Race report: 2011 BMO Vancouver 8kPosted: 3 May 2011
After three straight years running the half marathon, this was the year I changed races at the BMO Vancouver. For almost a year, I focused on running the hometown marathon for the first time. Unfortunately, an injury dashed those chances at a critical point in the training buildup. Not wanting to be deterred by such a setback, I re-focused and set my sights on the 8k distance, if only as a marker of my recovery progress.
Even in the week or so leading up to the 8k race, I was still having issues with my injured ankle/Achilles. My last hard run (an attempt at goal pace) also left me with sore quads. All of that meant I wasn’t sure how I should approach this race: go conservatively, or run like hell. I was thinking of a finish time of around 50 minutes (6:15/km), which should indicate whether or not I’m progressing well in my recovery.
As I arrived at the race start/finish area, saw off the half and full marathoners (including those I’ve trained with until my injury), and started warming up, there was a silent confidence building. As I waited in the start corral area, someone asked me my goal time, and I told her somewhere in the 48-50 minute range, which means I can average 6:00/km. That pace had been unattainable in more than six weeks, but I felt ready to take it on.
The BMO 8k had an announced field of 1100 (although over 900 are recorded as having completed it), which is quite small compared to the two longer distances. The course is a simple out-and-back that follows the first portion of the full marathon route. Unsurprisingly, the first kilometre was crowded and that kept me at a reasonable opening pace (6:35/km). I gradually picked up the speed such that I reached the turnaround point in under 25 minutes.
So far so good, I thought. I could maintain a similar pace and still finish under 50 minutes. But I was feeling great: nothing major with my ankle, and no other discomforts. That’s when the race instincts kicked in. Thanks to a downhill that helped my momentum, I clocked sub-6:00/km the rest of the way. The last kilometre was an outlier; after the final turn, I just went flat out and finished that kilometre in about 5:00, and the full 8k in 47:18.
I was very happy with my overall time, especially the final surge to the finish. It likely means my recovery is complete. But I’m in no hurry to test it further. In fact, for the first time in a long time, I am not registered for any races. I’ll probably re-build my base for a few weeks, then figure out a suitable distance in which to train. Can you suggest a local race (ie. in Greater Vancouver) I should try this summer?