With not much else going on in the winter, I usually try to get this local race on the schedule.
Race morning was chilly, but at least the roads were dry and it was nice and sunny. The wind wasn't too strong, but definitely blowing enough to make the headwind quite a painful experience when I was warming up.
As usual, the race started and ended at RIM (aka Blackberry) park in Waterloo. I arrived about an hour early to get setup, warmed up and chat with my Health and Performance teammates. Also happening this morning was the 2014 Olympic Men’s Gold Medal Hockey game in which Canada won, shortly before the race got under way! Sweet!
The race got under way right at 10am and right from the gun, there were several runners flying up the road. Since the 8K, 8M and 3K race all started at the same time, I had no idea who was ahead of me at this point.
Early on, I found myself running with a few other H&P teammates. We went through the first K in about 3:45 and the first mile in around 5:45. This was about the pace I would have started off the 8K race, so I wasn't sure how long I would be able to hold on to this pace, but running with the wind and into the sun felt pretty good, so I just stayed with it.
About 2.5 K into the race, we had to get off of University and make the first climb up Lexington, which felt like it slowed the pace down a bit as expected.
Once we turned right off of Lexington onto Bridge, we were heading north and into the wind. This section was definitely colder, but luckily, we only had to run about a K or so until the 8 mile racers turned right and wound their way through subdivision streets back over to University.
After this turn, I could finally see who I was running against, as the 8K runners just kept on going straight up Bridge. Unfortunately for me, the closest 8 mile racers were several hundred metres up the road, so I found myself running solo at this point.
Once I got back to University, we were once again running the same route that we started with. At this time though however, I found myself actually feeling quite overdressed, as the wind was at our backs and the sun in our face. I knew this wouldn't last too long, so it didn't bother me much.
By now I could tell I was gaining some ground on the next 8 mile runner ahead of me which turned out to be another H&P runner. I got to within about 20 or 30 metres of him, but could never get much closer than this.
Just past the turn off I began passing many of these 8K runners as we approached Northfield. Once turning right onto Northfield, it was quite a bit easier, as the wind wasn't in our face and we faced a bit of a downhill back to University Ave. I was still trying hard to catch the other 8M runner ahead of me, but he did a really good job of just keeping ahead of me.
It was great turning back onto University, as we got the wind on our backs and sun on our face for the final couple K back to the finish line. I pushed hard through this section trying to catch what turned out to be the 2nd place finisher in the 8M race and past many of the 8K runners. Once we made the final turn back onto Millennium Blvd. the 2nd place seemed to pull ahead and I knew I wasn’t going to catch him.
After making the final turn to the finish, I picked up the pace again and finished with a pretty good time of 48:42 for the 8 miler and 3rd place overall.
Our Health & Performance team made a clean sweep of both the 8K and 8M corporate divisions.