The Vancouver Island Race Series kicked off its 6th of 8 races in Comox on March 19. This race is the only half marathon of the series. My wife and I haven’t been as far north on Vancouver Island as Comox and were both excited to see a new part of the island.
Coming into this race, my goal was just to have a strong race and if pushed, try to work hard enough for the win. I woke up around 7:30, had a smoothie for breakfast and had a few spare minutes to do some light foam rolling before it was time to go. My wife and I left our house at 8:30 am on race morning (thanks to the awesome 11 am start) and arrived in Comox a little after 10:15. I quickly picked up my race package and found 2 of my athletes also doing the race. We chatted until about 10:40. I had a pre race Hammer Gel (Nocciola flavor, tastes like Nutella!) and then we started our 10-15 minute warm up. I always like to make sure I do a few 10-20 second fast surges to loosen up the legs and get my heart rate high. I usually like to finish my warm up as close to the race start as possible, this race I finished my warm up with about 3-4 minutes to spare.
Not much to say about how the race unfolded. I took the lead right from the start and within 2 miles I was running solo, following the lead bike through the beautiful and hilly course. I ran the rest of the race solo and finished about 3 minutes ahead of 2nd place. Breaking away from everyone so early can sometimes be the hardest races mentally. It’s almost like you forget you’re in a race when there is no one else around and if you’re not focused, your pace might start to slip. Luckily, I was able to catch myself every time my mind started to drift! The course is an out and back and goes through rural Comox/Courtenay area. The first half of the race is mostly uphill and slow, which makes the second half net downhill and faster. At least it should have, I was expecting to negative split the last half by at least 3+ minutes, but only did so by 40 seconds. Having a headwind on a lot of the downhill and easy sections on the last half of the race made for some slower times from everybody. I think on a less windy day, this course would be one of the fastest half marathon courses I’ve raced. Having a net downhill last half of any race is just sweet! Even with a little bit of wind, it was a beautiful day. It was about 8 degrees, sunny, and the first time all year I was able to run in shorts and a singlet. The course even went past two bald eagle nests, complete with eagles!
As soon as I was finished I went straight to the car to get a bottle of Hammer Nutrition Recoverite to start the recovery process. The window for proper recovery after exercise is 30 minutes and that time usually flies by after you cross the finish line at a race. If you have friends and family there to watch you and start talking to other athletes after you finish, it’s very easy to miss your opportunity to refuel and recover. I took Recoverite because I was right back to training on Monday and wanted to make sure I was ready. It also helps me not get hangry a couple hours later, which my wife is grateful for! Just remember, how well you preform tomorrow depends on how well you recover today. There is so much that goes into recovery, and nutrition needs to be one of the pillars of any athlete’s recovery process. That’s why I use (and always have) Hammer Nutrition for most of my fueling needs, especially Recoverite when it comes to post workout recovery. If you’d like help with any of your fueling needs, send me a message!
The race awards were a couple of hours later. I was presented with a big bouquet of flowers and a nice engraved plaque. The volunteers at this race really were awesome. Both on the race course and also at the finish line and inside the hall. A big thank you to them as well as all of the race sponsors. Also a big congrats to 2 of my athletes, Colleen and Andrea for both placing 8th in their age groups. You know how to make your coach proud! Next race in the Vancouver Island Race Series is Port Alberni 10k on April 2. See you there.