2016, running wise, was a very good year for me. While not all races were PB most were at least course bests for me which made me really happy.
Between 2014 and 2015 I did almost every NLAA race in town, (with the exception of the USR, one day I’ll get that one done), so I had an idea which ones I wanted to tackle and which ones I didn’t. Having said that not everything went according to plan. I didn’t want to do the Harbour Front 10k but the Rice Krispie Queen herself, convinced me to do it. I also love the ANE mile, but I had a wedding the night before so that one didn’t happen.
Disclaimer: There’s nothing wrong with any of the races I didn’t do. I chose to do races based on which ones I liked the most and which ones fit my schedule the best. For example I didn’t do the provincial 5k because I was in the middle of C2C training, even though I enjoyed that race and it gave me one of my best 5k times, and I didn’t do the URS because I was in PEI. I encourage everyone to give each race a shot. The ones I love might not the same as the ones you might love, but you won’t know until you try.
So with that out of the way let’s look at some of the races I did in 2016.
Course Best prior to 2016
PB for that distance
Frosty Fest 5k
Mundy Pond 5k
Harbour Front 10k
PRC 5 and Dime (5k)
Cape to Cabot
Not too shabby hey? With the exception of the Tely I improved in every race I did this year. I’ll talk about each race but I’ll try not to go into too much detail, otherwise I’ll still be writing this one blog by the end of February.
I wasn’t going to put this one in because it wasn’t an NLAA race and it had a horrible time for me. However I decided to put it in because I got my first medal for my age category and because it shows how a bad time can kick you into gear and get you back to where you want to be. This one was after a snow storm so it was a slippery, snow covered, uphill battle, but I got through it. It wasn’t by best time but I wasn’t long back on the road,(I generally find December and January really hard to get out to run) and the course and conditions were tough, so in the end I was happy especially considering I received a placement medal (I thanked David Freake on Twitter for bailing). The race was supposed to get me back on track, and that’s exactly what it did.
Mundy Pond 5K
There’s two 5ks in April, but I decided since this one was later and I always get a better time on it, I would skip the Flatout 5k this year and just do the Mundy Pond. This gave me some extra time to prepare as well. I was really nervous about this race, as most people who know me know, I was struggling for 2 years to break a 30 minute mark. I finally did it in August 2015. So after the Frosty Fest 5k and knowing I didn’t keep my training up after the Huffin Puffin as much as I would of liked to, I was worried that I wouldn’t break 30 and it would be a struggle to go it again for the rest of the year. However I went in with a strategy and it paid off. It wasn’t my best 5k but it was the fastest I’ve done on the course and it was the confident booster I needed.
Harbour Front 10k
Like I said I had no plans on doing this one. The year before I did it for the first time and I had to leave a birthday party early because of the race the next day. I didn’t want to leave the party and I wasn’t mentally prepared for Waterford bridge road. This year the birthday party fell on a different week and with pressure from RKQ (Rice Krisipe Queen) I ended up registering. Once again I starting to struggle on Waterford bridge road, the further I went the more I thought the turn off was much earlier last year. I also remember Southside road being downhill, it wasn’t. I was losing steam on southside road and then Derek passed me. I was like no way, not Derek, if Derek beats me that means I’m the slowest male member in the club. I was not having it. I passed him shortly and then he passed me again. It got to the point where he got out of sight and I also didn’t think I was going to make my time from the year before. I passed Marc who was on the sidelines cheering, I shook my head at him as he told me I was going great. I did not think I was doing great and I didn’t feel great. But right after I went by Marc, I looked at my watch and said hey I can still beat my time from last year if I boot it now. So I did, and just as I was approaching the finish line, I saw him, Derek, I found more energy deep inside me and tapped into a gear I didn’t know I had. As I zoomed by not even 100 metres from the finish line, I let out a “sorry Derek” and completed my two goals. It’s great to have a friendly rival for races, it pushes both parties. Though I don’t know if Derek knew he was my rival. Sorry Derek, you’ll know for next time.
