We were hit with a bit of a surprise 15mins before the race. I went up to the race director and asked where our personal aid station was going to be (it is in the IAAF rule book that in a 20km race, you are allowed to have your own personal drinks). The race director said that we werent allowed to have personal aid. I laughed, and they didnt. They were serious. I was not impressed. They should have warned us well in advance that we werent allowed to have it because its crucial to our race. Its like telling a sprinter that they are not allowed to wear spikes. I was extremely upset but I dealt with it. Their reasoning behind not letting us use our own drinks was because they said that it would stain the track. The track is terrible quality. Anyways, all of the athletes were sneaky and used a sports drink that was clear so that it looked like water so that we could have electrolytes in this summer weather.
I was feeling really good in the warm up and was ready to go. The gun went off and I was feeling so good and it felt so easy, I couldnt believe how easy. I was just going along with Tim feeling like it was a workout. Had a first easy km in 4:52 and then went right into race pace of 4:48. Went through 5km's in 24:08 then the 2nd 5km's in 24:02 for a 10km split of 48:10. At this point I still felt as though I could do that same split for the second half of the race or at the worst a bit slower. My ultimate goal was for 1:36:41 (carding standard). Then at around 12km's my legs started hurting and I struggled from there on. I was still feeling like I was pushing but my legs were just not moving very fast. I ended up having some 5:15km's in there and it was just ugly. I ended up struggling to a 1:38:48 for my final time. I have to say, I attribute the pain in my legs to a few things. The biggest reason: the crappy soft track. I never train on a track let alone a track that soft. I am so used to training on asphalt everyday that I think the softness of the track really hurt my legs. The second thing was that I couldnt use my regular sports drink, Maxim. The drink I had to use usually makes me have cramps by 15km's and thats why I dont use it anymore in training/racing. I think that it didnt have enough salt/electrolytes in it and so my legs were cramping a bit. Even though I didnt get the time I was hoping for, one really good thing came out of the race. I established a new Canadian 20,000m Track Record. Now I can say I have 2 Canadian Records.
Now I am continuing to train as I am trying to make some racing plans for the next month and a half. There really isnt many options left unfortunately. I was hoping to go to Europe for a race in Finland but that race is now only 10km's for women. I have a few options on the table and I feel pretty good about them. One is to do another track 20km's in San Diego (yuck, another track race) and/or to go to New Jersey for the USA 40km RW Championships which is on the road :) Since I have only done 1 road 20km this year, I would much rather go to the race in New Jersey. Ill keep you posted!
Keep on walking,