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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Race Recap: 2010 AO Ontario Cross Country Championships

 Well, it is all said and done. What a day this has been. Some big UPs, some big DOWNs. Here's my quick rundown.

Two weeks ago I blogged about a 5km race I did on Halloween and how I destroyed my goal time of 20 minutes and cranked out an 18 minute 5km race.  Wow, just wow. That left me on cloud 9 and to think that I am barely out of reach with my former running self was just mindblowing. I've been running with a new found confidence.

So today was my final test of the season with the Ontario Provincial XC Championships in Guelph Ontario.  The senior Men's field had a record number of entrants, with 47 runners. The weather, though not the balmy 16C we had yesterday, was still amazingly dry, warm and calm considering the date.

I'd spent the week relaxing, tapering off and getting my legs rested for once. I'd only done 32km in the 6 days leading up to this race, so I was feeling physically fit.  Though the time change had been messing with me this week I took full advantage of it all and have been getting 9+ hours of sleep a night. I was feeling confident that would help me in the long run. Pun intended.

Getting to the race was eventful as we found ourselves in a mild fender bender, but after a report with the OPP we were on our way and made it to the course with 75 minutes to spare. Thankfully none of us were physically harmed.

After a nice warm up, a quick change into race gear and laced up xc spikes, I was ready to toe the line for some strides and dynamic warmup.  At this point, the wind decided to pick and we realized we'd be racing off into the wind for a solid 400m right off the bat. Not something I wanted to do, but since I'd likely be at the back of the pack, I figured I'd be safe.

I was set to run with a teammate of mine who'd been training with the Windsor XC team over the season and we were hoping to stick together through the first 5km in 18:30.  As we were told we had 5 minutes before the start, he realized he had left his bib number at the tent. This coming from the guy who organized our team's numbers and managed to hand us all ours. D'oh! He sprinted to the tent, grabbed it, attached it with 2 pins and BANG, we were off. Dang, that was close.

We ran off into the wind and the pack picked up quickly and stayed rather bunched. We trailed near the end of the pack, and I realized that even though I was aiming for a 38:XX 10km race today, I'd likely end up being one of the last few stragglers left on the course. Sigh.

We cranked through the first km and I felt great. The course was hard, fast and very flat. I was able to maintain a good groove and by the 4km mark I had started to pull away from my teammate Ben Procter.  The midsection of the course was a little challenging as I was alone, it was the midsection (5-8km) and the wind was wicked for about 600-800m at the end of each loop (we did 4).

I came across the finish line in 35:25, not believing what I was seeing on my watch.  I had looked at my 5km split and it was just below 19 minutes, I think at 18:50.  So to see 35:25 on my watch after I crossed the finish line, I just couldn't believe. A quick chat with a few of my London Runner teammates as I walked down the chute reinforced my fear: the course was short. SHORT? SHORT?!?!?!?!?! I came down here to run a 10km race and get a time for a 10km race.

My Nike+ read 9.3km and my heart sank. Was I really that far off? Then I remembered that the faster I ran with the Nike+ sensor, the more the distance would be off, and it would be less than the actual run distance.  So I started thinking at the course and wondering, but I knew I had to come home to actually crunch some numbers.  A few things I had to figure out:
  1. Just how long did I actually run?
  2. And how short was the race, if it were short at all?
And so I present to you my lovely calculation sheet in which I find out exactly how fast I ran 10km today.  It turns out that I ran 10km in 36:31!!!!!!  WOWZA. Again, I blew my goal out of the water and obliterated it. I was aiming for 38:XX and it looks that after my 18:02 5km road race, I still had some left in the tank and nearly didn't lose any ground, pace-wise!

So, you may wonder what the heck I did on this sheet. Well, in short, I referenced an old workout of ours which was a 1km hard tempo loop we did at Weldon Park. I know the loop is nearly exactly 1km, but when we did it, my nike+ registered 0.87km. This is due to the fact that the nike+ sucks when you deviate from the calibration pace you set.

So, with that in mind I decided to find a best, worst and average case scenario for that loop on my nike plus, settling on 0.96 km as the distance the nike+ sensor would read at a pace of 3:45/km over a 1 km distance.

Armed with this I was able to calculate exactly what the course distance was, which in the end was 9.69km.  That means I had 0.31km left to run if I had actually wanted to run a full 10km. Armed with my overall time and distance, I was able to calculate my average pace (219s/km) and tack on 0.31km at this pace for a GRAND TOTAL OF 36:31 for 10km!

Wow, that was long winded. In short? If you ran the 2010 AO Ontario Cross Country Championships this would be your final time over 10km:

Overall Time (s) + (0.31 X (Overall Time (s) / 9.69)) = FINAL TIME OVER 10KM

And so there you have it. I have just run a 10km in 36:31, finished nearly dead last, had an amazing race, walked away with 3 massive blisters (first time in spike since '03) and mowed down a massive burger at Relish in Wortley Village. I don't think today could ever get any better. Time for a bath, maybe some brandy?

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