September 26, 2010

Turning Up the Speed!

Yesterday I raced in Melissa's 10km road race in Banff, my first 10km race in four full years! I have squeezed in a few 8km and 5km races in the past few years but to be fair my racing resume definitely has more ultras than anything else on it. I'd initially signed up for the 22km version of the race but will my other races lined up decided to step down to the 10km and in a sense was excited to do so as I knew it would be the more competitive of the 2 distances. I was mainly excited just to be racing in Banff, being in a National Park there are few organised races and lots of restrictions but Melissa's has been running for over 30years and attracts over 4, 000 runners - most of whom are from Calgary.

We have had a pretty bad weather summer and 4 days before the race we got our first dump of snow in town and temperatures were hovering just above zero, but come race morning it was a balmy 12 degrees and sunny and everyone was smiling knowing how lucky we were.

The race started at a leisurely 10.30am so I jogged the 10mins to the start line from my house with a friend, did bag check and a warm up. Even doing a warm up is not usual for me, but with such a short race I knew it was essential. A last minute visit to the bushes proved fateful - as I scrambled back out I hit a marshy section and got both feet soaked - nothing like wrining your socks out 5 mins before a race start :) It was also now kind of irreleavnt that I had my light weight road shoes on - any shoes are like bricks when wet!

The start was a little scrambled as someone muttered 'go' andthen about 2 seconds later someone let off a horn and in a slightly confused dash we were off. I started 3 or 4 rows back as I knew there would be some fast runners and didn't want to bolt out too fast. I tried to see how many women were ahead of me and had my position soon confirmed by a cheerer who shouted out I was 3rd woman. It was fun to run down the main street, Banff Avenue, before we peeled off to start a significant climb (check out the profile on my garming link below). This is where I knew I would have the advantage and without feeling like I was pushing too hard I passed a few runners and moved into 2nd place woman. At the turn around at the top of the hill Lisa Harvey could see that I was not too far behind and I chased her on the long downhill stretch. By the base of the hill I was just seconds behind Lisa but I knew she would have the advantage, the experience and the speed on the flats. As she pulled further ahead at about the 6km mark I didn't chase, I knew that with 4kms still to go I had to run steady. It was great however that I always managed to kep Lisa in sight as that pulled me along the gradual ups and downs and she was my focus rather than pace or anything else. At 2kms to go I saw my friend Leslie, who had just come home from a crazy mountain ultra in Italy, she yelled out 'You're Banff''s only hope Ellie' which made me chuckle and the thought of only 2kms to go rather than Leslies' multiday mountain epic made me push a little harder. Here we had a gradual uphill that seemed to go on and on and I just longed for the turn around. Lisa made the turn, I followed a good bit behind and crossed the finish line 19 secs back of her in 37:37. PB!! I had hoped for a PB, even though Melissa's is not a fast course and I have not been speed training, I have improved a lot as a runner since by previous PB at Vancouver Sun Run in 2005. Now of course I am tempted to try more faster road runs to see what I can do... Afterall, I did a one day taper for Melissa's and in the 7 days prior to that ran 128miles in training - likely one of my highest mileage training weeks yet!

One week until Run for the Toad 50km in Ontario....

Six weeks until World 100km Road Running Championships in Gibraltar....

Best go run!


  1. sweET stuff this Year... Great work at the Edmonton marathon... i'll be cheering for you at the TOad... it's really exciting to follow you as a runner :) You're a real inSPiration.

  2. Thanks for the message guys. Super excited for the Toad - such a great event and my kind of course :) Happy trails!

  3. Congratulations on another great finish!

  4. Great finish! Congratulations! good luck on your future marathons. More power! ~ vibram ~