April 16, 2012

Top 10 Masters Women in Sun Run

On Sunday, yesterday, I finished the Vancouver Sun Run 10K in 39:38.8, a personal best. It was a great day to race and there were plenty of fast people to follow.

I chose not to take splits, instead simply glancing at my watch at each of the K markers.

First corner - Photo by Tim Moore
The course starts with a fast first kilometre that includes a downhill section; I recall seeing 3:38 on my watch.

The only split I took was at 5K, which I reached in 19:53. That compared with 20:07 the previous year.

Photo by Rita Ivanauskas
I felt good, perhaps not great but definitely good. I was focused, and paced myself well, so I am pleased with how I raced.

Thanks to photographer, and 2:48 marathoner, Rita Ivanauskas for capturing my concentration (click here to see more of Rita's superb photographs).

It may seem a little greedy but I had hoped to finish in 39:30 or faster. Yet, as Tim reminded me at the finish, I cannot complain about (finally) improving on my previous 10K best, 39:51 which I ran in January 2008.

Sprint for finish
My time yesterday was good enough for 42nd woman overall (out of 21,497 female finishers) and 6th in my age group. Overall, I was 341st out of 38,752 finishers. See full results here.

Thanks to Tim for capturing my sprint for the finish from a bridge overlooking the final 100 metres of the course.

Most exciting though, it placed me in the Top 10 Masters Women, according to the Vancouver Sun. Those results are based on gun time (mine was 39:45), rather than chip time (39:39).  

It's only the third, perhaps fourth, time I have run Sub-40 for the 10K. And the reality is that I have been training to hold a fast pace for longer, rather than working on improving my top speed.

I have to be happy with my 10K result, as it clearly puts me on track to run a personal best for the marathon in three weeks. Whether I am on track to run 2:59, I am not sure.

A year ago I finished the Sun Run in what I believe to have been 40:07 (there was a mix-up with my timing chip), and ran the Vancouver marathon the next month in 3:07:41. That was in line with the prediction of Merv's Running Calculator.

Plugging my new PB of 39:39 into Merv's, it predicts a marathon of 3:05:02. However, it also predicts a half marathon of 88:08; this year I have run 87:27 and a PB of 86:54 (earlier this month). Based on those times, I could expect to run 3:03:35 and 3:02:25 respectively, according to Merv's.

The latter is a pace of 4:19 per kilometre.That's pretty close to the 4:16 required to run a Sub-3 marathon.

As the three-week taper begins today, I will take a closer look at the new Vancouver marathon course, which on paper should be a faster one than it was previously as there are fewer twists and turns, and a flatter profile. As I saw clearly in my two fastest half marathons, a cautious starting pace provides great results, and that's a lesson I want to apply as I decide on the starting pace for May 6.

I still believe I have a chance to run 2:59 in three weeks; yet I also want to choose a race pace that will allow me to make the most of my level of fitness on May 6.

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