Ok, so it wasn't on my racing calender but I do like to compare races from year to year. Until my body says otherwise, I still expect to run faster than the previous year. I ran the Bow Lake Dam 15k last year with Chris Dunn (beating him of course...), and enjoyed the race (especially the beating Chris part).
I had two goals this year: run faster than last year AND run under 1hr.
It's a scenic but challenging course around Bow Lake. The early miles (1-5) are mostly gentle rollers with a couple of short hills mixed in to slow you down a bit. Miles 5-7 are VERY challenging, with a Mt Washington-like climb for 1+ miles. Finally, the last 3 miles are mostly downhill with a long, flat finish to the Bow Lake Dam.
The weather this year would be different, with temps in the low 60's and overcast skies (which would turn to a light rain eventually). For a 2nd year race, it's fairly organized and seems to have lots of volunteers. Registration was quick and easy, the race started on time and results/awards were posted quickly. And like last year, they had good food and music after the race.
I only recognized a few folks at the start, Ernst Linder (who ran last year) and Sarah Prescott (who I knew but never met). Sarah mentioned she had read my blog the previous day, looking for info on the race. I asked if she read my race report from last year and she said she couldn't find it. Odd, I thought at the time. When I got home I checked myself. Apparently I didn't do a race report for this one. I have no idea why since I tend to write about all of them. Explains why she couldn't find it :-)
The eventual winner (Derrick Hamel) I recognized but wasn't sure from what. I assumed it was probably at a race. More on that later. My plan was simple: try to go out easy, work the hills hard in the middle and finish fast. As the "gun" went off, a few young kids jumped out near the front with Derrick and I immediately found myself in 4th in about 10ft. It's hard to run easy when you're near the front! Derrick had stopped to tie his shoe within the first 1/4 mile but was soon back in the front by the 1/2 mark. By the time we hit the first mile I was already in 2nd, right behind Derrick. I think he was testing the field to see if anyone was going to challenge him. Shortly after the 2nd mile he picked up the pace and was gone. For the remainder of the race I'd run alone in second (although Ernst would shadow me early on before dropping back a bit by mile 4). The first 4-5 miles went by quickly and surprisingly easy as I waited for the hills.
Afterwards I was talking with Derrick about where I might have seen him. He rattled off a couple of races but they weren't ones that I had been too. Oh well. It wasn't until I was driving home that it finally clicked. Derrick had joined acidotic RACING last year at the Pinnacle Challenge. We both ran the 5 mile road leg. Derrick had the fastest split of the day (26:20) vs my 28:20. Yep, still 2 minutes ahead of me!
Below is the comparison of my splits from last year and this year. I was pysched to see the improvement in the second half.
Complete results can be found here.