Well it’s officially racing season. My first race for this year was yesterday in St Albert, AB at the St Albert 10 Miler put on by STARRT (St Albert Road Runners and Triathlon Club). This would be only the second time I had competed at this event though I have volunteered multiple times. My thought process going into the race was to treat the race as a very hard training run to test the fitness. I’ve found in the past that throwing a couple road races in early in the year really translates well into running well in my triathlons.
We drove down to St Albert on Friday night as Claudia and I both had plans for Saturday. I was to spend the day at Element working with Cam and Claudia had to drop into work. We are fortunate to have great friends, Ian and Joanne, in St Albert who graciously open their home to us. It just so happens that Ian Laxdal was the race director for the 10 Miler this year and Joanne is the STARRT President.
Sunday morning we were up early, though that is nothing abnormal with three young kids. We had breakfast and then headed out the door to assist with setup at the St Albert Curling Club. It was great catching up with some old friends as well as hanging out with the great crew from Cold Lake, aka the Cold Lake Rum Runners.
|Cold Lake Rum Runners (Back LtoR Matt, Emily, Vicki, Cat, Jordan, Michele / Front LtoR James, Ruth, Klara & me)|
Absent: Claudia, Jeff
The conditions were a little colder than ideal but with a pair of tights, light gloves, and a long sleeve t-shirt I was content. I did a quick 10-15min warm-up and then headed to the Start line. The 10 Miler always draws a relatively strong crowd so I seeded myself a couple rows back. I had a game plan to hold back for the first half of the race and then really start pushing on the back half…the hilly portion. The gun went off precisely at 0930hrs and we were off. As is so typical in this race everyone went out pretty fast. I was content to let the lead pack go knowing that most would not be able to hold that pace. Matt Setlack, a very good runner and friend from Cold Lake clearly had similar plans to me and appeared content to sit back from the main group. I figured I would pace off Matt and try and keep the lead group in view.
At the 1 mile mark I saw Ian, Claudia, and the kids. I was feeling really good and very much in control. The main group stayed together for another kilometer or so and then guys starting falling off the pace. Matt continued to look strong and I was content to sit back about 20-30m and pace off him. As we headed back into down-town St Albert, the lead group had splintered into about 4 or 5 groups of 2. As we headed out to conquer the hills on Sir Winston Churchill, I started making up significant ground. I was able to catch up to Matt and then proceeded to pass a couple more athletes on the Levasseur Hill. As we turned onto Grandin there was only a few athletes in front of me (or at least that I could see). I was once again thankful to see Claudia and the kids at the 9 mile marker. I was optimistic at this point that breaking 56minutes would be a possibility but unfortunately due to the Northerly wind I was unable to make up any additional ground. I had moved up about 10 places throughout the race but unfortunately could not quite close the gap to 3rd place.
I was very happy with my race, a 56:16 which was good enough for 5th Overall and 1st in M30-39. I felt great throughout and clearly my winter training is paying off. As good as a race I had, I was excited to see Emily Setlack (Matt’s Wife) win the women’s race in under an hour.
A special word of thanks to STARRT and all the volunteers who made this race possible.
Photo Credit: Matt & Emily Setlack