Monday, 3 February 2014

Race report: Bay 2 Bay 30km - 05 January 2014

Bay 2 Bay is one of those races that I will run every year and enjoy every year. A 30km on the first Saturday of the year is a perfect way to gauge how enjoyable the Christmas break really was and is the first step on the road to 2 Oceans. The race is a simple out and back route on one of the most scenic roads in the world (I am not very vastly traveled but I am sure this is correct). The start is in Camps Bay and you head out to Hout Bay and back. You thus run from a bay to another bay and back again...hence the name Bay 2 Bay.

I approached the race with some trepidation as I knew my training over December had not been as good as I had hoped with the furthest distance covered being a measly 18km (in the week prior to this race). Additionally, I had somehow managed to pick up a cold during a Cape Town heat wave and so was headed to the starting line groggy and a bit feverish. My approach was definitely not to race, take it slow and easy and enjoy the beautiful sights.
First Bay

0 - 5km - starting slow - 25:49

I tend to start races too fastbut forced myself to go as slow as possible at the start. I found someone from Celtics who looked a bit nervous and was constantly glancing at her watch so I figured she had done some intense research and would be the perfect pacemaker. I stick behind Ms Celtic for the first 5km which are flat and was happy to see we did it in just under 26 minutes which is still a pretty decent pace to me. Lesson no.1- just because you think you are running slowly, doesn't necessarily mean you are correct.

5 - 10km - gentle incline - 27:26

Once you get out of Camps Bay, the road inclines very gently towards Llandudno. Many people complain about this "hill" but, to be honest, it doesn't put too much strain on the legs. My time showed that it is in fact an uphill and at this point my sore throat started waking up and I was wandering if I should have skipped this one. What kept me in good spirits however was the havoc that the distance markers were causing. I think they were marked out by the little chap from Game of Thrones because by about 10km they were already showing 12km covered. This was fine for me as my GPS watch could tell me where I was but it was fun to listen to arguments between other runners about whether they were in fact wrong or the runners were on a PB run that would see them equal some records.

10km - 15km - drop down Suikerbossie - 24:57

A sharp decline down the road that cyclists hate coming up means you can let lose for a few minutes before you do a flat route down Hout Bay Main Road. I was feeling good at this point and happy to get to the half way point in under 1h20. I started to wander if I could push the second half and come in under 2h40.

Second Bay

15km - 20km - back up again - 30:09

After heading out from the beach along Princess Road, you start the trek up Suikerbossie again. I knew this hill was exactly 2km so from the robot I switched my watch over to the distance view and just counted down. I wasn't going at a mad pace but managed to do it without walking and still passed a few people on the way up which was great.

20km - 25km - running free - 24:44

A combination of the splendid views, the gentle decline and a well timed energy gel meant I felt solid and managed to clock my fastest 5km of the day in the penultimate section. I knew at this point that the 2h40 was lost on Suikerbossie but I was happy enough just going at a comfortable pace.

25km - 30km - finishing strong - 25:15

Doing the last 5km at just over 5 minutes per km was a feat for me as I remember last year at this point I was cramping and had aching feet and knees. I also noticed that I was passing people at the end which means to me that my race pacing had been spot on. Well, there were some people that were passing me but I figured they were the really fast people from the 15km race which started 10 minutes after I went through Hout Bay...well, that's what I told myself anyway to keep the confidence up. Lesson no. 2 - in order to race properly, don't try and race.
The road between the 2 Bays
(source: google streetview)

Race summary

A good day out. I didn't exert myself too hard and was almost, to the second, on the same as last year, when I had tried to push myself. This race was a great learning experience and I realised I need to run more races to get used to the strategies and pacing. I seem to be getting it right for road races but am still nowhere in trail races (maybe it is because I care less about road running).

Finishing strong
I usually place inside the top 33% of the field. My goal is to consistently place in the top 25%. 

Distance:    30km
Time:          2:42:52 (1h02 behind winner who ran a 30km in what to me is a good 21km time)
Position:      441/1882 (24%...I am happy with that. I needed to be 5 min quicker for top 20%, 9 min quicker for top 15% and 15 min quicker for top 10%)

Male:     371/1247
If I was a Female:   70/365

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