Race in Review: ATB 2016

The goal for around the bay was to run a smart race.  If you have read some of my previous race reviews you will know that, that is something I often struggle with.  The plan was to go out conservative at 3:55 for the first 8km.  Then provided I was feeling okay drop that down to 3:50 for 8-18k.  Then work hard over the hills.  When 27k hits go for it!!  Here is how it went down:

Typical race morning woke up ~4hrs before race start.  Ate 3-3.5hrs before the race start (1 hard boiled egg / oatmeal).  Ate a banana 2.5hrs before race start before leaving home.Sipped gatorade on drive to Hamilton.  Side note was calm and cool aside from being a little concerned about what to wear in the cold but sunny temps

Got to Hamilton early and met up with MBP teammates. Headed out for 3k WU w/ MBP— warm up felt cold with the harsh wind but the sun was out (thank goodness!)  I worried I was going to be cold and put another pair of gloves on– this was a mistake and I tossed them to Ali & Elie who were cheering at 4k.

Heading out to the start line I realized I really had to pee not the end of the world but I knew it would annoy me… there was a Subway near by so I went in and peed quick (*score no line!).  Got some strides and drills in.  And then go time!

photo cred: Pace & Mind I think

Off the gun I went out in classic Brittany style… way too fast 3:35 first km woops!!  But reflecting on this it is just so fun off the start especially being lucky enough to be in the elite section…. So I rode it for a km and then backed off… but had trouble backing off to 3:55.  So 2-3k were both 3:50.  So since the goal was to run smart I decided I would really focus on km 4-9 being 3:55 and they were in and around there.

10-11k were both sub 3:50 but felt comfy

Then we turned a corner and BOOM wind!!  I was with someone for a bit but he was cramping my pace so I made the decision to pass him.  The next guy was too far away and I did not feel like I had a surge in me at that point/was trying to be smart and still conserving (*these thoughts actually crossed my mind) so i decided to just relax and accept I may have a couple slower km than expected due to wind… because I was not going to kill myself at this point in the race.  Tactical thoughts that never typically cross my mind.

Then into the hills I made sure to push up but to really attack the downhill and I actually reeled in a few guys doing that.  There was a pack that was pretty solid ahead of us… until the hills where I reeled them all in! (*what?! Brittany passing people in the second half of the race… crazy!).  At this point I was back and forth with the guy who had been ahead of me in the wind.  For some reason he was really slowing down on the downhills… silly!

Then I was back and forth with a few men (*in the end I beat all the ones I was back and forth with… who am I?)

I thought the hills were going all the way to 27k but they ended around 25k but needless to say I was conservative until I hit that 27k mark then I started to push a little more.  My coach said to try to surge every 500m to keep the legs moving.  This was a good strategy when they are starting to feel like cement blocks.  There were two men in front of me that I definitely gained on.  My last 2k were 3:45ish each.  I did not see the 4th place woman in front of me.  But I think due to my close finishes in the last couple races.  I am just going to assume there is a female just ahead of me at the end always.

Nutrition took water every 5k I think and took one gel before the race and 2 during the race. Nutrition went really well this race I think.

I definitely made sure to be checking in with myself to make sure I was pushing but not dying.  It was great to be being smarter out there and not just running.  I love the you never know unless you try attitude… but in distance running there is a lot more to it.  I think I have finally accepted this.  The other thing I thought about was my form.  Check out this article that my training partner Alistair shared with me:  http://www.runnersworld.com/sports-psychology/what-you-think-about-affects-how-fast-you-run

So all in all a solid effort.  Now I just need to hold that pace for another 12.2km.  Because ideally that is the pace I would like to hold for the marathon.  

MBP sub 2hr crew!

I definitely feel much more confident and comfortable at that pace pushing for longer compared to the faster pace of the half marathon.  

Post race:  initially reaction excited I had run smart… even more excited when I found out I held on to 5th place female overall!

Having thought about it for a few days now… I wish it was faster.  But I am just chalking it up to a solid effort that I felt strong in maintaining that pace.

I recovered WAY better than I did  from chilly.  The day after chilly I was sore and I do not think I could have run. I felt fine on Monday and easily got in the 2x short runs my program called for.  

Oh another big factor for how strong I felt in this race was concentrating on getting more SLEEP leading up to the race!!  I plan to continue to do this for the rest of the build to Ottawa full.

I think whether I am having a great race or a bad race… this face comes out! haha

So lessons learned:

  • In long races one must be smart and make tactical decisions based on how you feel/conditions during the race
  • Sleep makes a huge difference
  • You recover much faster when you run smarter races
  • It is more enjoyable to run smart then to go out and DIE!!

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