Billy Taylor 15k – April 28th, 2013.
My athletic endeavors have never really included pure road running. I once ran the 30km around the bay race (almost 20 yrs ago), I was in high school and only did it because a pretty girl asked me to a few days prior… I have no idea what my time was, but can tell you that it failed to impress said girl, as such, I viewed it as a failure…
I primarily focus on Adventure Racing and Triathlons, so I have to admit, I’ve never ran a timed 15k race before.
My decision to enter the Billy Taylor 15k race came late the night before. I had hyper extended my knee playing soccer only 5 days prior, and although everything was feeling much better I wasn’t at 100%. Looking back on it, I would say that my knee was probably almost back to normal, and that the hesitation to enter the race was primarily a mental road block.
One of my AR teammates was also entered in the 15k event so I decided to give it a go. My expectations, in terms of a realistic target time were almost non-existent. I really had no idea what to expect. Most of my training runs involve either brick training (bike then run), or running with a loaded hydration pack on my back, and generally on trails. I rarely ‘just run’ if you know what I mean. I figured that 90 minutes (6 min/km) would be the absolute upper limit of what was acceptable, other than that I knew whatever time I ran would be a PB.
I took to the start line at 10am along with everyone else. There were 310 participants, split between the 5k race (212 racers) and the 15k race (98 racers). Off we went and I decided to just give it a go and see what happened. I covered the first 5k in approx 23 minutes and was feeling really good about everything. My knee was feeling great, my pace was good and I was in control. If anything, I started playing mind games with myself, asking myself questions like, “am I going too fast too early?”, “Is this a realistic pace to be setting so early?” etc… I think my lack of road racing experience started to show at this point. I remember kilometre 6-7 being rather difficult mentally, doubting myself and not knowing how I would react come the final stages of the race, but I was able to get through it, the aid station at 7k and consumption of a gel pack seemed to allow me to break the mental hurdle I was struggling with.
Kilometers 7 to 10 were run on dirt side roads, which in a strange way is far more familiar to me. Something so simple aided me in switching off mentally, and I was able to settle into a really good rhythm. At 10km the course was back onto paved roads for the remainder of the race. I checked my time at the 10k point and realized I was still running slightly under 5 min/k pace, I think my time was approx 49 mins at this point (coincidentally, the race winner was just crossing the finish line). At this point I started revising my goals, was 75 minutes within reach?
Turning west onto
I attacked that hill with everything I had, passing a few people along the way. For some reason I thought that my AR experience would help me run up a hill faster, perhaps it did, was probably just a placebo effect, either way, I destroyed that hill! The 13km mark and I was now at 65:30. I knew I had ran the hill as best I could, but it still put my last km at 5:30 pace. The final two kilometers were nice and flat and I gave it all I had, but in truth it was all I could do to maintain the 5 min/k pace.
I gave the last 250m a nice little sprint and crossed the finish line clocking in at 1:15:22, for an average pace of 5:02/km. I was very happy with my time, it was always going to be a PB for me given my total lack of road racing experience, but it was better than I had imagined. I finished 42nd out of 98 racers, 7th in my age category of M-30-39.
I enjoyed the race tremendously, it was well organised and ran very smoothly. I was unable to hang around after the race for personal reasons, but there was ample food available for everyone including fruit, pizza, chocolate milk, etc… Check the website below for prizing categories and other specifics.
Complete results can be found here: http://www.guelphvictors.ca/billyres.htm
Other race details: http://www.guelphvictors.ca/display.php?page=billy