2018 Harrier’s Pioneer 8k: Race Recap

Here it is! The first race recap of 2018.

Yesterday I ran the Prairie Inn Harrier’s Pioneer 8km in Victoria, BC. When I woke up I could hear the rain pouring down on the roof, and I immediately thought: “Oh boy. We’ll see how this goes.” I did this race last year (you can check out that race recap here) and it was COLD! Think bundled up so much because the weather hurts your face kind of cold. However, this year we had the pleasure of a POURING rain (I’m not talking a little drizzle here, a little drizzle there. POURING!), cold, and WIND! Additionally, last year the course had a longish hill but some nice downhill slopes in the latter part of the race. This year, the course was completely different and the race started and finished in a totally different place. To compare this race to last year would not be accurate, but nevertheless, last year was my first 8km race (ever!) and therefor my PR. We will get to that in a minute. Let’s rewind to the start.

Ryan and I hit the road around 9am. Since this race is part of the Vancouver Island race series, I believe all of the races start later in the morning at 11am. This gave me lots of time to rethink my race outfit (although who can ever be perfectly prepared when they’re running in a monsoon), have my breakfast and even a cup of coffee — not something I typically do on race day. When I was at home doing my thing I was not nervous, but once we started driving there (bless Ryan’s heart for always driving me to and from races for the last four years! He is the real MVP) that’s when the nerves settled in. I kept thinking to myself, “All I can do is all I can do.” But I did kind of have a goal in mind.

Last year my average pace was 5:33/km. This felt comfortable and easy-ish for the most part, even with the long hill. This year I wanted to push it a bit faster, maybe 5:30-5:25ish, and once we got going I decided that I would stick with that and adjust as my body allowed.

 

 

Ryan was my photographer while I was out running, so he snapped this picture of the gentleman who won first place. Check out that time! Crazy.

 

 

The course was actually flat for the majority of the run with some gentle downhills. That is, until the turnaround point at the 4km mark when you had to go back up hill. Despite the cold, I felt like I was insulated pretty well thanks to my long sleeve base layer and my jacket. I also wore a hat which was a great idea up until the wind picked up and literally BLEW my hat right off my head with maybe 200 meters to go. The joys of running in the wind! Fortunately a kind gentleman, who I think was a course marshall, picked it up and caught up with me that way I didn’t have to leave it behind. I almost thought about turning back to grab it, but inside I knew that I didn’t want to stop. I was keeping a good pace, I was so close to the end, and turning around to pick it up would delay me. The things runners do, right? Anyway, luckily I got my hat back, and I actually beat last year’s PR with an average pace of 5:21/km! I’ll take it : )

 

 

Once we got back to the school I changed into some dry clothes, grabbed a cookie, banana and coffee (and a slice of pizza for Ryan) and we sat down to watch some of the awards. My age group is a FAST group of girls. Like finish time of 26 minutes kind of fast. The downside of getting older means that the competition field gets better and better (I’m now in the 25-29 age group; had I been in the 19-24 still I would’ve placed well), but it also gives me something to work towards – speed! This makes me wonder if I will tackle another marathon this year or if I will focus on the half marathon and under. We shall see. There are lots of unknowns. All I know is I am super proud of myself for running a great race, beating my PR, oh and Natasha Wodak (Olympic Canadian runner, no big deal) was there so that was pretty damn cool, too!

 

 

Once we got home I had a hot Epsom salt bath, drank a ton of water, and then cuddled up on the couch with Ryan & the dogs and watched the Golden Globes. It was a great day overall and I can’t wait to see how my running improves as I continue my running group (they race often!) and pushing myself outside of my comfort zone. That’s where progress grows, after all.

 

Have a great day everyone!