15K Race Report

on Wednesday, October 9, 2013 at 10:48 PM

I ran the Running Maniacs 15k race this past Saturday. The timing of the race fit in well with the Pfitzinger training plan I'm on that wanted an 8-15k race done on that day.  I did this race 7 years ago when it was only a 5 and a 10k and run for the first time.  Didn't care much for the organization at the time, but hey they've had a few years to work out the kinks, right?

Situated in the little town of Newcastle, about a 45 minute drive east of Toronto, the race is really more of a fall festival for a local running group in the area, but a race is still a race.

Decided to sign up for the 15k. Though I had thoughts of doing the 10k after my miserable 10k performance 2 weeks ago, I realized that the main goal is to race a marathon this fall so longer tune-up races were preferable.  I went into this race with a slightly different mindset.  Rather than pick a pace to try and hold or try to run on perceived effort, I decided to return to my training roots and run this by HR by keeping the HR just under 180.  If I encountered a HR spike, I was going to stop until it returned to normal.  With this mindset, I think the tension of the race went away and I just perceived it as another training run.

Wasn;t too sure about the organization so prior to the race, I started asking around about the water stations, and no one seemed to have any clue if there were any or where they would be.  One volunteer did try and be helpful by saying he was sure that there was one at 12k mark, but that seems quite late. Not taking any chances, ended up running with a water bottle, an actual water bottle with a screw cap, not a squeeze bottle, as it was the only thing I had available. Didn't really get a good chance to warm up, which essentially consisted of about 200m of slight running right before the start.

To keep from going out too fast, I started at the very back of the pack.  There were only about 80 people in the race, so there wasn't going to be a lot of jostling. Hit the first mile marker at 7:00 min even which I thought was fairly good and controlled. Only real drama was during the 2nd mile when I could hear a train in the distance and I turned a corner to see a set of train tracks up ahead and started to wonder if they train was going to coincide with me passing the tracks, but it didn't, but it did pass by about 2 minutes after I crossed so it probably did effect some people.  The race is a mix of roads and paved trails and is a bit hilly in places. I would have to cross over train tracks twice more during the race, but no sound of horns in the distance so no train worries. Not a lot of volunteers or course marshals. I eventually figured out that they had spray painted arrows on the roads when one is supposed to turn which would have been nice if they had told us ahead of time. 

Rest of the race went without incident. HR didn't spike and HR was kept just under 180 with it going above it only on the hills. Remaing splits would be 6:53, 6:52, 7:06, 7:11, 7:05,6:49, 7:00,7:14.  The slower splits are a result of uphills and the faster splits are from downhills so things looked okay. Data from my race is here. Total race distance was around 14.7 km according to the GPS so a bit short.  Average pace for the whole race was 7:00 min/mile pace even for a finish time of around 1:04.  I say around because I had to go with my watch time which I didn't stop exactly at the finish line, maybe 5 to 10 seconds after.  My "official" finishing time has me at 1:41:23 which I don't understand at all.  Maybe I was just going so fast that relativistic effects started taking place and time for everyone else started to slow down or maybe the timing guys just messed up. I'm leaning towards the latter.

I emailed the timing guys about double checking, but its been a few days and haven't heard back from them. It probably won't help much as it appears from the race results that despite the start and finish lines being at the same place and using chip tracking, they only offered gun times. Since I started at the back of the pack, I think my watch time will actually be closer to my actual time then the gun time. 

My first thought when I saw the time mess up was that I had been stiffed yet again for an award  which had happened the last time I did this race, but lucky for me, I wouldn't have placed either overall or in my age group so it didn't really matter. I would have finished 10th overall, 5th in my gender and 4th in my age group.

There was some screw up with the chips though. In fact, we had to wait over an hour for them to announce the winners and they never actually did post the times at the event. I had to wait until Sunday night to find out my time online. In fact, I don't even think they had a clock at the finish line so one could have run this race without a watch and left the race having no idea what your finish time was. Apparently, some people had taken chips that weren't assigned to their bib numbers  which ended up messing up the results.  I know I received the right chip so that couldn't have been the issue for me, but who knows. 

I'm fairly happy with the race.  The 7:00 min/mile average pace for about an hour is approximately what my LT pace should be according to Daniels which means I've been doing my LT runs at the proper pace and intensity this training cycle. This has me still considering what marathon pace I should aim for in New York, but I'll get to that in another post.

That's it for tune-up races for me. Pfitz technically has one more scheduled for two weeks from now on a Saturday, but I'm supposed to be a pacer at a local half marathon on the Sunday which probably means an all out race the day before is pretty much out of the question. 

Overall, an okay event, if you don't mind the short course, and the timing fiasco.  The timing company was one I had never heard of before in this area.  There are basically two big timing companies in the area and a bunch of smaller ones.  The one that was used (splitstiming.com) seems to be relatively new.  They don't use the Championship chip system and they don't appear to have mats. Instead they have little antennas on the sides that pick up signals. Not sure how well they work; they obviously didn't work for me. Presumably they were used because they were cheaper, but sometimes you get what you pay for. As for swag, we got a tech shirt (not a fan of the colour) and a Tim Horton's coffee mug. Not bad for a $54 last minute 15k registration fee