The triathlon training blog of Phil Barnes

Army Run 2012

To PB or not to PB, that was the question. 2012 would be our 3rd time Army running as a family. I would run with Andrew this year and Guylaine would run with Laura.

So, what’s our time going to be? Are we going to PB?  That would mean a sub-23 minute effort for Andrew. As of the night before (and this is fresh off the heels of his first place finish in the club’s 1-10-2 duathlon), the PB effort was off.  But, “morning of”, it was on. 22:30 was the goal!

Learning from our mistake last year (lining up too far back from the middle), we positioned ourselves appropriately: the first corral, pretty close to the front. As we were nervously shivering in the cold, awaiting the countdown – Andrew nudged me… as luck would have it, a 22:30 pace bunny had arrived – right next to us.

Let’s do this!

A moving rendition of “O Canada”, a few words of encouragement from Defence Minister, Peter MacKay and then without warning, KABOOM! The howitzer was fired – seemingly catching everyone off guard. Shortly after the initial surprise, Me, Andrew, and the 8000+ other 5K runners were off.

Instantly the Bunny took off, as if someone had lit a match under his tail. We chugged up the hill and negotiated through some of the slower (ahem, mis-placed) runners in our effort to catch-up. We finally did around 400 meters. “I can keep this pace” assured my little buddy. “O-kay, we’ll keep it up” I replied.

We hit 1K at 5:02.52 (oh no, the pace is all wrong – we’re already 30 seconds in the hole); and then the bunny dropped a gear and took off again, down the hill and around the curve onto Colonel By. We chased, and kept our carrot within grasp. “I’m still good” assured Andrew.  2K @ 4:12.03 (uh oh, a big pace correction, I hope he can hold on).

Half-way done, 2.5K, we blow by the water station.

Rounding the Pretoria Bridge, Andrew is running with determination, but we’re losing ground on the bunny. 4:27.27 @ 3K. Not bad, perfect pace, just a few seconds “over-budget”. But I could sense the anchor dragging … “Come on, we can do it!” … 4K @ 4:27.34 (holding on… gaining back more time). 

4.0 to 4.5K was a tough section for the little guy. I kept a few feet in front to bait him on.

Me: “Okay, we’re almost there, don’t give up. We’ve definitely got this!”.

Andrew: "Dad, I can't."

Random runner beside us: “Keep going! You’re doing great”.

And finally, I could see the finish line. “Do you have a sprint left?”

“No” was the response. But, with about 60m to go, he must have opened up his own little suitcase of courage, because he was off – and there was no catching him.

Official chip time for Andrew - 22:33.4 – A PB by over 30 seconds. He was very happy.

It was PBs all around for the Barnes family. Laura found a whole new level of awesomeness and despite starting pretty far back, sliced off over 90 seconds, bringing her PB down to 30:01.

And as if that wasn’t enough. My mom and dad completed the Half-Marathon. Mom finishing her first 21.1K and dad with his second in 3 weeks, to the tune of a PB.

Andrew out sprints the old Man at the finish. #proudDad