I ran the Duncan 8k about 3 weeks ago and had a great race. The field was very small, but I took it upon myself to see what I could do, post-injury. Early speed sessions indicated that I was pretty much back to normal, but only a true race would be able to confirm these thoughts.
I took the lead early, and geared up for the long Lakes Rd. incline. It is about 1k of fairly steep uphill, but I knew once I was a the top, there would be time for recovery. As was the norm, Gary Duncan was also in the race, but I led early, and furthered the lead up the hill. By the top of the hill, I was in the clear.
I didn't want to let go of the pace, so I kept rolling along the farm/paved section at the top. I was feeling good, and I had no intentions of slowing down. This was the first race I ever had the lead on, and damn it felt good. I don't race how small the field was.
As I now entered the trail section of the course, I knew I was now in my element. I blew through the trails and then headed back up York Rd. (5k). I felt fatigued going up this short, but steep pitch, but again, I knew this was the final uphill bit, so I just had to bear down.
I hadn't run the course before, but had driven most of it. As I neared the 6k mark, I took a wrong turn very briefly, but my peripheral vision caught sight of a cone and I was again on the correct path. I now relaxed down Timberline downhill to the grass parkway finale. This was not easy, as the ground was soft here, and there was not much rebound from the ground here. This section seemed like a lengthy one, but soon enough I left the trail and headed to the final stretch.
I flew down the final driveway section and crossed the finish line in 30:15. My first win.
30:15 might sound like an average time to some, but I remind them that this course is hilly and also changes terrain significantly. My Pioneer 8k time earlier in the year was around 40 seconds faster, and I'd say that I ran at least as fast on this course, all things considered.
While there is no prize money for this event, nor were there ribbons, or medals, this race did much for my confidence. I now know I am back.
Since the Duncan 8k, I have been training hard. My speed is definitely as fast as it has ever been, and I am training back to 4 times per week. Last weekend, I got my distance run up to 20k, so I know my distance is nowhere where it normally is, but I am in a good place now to start adding mileage. Last TNW session, I dropped two young fastees in Mt. Doug Park, and they simply couldn't keep up with me. I know I am no Shane Ruljancich, but I am making it my duty to put in the kind of effort he used to, and establish me as being the front runner.
So, as good things are happening now, I am starting to think about upcoming events. Everyone seems to be asking me what is next for me, and to them I have no answer. I have just wanted to get back into shape, and I know I am finally there.
While the JdF Trail looms at the end of August, I have no other solid commitments, other than training. However, in all honesty, I am ready to get back at 'er.
I have been thinking about the Esquimalt 8k, and also the Half Monty 25k in July. I hope I can get into September healthy, and if that happens, I would not rule out the CR 56k in September, or the GLW 50k.
Long term, I am thinking about going after a sub 3 hr marathon maybe in 2011. I know it is too early to think about 2011, but after missing so much this year, so much seems to beckon.
I am thankful that things are going well, and that options are opening. Hopefully there will be some racing news in the near future.