes off!
After that first steep downhill, I was expecting the young and fast guys to whip up a hard pace. That didn’t seem to happen. By 2 km, we were a bit over 7 minutes, and lots of runners in a big group.
So after about 4 km, the pace was still averaging well over 3:30 per km. Enough. I figured I might as well try and increase the pace, since I was feeling pretty good. I think I started running at about 3:20 or so. After 5 km, to my big surprise, I noticed I had a 10-15 meter lead. I mean, these young fellows are all strong runners, and should have no problem running with me. Oh well, I knew my lead wasn’t going to last forever, so I enjoyed it while I could. There is a pretty serious hill at around 6 km, and sure, we all joined up again at the top of that hill. That was good for me though, because I am weak on steep hills, and this way, I could just dog it up the hill and be ready to work harder when we got to the top.
Tom and Chris was right on my heels, as I started working harder again. 3:20 – 3:25 pace made for less chatter and more sweat. I love this kind of running, when everyone is just focused and super attentive to what the other guys are doing.
We passed 1o km in 35:45 I think – about 45 seconds slower than last year, and I was feeling quite relaxed still. After the turnaround, Tom and Chris both looked very alert and I started thinking about my strategy. I figured that with 3 km to go, I would need to start picking up the pace even more, if I was ever going to break these chaps. They were running so easy and I admittedly felt quite worried – Tom was going at a fast tempo and I didn’t have much more fuel in my fire.
With 2 km to go, with the wind in our backs, I moved up front and started hammering best I could. This type of situation is where I have always done best – pushing really hard with 6-7 minutes left of a race. Chris was making some sounds of discomfort, and I was going at 100%. Then there were just me and Tom. I pushed and pushed, but this boy would not let the old guy get a good lead before that last hill. Nope. I knew that if I didn’t have a sizable lead before the hill, I would stand no chance. We did actually slow down a bit just before the hill. Since I could not get rid of him, my last and only hope that this would let me recover in time and I could just sprint up that steep hill like a bunny on EPO. Silly thought. That didn’t happen. Tom flew up that hill, while I crawled up like a hermit crab with a severe case of lactate poisoning. I lost 20 seconds to Tom on just that last hill, and I did run as fast as I could, all the way to the finish.
Chris came in 10 seconds after me, and then David Brown in 3rd place.
Big congrats to Tom McGrath, who is having a fantastic year, with killer times on anything from 3 km to the marathon. Atta boy Tom – when are you going let me beat you?! Let me know when you run a race really hungover or being extra late to the start….
[button text=”View Overall Results” link=”http://www.resultscanada.com/results2012/2012_Canada_Day_Road_Race/2012_Canada_Day_Road_Race_15k_Run_Overall.txt”]