I like to use this race as an end of year fitness test: starting LT for the next training cycle, injury check, also to check my recovery from year around marathon training. In the past two years, I have run marathons either at the end of Nov. (Seattle Marathon 2015) or (CIM 2016) so the timing almost identical and the phase of training also very similar, so it adds the value for comparison.

It has been for about one week, I felt tight and pain on my left foot especially in the morning, it may have been caused by the speed workout last weekend. I run 400x20+5X200 repeats on sub 0C with track spikes, and on Wednesday another cold temp speed workout made it a little worse. I think too much stress and reduced tendon plasticity of the feet with the cold weather make it even tougher for recovery. To be honest, I am worried about the PF coming back (which has been bother me for 6+ month last year), so a little unknown before the race.

Saturday morning, I did a relatively easy run with some effort (fast mile being 6:36 just to feel if I could race on Sunday). It does not bother me during or after the 7mile run plus 5 mile fun run with group of SRC ladies Saturday evening, which give me the okay to race today.

After a light breakfast, I was ready to jog to the start. On the scene I saw last year winner who off kicked me by couple seconds, the arrival team fast 5k runner K also there, and another fast lady that I have battled before. It will be a tough race but I kind of excited to check out where I stand right now so for some reason it took the anxiety  off rather bring the excitement.

After the start no surprise, a group of 5 ladies’ battel in the front, I was not in a rush and control the pace at 6:00/mile (3rd at the time), but in close proximity with the ladies, I can hear their breath and felt mine was definitely more relax. After a stretch of flat section, we got to the first hill and I passed last year winner and K, there is still one young girl in the front, while not for long I passed her and perhaps her pacer/teammate. I continue to pull farther away (in my eye without looking back) on the steepest hill. I know that’s my strength so I don’t mind put additional effort and hammer this hill in the meantime give some mental pressure to the ladies. After the hill is another ~3 mile flat section, not surprise K and her teammate “X” caught me, “X” seem to want to pace her and help each other out which works for me as well, for ~ 0.5mile we were really neck to neck, but I can hear K breathe a little heavier and struggle with the pace. While, it seems like the time to tough it out so I pulled ahead, “ X” responded and stayed with me, we were on each other shoulders for another mile or so…He is a very nice guy. I remember he said to me willing to help push/keep the pace. I felt a little fatigue by the last quarter mile flat section and he pulled a little farther ahead. Good thing Seattle area never lack of hills, after the flat trail section back to the rolling hill and I caught up with him while passed him on the long downhill stretch home to bring the win. Although I did not realize I was the first until the end of the race but either way it is a good end of the season over 1 min PR on the same course (47:45 2015 and 46:25 2016).