Race Report: Champlain Classic 2014

Sunday morning turned out to be much nicer than expected, with no rain or wind and almost perfect racing temps. It was a little humid but nothing to complain about except post-race ponytail dreadlocks. We got out of the house a little late and because we decided to bring Watson, everything took extra time. Regardless, we arrived at the race around 8 am and all grabbed our bibs. After our bibs were pinned on, Amy, Kath and I headed out for a warm up. We did about 2 miles and all found that we were plenty warm after that. It was a shorts day after all! I will admit that I didn’t feel great on the warmup but in hindsight think the “tight-sore-almost cramping” feeling was just nerves.

With ten minutes to go, I did my final warmup of a couple minutes of running with cruise intervals. I like to arrive at the start line with my heartrate at about the level I will race the first couple miles at so that I’m calibrated to effort and don’t get dragged along with fast starters. I took my watch off after this and raced watchless. Because of the terrain of this course and because I’m not in race shape, the watch seemed like a source of unnecessary stress and I’m really glad I made that call.

Once the airhorn sounded, I relaxed and my legs felt normal. I settled into a comfortably hard pace and was thrilled to find Katherine tucked in with me. We crossed the first mile in about 6:40 pace, arguably on the flattest mile of the course. The effort felt AMAZING. My aim was to cruise the flats and downhills and ease up on uphills so I didn’t waste energy. The Classic course has a big section on trails that are very similar to cross country, so hammering up the hills would be counterproductive. 5K passed in 21:30 (6:55 pace) and Katherine and I split up here as I pushed up and she decided to ease back a bit. From 5K to the turn, I focused on clicking up a notch and settled in with Kelly, another local lady who I knew of but didn’t know well. She had been running with Kath and I and pushed up when I did. We chatted through the middle miles which was a great way to kill some time. She had WAY more than I did and pushed ahead at the 10K.

From 10K in, I focused on pushing the pace a little, chasing down a guy in red and keeping good form. It turned out that I was totally ready to run that pace all day but had zero “getupandgo” when I wanted it in the last mile. Finished in 1:03:48, which made the pace for the last 10K 6:47, exciting news over an extremely hilly course with a harder second half.

Overall, I’m happy with the run. I would have loved the win but ultimately this race determines nothing. I managed a negative split, my ankle held together and I got a great 9 mile effort that will help me significantly at the VCM relay in three weeks. It also sparked my motivation to get going for the rest of the race season. I am fit but have zero specificity, so it forces me to get my butt to the track.

The best part of the weekend? Great race photos taken by Will!

A Sunday morning race with one of my favorite people?! Perfection.

A Sunday morning race with one of my favorite people?! Perfection.

Really looking for some 5K speed here. Absolutely had none.

Really looking for some 5K speed here. Absolutely had none.

Do you ever race watchless? What’s your pre-race routine look like?

4 thoughts on “Race Report: Champlain Classic 2014

  1. Ryan

    Pre-race routine, you mean I should do something other than show up an hour early, pace anxiously for a while, get in a mile-ish warm up, then resume anxious pacing/milling about until the start? It is actually not that bad anymore, but there is still lots of room for improvement as my pre-race routine goes.

    You have a very impressive commitment to negative splitting. My efforts at negative splits typically don’t fare well. After 5-6 miles, when I am supposed to pick up the pace, I tend to start thinking “one more mile, then I’ll go faster” then repeat after another mile. With a mile or so to go I decide to stop being an idiot and run faster. Unfortunately, most of my best times are in races I decide to go out fast and hold it for as long as possible and suffer through the finish. Lots of room for improvement here as well.

    Reply
    1. runnerunderpressure

      Prerace is always really hard for me too, as I struggle with big time nerves. I’m finding that a routine helps me manage some of that, though, and I try to do it before every workout too to make it more normal. As for negative splits, I really like the emphasis not because I think it necessarily gives me faster times but because I don’t make the mistake of going out too hard.

      Reply
  2. bpangie

    I’ve raced Harpoon Oktoberfest watchless twice. For some reason I always manage to leave my watch at home for this race. Both time’s it’s been pretty successful. For my most recent 50m I had just a timex and only a ball park mileage of key intersections. Definitely took some pressure off.

    Congrats and good luck.

    Reply
    1. runnerunderpressure

      There’s something about just running on effort that requires you to really be in tune with your body! Plus, racing in Vermont means hills and obsessing over pace isn’t always the way to go.

      Reply

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