2017 Harriers Pioneer 8K Race Review

Hey, hey! Happy Monday everyone!

This weekend was a mixture of busy and relaxed. I will have a bit of a Saturday recap for you tomorrow, but first thing’s first, I wanted to focus on the main event for Sunday: The Harriers Pioneer 8K in Saanich, British Columbia at the Saanich Fair Grounds.

It was my first time running this race, and I thoroughly enjoyed it despite the cold. I woke up yesterday morning to a dusting of snow, and I made a mental note to bring some gloves and a toque – just in case. The race started later in the morning (at 11am), which meant we had time to wake up, eat breakfast, and I read some of my latest book The Universe Has Your Back before we left. This was perfect as we got some extra sleep, too! The drive to the Saanich Fair Grounds took us less than an hour, so we arrived with lots of time to spare. This meant staying warm inside, and also going out for a little walk to warm up the muscles before the run began – wearing the gloves and toque!

I haven’t ran a race since the Goodlife Victoria Half Marathon back in October, so I went into this 8K with no expectations. No time limits, no strategies, just for the sake of running and getting to the start line. It was a relatively small race, but the energy was buzzing with excitement. Or maybe that was just me, happy to be out at a race again! There is something about the positive energy on race day that just fuels the fire, you know? Before the starting horn sounded, Ryan asked me what my time goal was. I randomly said, “I don’t know, 47 minutes? I haven’t ran outside consistently or trained for any hills.” He said, “You can do it faster. You can do it in 45 minutes.” I stuck to my guns and kept saying, no, no, 47 it is. Okay then, we will see what happens!

We started on a slight down hill for the first 1.5(ish) miles. My watch beeped and I looked down. I was holding an 8:XX pace in the first mile. I thought, okay let’s see if I can scale it back a little bit. Technically I was still running on cold muscles (walking and the odd burst of butt-kicks only warms up your body to a certain extent), so I reigned in a little bit (still in the 8 minute range), just in time to power up a hill. And then another slope. And then came the down hill. There was a great mix of rolling hills throughout this race, and although hills are hard (that can be an understatement sometimes!), there was no doubt in my mind that I couldn’t conquer them.

I hit the 2.5 mile mark around 22 minutes, and holy cow was I thrilled about that. Soon enough, we were turning around, passing the 7km mark, and turning back towards the fair grounds. Then, I could see it. The finish line was one right turn and a slight incline away.

There was a moment, when running towards the finish line, where I thought, “You can do this. You can do sub-45 minutes.” Why not, right? So, I kicked it into high gear and did the damn thing!

45 minutes? How about 44:27.

And then just like that, I was over it and smiling my face off.

There was a great selection of food at the end, too. They had everything from smokies with all the fixings, pizza, cookies, yogurt, protein shakes, oranges, bananas, popcorn, chips – you name it. Such a good selection! While I wasn’t in the mood for a hot dog or pizza, I did snag a cookie, some fruit, and one of these Milk 2 Go Sport drinks. Oh! And there was Level Ground coffee and chai tea, which was awesome. Both Ryan and I grabbed a coffee for the ride home, and rather than using regular milk or creamer in my coffee, I poured in some of this protein shake. It tasted like a mocha (minus all the sugar and junk). Then, we began the drive home, and I rode the endorphin high all the way home.

All in all, it was an excellent race. It was my first time doing an 8K race, too! So this must mean 44:27 is my official 8K PR ; ) We can only get faster from here! Of course, I foam rolled after my run and even did some planks, then cracked open my Believe running journal (which you guys will hear more about tomorrow) and documented the day’s accomplishments.

A sneak peek into the journal and some of my notes. This race was definitely a good confidence booster! I also came out of this race with a new mantra, which I repeated to myself a few times during the 8K. “You can do hard things.” It only feels hard until it is done!

Oh, yeah. And then this happened when we were en route home. Thank goodness we beat the rain and the snow for the race! It’s like a winter wonderland outside : )  With that, I thank you guys for reading and hope you all have a great day!

Thank you to the Vancouver Island Runner’s Association for hosting such a great event! Looking forward to more in the race series.

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