With a second place finish at the Around the Bay 30K in Hamilton, Krista DuChene reflects on her performance and her Olympic team potential.
I’ll get right to the point.
What most people are wondering: Did I prove my fitness in order to be named to the Olympic team?
No, I did not.
Despite my 1:47:47 time in very frigid and windy conditions, I did not run the required 1:46:30 to “prove” I am fit.
I ran a solid race, narrowly missing the win (to a Kenyan) by 10 seconds. It was likely one of my best Around the Bay performances and the third time I ran a 1:47. Consistency is key.
It was tough, like any race should be. I’ve always said this 30K raceis pretty close to running a marathon because it is so difficult. It was my eighth Bay Race and I’ve completed 11 marathons so I feel credible in making this statement. There doesn’t seem to be any point in the 30 km where you just settle into a rhythm.
The course has changed in the past few years and my description is likely not completely accurate with km markings but it’s close enough: The first 5 km can be fast so you must control yourself. Then you have about 5 km to get up and down the overpasses. After that it was straight into the headwind for 7 or 8 km. Then about 5 km of rolling hills, which is where I lost more time than I thought. It seemed harder this year than others because I didn’t have the hilly training I used to get when I pushed my kids in the running stroller! The final 7 km are flat, in which I pushed for a solid finish. The leader and I ran much of the race near each other but in the final third, her lead was just enough ahead of me that I didn’t catch her.
The race reminded me of the 2013 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon where Lanni Marchant kept enough of a lead to earn the fastest Canadian Marathon title. Another second place finish for me, which makes three in the last three races this year. I’m itching to break the tape again.
So how do I feel? Well, I’m not ashamed to have been beaten by Kenyan, Risper Gesabwa. I had no idea who she was or what she was capable of running. Now that I’ve done some research, this young 27 year old has very similar personal best times to me. She was solid and steady. I will never be a sore loser and disrespect my competition. She deserved the win.
Physically, I’ve been feeling stronger and faster every week. I can really tell that the 1.5 hr weekday pool running routine and steady mileage and solid workouts are paying off. I’m getting leaner and more fit, which is excellent at the beginning of spring.
So back to the required proof of fitness. What does it mean now? The Olympic team will not be announced until July so technically I have until close to that time to prove my fitness in a half marathon. The difficulty is that there are not a lot of decent certified half marathons at this time of year, anywhere in the world. I am willing to travel and chase this proof of fitness thing if that’s what it takes but the problem is that it sets the athlete up to burn out prior to Rio, or to peak too soon. Kinda defeats the purpose, doesn’t it?
But you know me, the glass is half full. As I crossed the finish line, the first person I saw was Coach Rick. Then I was pleasantly surprised to see my family. My kids asked, “Mom, did you do it? Are we still going to Rio?”. I told them that I did not run the required time, but said that Coach Rick would come up with a plan.
On the way home I had the boys with me and it was a great opportunity to explain that I am completely trusting God’s plan, as it’s always better than our own. I believe I will be in that race, running my legs and heart out, on August 14. And they will be there, cheering for their mom! Besides, as one of my kids pointed out, our family already got all those required travel needles!
Mentally, I started moving after finishing. I was prepared to train through April if I had to so that is what will happen. Currently we are looking into running a race in late April or early May. Funny thing is that I know I could “prove it” on the treadmill but that won’t count.
I’m recovering nicely since Sunday, not looking back but only forward. Before the race I kept thinking, “We’ve got this”. So now it’s, “We’ve still got this!”. I’ve had incredible support and am grateful for every message and well wish received. I’ve been reading the Rick and Dick Hoyt book, “One Letter at a Time” and believe “Yes, we can; prove it!