Another race that didn’t start off the way I wanted it to. I love love love this race. It’s probably my favourite race and I do it every year. In 2014 when I did it I didn’t take my fuel belt and regretted it. 2015 was even hotter and I was glad I took it. 2016 was not hot at all but I took my belt feeling like I’d regret it. However I regretted wearing it in the end. Brenda was running this one, pretty much every race Brenda beats me. When she bet me at the Frosty 5k I told her one day I would beat her. I bet her at Mundy Pond. I ran into her one day and she said it was on for the Mews. I struggled for the first 5k or 6k of this race, feeling my fuel belt weighing me down. I was looking around for someone I knew to take it but could not find anyone. I was running but I knew I wasn’t running at the pace I was the year before and didn’t have any hope of beating my PB or Brenda. Then I saw a beacon of hope, 3 PRCers, Pam, Wendy and Kiley. I yelled at them that I was dropping my belt and they said no problem. As I dropped it I could feel my legs lifting higher and myself getting lighter, it was an amazing feeling, I quickly caught up to running buddy Tanya. At one point she said go on Andrew so I went. With no Brenda in sight I focused on one thing, beating my PB. When I got to the finish line I saw Brenda, with me nowhere in sight the entire race she didn’t think I was a threat or right behind her. As she got to the finish line I came behind her, she extended both arms out just in front of the line and I reached my leg out and put it underneath her arm and in front of her so I crossed the line before her. Brenda was shocked but loved it. In the end we had the same gun time but she had a better chip time so she still bet me, but it was still wicked.I just wished there was a picture oh us at the finish line.
The Tely 10
The Tely didn’t go as well as I planned. It was probably the worst race I had all year, but it was a good lesson learner for sure. In 2015 I took a whopping 10 minutes off my first Tely time. I knew that a lot of that had to do with the weather. 2014 was really hot, 2015 was not. My first time was 107 minutes and my second was 97. I decided after looking at the forecast I would aim for 100 minutes. When we started the weather was similar to 2015, so I ran like it was 2015 and I was doing wonderful. After 5 miles I had over a minute and a half banked to reach my goal. So I figured even if it got warmer and I slowed down I still had a decent shot of reaching my goal. I was wrong. What Happened? Mile 6 happened, the sun came out and it was brutal. I lost my banked time and then some, I thought about throwing in the towel, thinking about Mark Dinham two years ago. But I decided that if I didn’t try, I’d never know and would regret it forever. So I kept going, at this point my only goal was to finish. By the time I got to mile 8 I was feeling somewhat better and realized while 2015’s time was nowhere in sight I could still beat 2014’s time, so I went and did, 105 minutes. I was pleased because I knew that that was the best that I could of possibly of did that day. The lesson here was no matter what you plan, things change instantly and you have to adapt.
PRC 5 and Dime
PRC 5 and Dime was the next race I did. I was debating whether I’d do the 5 or the 20 but after talking to people I decided to do the 5. Because the route starts off downhill, I had to change my normal strategy for a 5k (more on this later). After talking to Mark Dinham, we came up with a plan. It paid off, I took exactly a minute off my PB 5k. I was so pleased. I can’t wait to do this one again.
The Cape to Cabot.
The C2C is one of my favourite races, I haven’t done it since 2014, so I was really looking forward to it. After a few training runs I wasn’t overly confident on getting under 2:30 but decided I would make it my goal. About a week before the Tely I was running with Erin. In 2014 I passed Erin on the top of signal hill and bet her by about 30 seconds. She was so rotted at me. So this year she decided she had two goals. Goal one was to break 2:30. Goad Two was to kill Andrew. Let me focus on this for a second, not pass, not beat, not even destroy, no, kill Andrew. Going in I really didn’t think I would beat Erin, she is a really good runner and in the past two years, she has improved drastically. But I decided that I would aim for my goal of 2:30 and at least give her a run for her money. I spent most of my race looking over my shoulder for Erin. She caught up a few times but I would go ahead for a while until she’d catch up again. When we got on southside road I could see that I had widen the gap, she told me I had this, but I wasn’t counting her put yet, so I picked up the pace. When I got to signal hill I was constantly looking over my shoulder, thinking she would pass me the same way I did to her in 2014. In the end I took a whopping 11 minutes of my time and beat Erin. However I am very happy to report Erin also broke 2:30. Just goes to show you what a little friendly competition can do.
So what’s in store for 2017? I honestly have no idea. I have a wedding the night before the Tely, so I doubt I will be doing that this year. I would like to do the ANE Mile again, and to keep my on track, I am looking at doing the USR Half Marathon, seeing as I won’t be training for the Tely. I would also like to do the Cape to Cabot, the Mews and the 5 and Dime again. I was also thinking because I am not doing the Tely I might do the Bay Roberts Craved by the sea 10k. This race is always the week before the Tely so I've never done it, because I didn't want risk injuring myself before the Tely, but as of right now, there’s no real goals or anything set in stone. I haven’t been hitting the pavement as much as I would like, so first off is to get back into that routine. Once I get there, then I’ll probably look more at what I would like to focus on for this year. Whatever I do plan, I am certain it will be a challenging and reward ride in the end.