Distributel 21.1KM Challenge
Saturday, June 26, 2020
The morning started well. I woke rested and started my day the same way, at the same time as any other summer day. Coffee, two bagels, a shower and I was out the door.
The route I picked for the challenge was an out an back along the flattest terrain local to the Greater Victoria area. After a short 15 minute drive, I parked my vehicle at Lochside Park. There was a gusty wind blowing through the trees but at ground level, it wasn't bad. With an overcast sky, this morning's weather seemed to be shaping up for an excellent day for a hard effort.
I had a warm up scheduled so I headed south along Lochside Trail. Nothing unexpected on the warm-up; I think we are all systems go.
The trail north from Lochside Park is smooth, hard-
I am comfortable and set for a really good day.
As Lochside Trail winds its way north, the trail leaves its forested section becoming tranquil farmland. The surface varies from sections of paved asphalt, gravel and chip seal. Sometimes it is a flat country road, some parts are multi-use, cycling path. Seven and a half kilometres into the run, I am off the bike path and running along the shoulder of Lochside Drive. The farmland has been replaced with a highway to my right and ocean-front homes to my left. I am feeling good; really good and I think I am running the pace that I found at the 1km mark. If I am not on pace, I am certainly on effort.
There is a long, straight section of Lochside Drive and at its end is Cy Hampson Park; the park is popular spot for dog owners to let their companions run. Near the centre of the park, a convenient white line painted on the shoulder of the road; this is my turn around point. Reaching that line has me at 10.7km into the run and the emotional half-way point.
Turning around has me focused on the long white line that separates Lochside Drive's
effort and still feeling really good. Running that long white line is bringing me home.
15 kilometres and I am noticing that things are needing more focus. I am about to leave the roadway and continue south on the bike path. Generally I ask myself, what is my limiter?
Is it my legs or is it my lungs? Today it is my quads, glutes and hamstrings that are starting to have their conversation heard. I am trying to block it out, sipping more energy drink and carrying on. The area is opening back up into farmland again and the headwind is noticed; this is one more thing to try and block out.
There is a dull ache coming from my legs so I tell myself, "these legs are just fine, this is just an interpretation in my head." Do I believe that? "Yes". Is this pace becoming more difficult to hold? "Absolutely".
Just like I set my watch to beep a couple of times at the start of the run, I have it set to beep at 2km, 1km and 200m from the finish. I think I am about a kilometre away from they next time my watch goes beep. I look around, taking in the farmland that I am running past.
I have slowed. Not only am I feeling it in my legs, I can see how much slower I am moving down the road. "Pick it up!" 3km is about 15 minutes according to the fuzzy math in my head. Surely I can concentrate on this task for 15 minutes.
Another beep from the watch, 1 kilometre through this forested road. The trees on either side of me are in contrast to the wide-
One last beep from the watch; 200 meters to go. I can see my vehicle in the parking lot ahead. It looks like it is just 100 metres away and I wonder how much further past it I will have to run to measure out the full 21.1 km. Keep digging!
Beep, beep, beep! Looking at my watch to see "Workout complete". I find the stop button and press it as quick as I can. No sense recording more time that I need to. Now the unforgiving clock appears on the watch. 1:55:04.
The happiness of finishing a virtual half marathon disappears at that press of a button. Hrmmm... I feel quite disappointed with the truth in front of me. I run back through my head, where did that time go? I can't find fault with pacing. If I started this run faster, I likely would have faded quicker too.
This was the best I could express today. It is nowhere near my best from previous tests from just this past January (10K PR) and October (42.2K PR).
My goal to become a better runner is not done.