Birch Bay International Road Race

Ever Feel Duped?

Well, I have and even moreso, after this weekend.

Before the sun even rose on Saturday morning, I was out of bed (begrudgingly) and getting “race ready” for the Birch Bay International 15k Road Race. I knew the weather would be unpredictable as the days leading up were littered with multi-seasonal temperaments.

As unpredictable as the weather could be, the border lineups would also be unpredictable so we erred on the side of caution. 7am, we pulled into the parking lot for the race. We were a “tad” early. The race started at 830am.

I made a last minute wardrobe change before starting my warmup .. and bumped into a familiar face – Rene! That’s always a comfort when you see a few club members at a race.

We also saw Henry Chan, who was running the 30k race – obviously as a tune up before he heads to Boston next month. The 30k racers started 5 mins before the 15k racers so we got to see them off (from the comfort of the inside of my car). 🙂

Time to line up for the 15k’ers. I had my reservations about running the 15k, as it was a distance I had never raced before. I can race a 10k and know what pace I should aim for. I can run a half marathon and know what pace I should aim for. I wasn’t sure how conservative to be for the 15k .. Roger did send me an email a day before the race:

First 5K smooth and steady, middle 5K increasing pressure, final 5K all possible reserves

Sounds simple enough, yes? Sure .. if it was a 15k race. Having never run the course before, I really didn’t know the lay of the land. I see markers for the first 4k .. i’m running steady .. 4:39, 4:34, 4:31, 4:33 .. then another km or so, we get into the state park, where I heard there was a little out and back jaunt. mmm .. i’m running .. no out and back .. no markers .. then i see a marker. I’m thinking it must be about 9k by now .. i’m getting closer and it looks like 11k .. and i’m thinking, “wow, that’s great .. it’s going by quick” .. nope. 7k. i hit my watch .. 28:10! What?! 28 mins to run 3k? that’s not possible .. well, it’s POSSIBLE but HOPEFULLY not! And then we’re spit out on the road by the ocean to head back to the finish .. i brush off the last marker thinking that it must be mismarked. I run along and see the 3k marker on the other side of the road .. well, ok, it must be 3k, maybe 3.5k, to the finish .. so that’s about 7.5 or 8 laps around the track .. i fix my form and gear up for a slight pickup, trying to countdown the laps in my head .. i see the 2k marker on the other side of the road .. ok, i’m good .. going steady .. picking up the pace ever so slightly .. must be 1 mile to go .. i knew there was a hill we had to turn up .. so i’m waiting for it .. waiting for it .. ok, there it is .. but it looks like we have to do another turnaround first. Oh, there’s another marker .. 12k!!!!! What?!! 22:46 from 7k to 12k .. time-wise not so bad for 5k .. but 12K?! MUST be mismarked. Cuz i’m TIRED and i already did my pickup. Total time was 1:09:15 – I was hoping to be done by about NOW, give or take a minute or two because of weather/wind. I’m expecting about 1/2 mile to go .. not 3k! I run straight expecting the turnaround any minute, then i see Rene coming back the other way .. oh no. I’m definitely not that close to her .. NOT good. Finally, the turn around point comes right around 13k .. 4:39 .. yup, i’m tired. Then i see 14k .. 4:44 .. oh dear. Just need to hang on but that blister on my left foot has just decided to MOVE .. ugh. (yes, i know it’s gross but imagine it from my end!). Ok, volunteer is coming up and time to turn up the hill .. and then another 50m or so to the finish line .. givin’ er all i got .. last km – 4:59. Clearly, did NOT have much left in me, esp climbing up that last hill. Total time 1:23:38. Avg pace of 7:30/mile. For 18k.

Now, I’ve done my share of races and of all of them, this was one of the worst run ones I’ve been to. I know they’re small but i’ve done small races too. They were even sponsored this year by the Running Room! Some races are short .. some are long .. TOPS under 1km .. but 3K?!

The announcer was awful – it was as though he was making it up as he went. They didn’t apologize for the MASSIVE screwup on distance, nor did they even acknowledge it all that much. They just said that the results would be adjusted.

Rene, stellar runner she is, still came in first woman, 5th overall at 1:14:19. I managed to place in my age group as well.

The extent of the acknowledgement of people who won .. “check your results and pick up your ribbons/plaques under the blue tent”.

Henry Chan also ran a great race – his 31.25km race – 2:10:26, earned him 8th overall and first in his age group.

So, as far as LGRR’s were concerned, I think we did our club proud. But it only goes to show how good other races are. I was duped on the distance … but overall, I can’t be too disappointed in the final time. And the weather as it held on for the race .. can’t say much for the rest of the day though. Snow, wind, hail, sunshine, rain … you name it, we got it. 🙂

Oh .. and did i mention the fellow runner who decided to draft off me for the last … 10k? at least he thanked me when it was all over .. saying that i ran the perfect pace. i guess.

Below are some of the official race pictures – i’m wondering why i look like someone just socked me in the eye?!





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s