I didn't have a great long run today, I slept in an awkward position and it was roasting hot (in Calgary!). An afternoon nap has sure helped as I now strategise here out loud.
Weather: one week out the forecast is saying 16-22 degrees and partly cloudy. A touch on the warm side for me - I sweat buckets. It says too that the wind will be a sout-westerly of 10kmh so will amount to a following wind for most of the race.
I've decided to set my watch - newly calibrated at the Foothills track above on friday - between 4:06 and 4:11. 4:11/km would mean a time of 1:28:16 (40 seconds quicker than PB), and 4:06/km is 1:26:30. A friend of mine, Superfast ScottTM, has a PB of 1:26:40 which I'll aim to beat as long as I'm feeling good during the race. After calibrating my watch I did 2x 10 minutes at 3:50-4:00/km (same as 5k race pace) and felt pretty good despite the heat.
The first 5k of the course is a little uphill towards the iron bridge over the St. Lawrence and I will be most accepting of this "pace low" warning here than elsewhere. Knowing me the first km of the race (which is flat) will be under 4:00 anyway. From the bridge onwards, I want to be in the upper end of that range, but will listen carefully for the "pace high" warning up to km 11. After that, as long as dehydration is not affecting me, I aim to hover around the pace high warning. In the final 5km, I will ignore the watch altogether and finish as fast as I safely can. This differs from Calgary in May where I slowed down every time the pace high warning came on (with the exception of the last k), despite feeling excellent for the entire race.
So a more abstract aim of this race is to analyse my physical state during the race in addition to having a plan before starting - because unlike the Stampede 5k in July for example, I am unsure of exactly how quickly I can go. Above all, it should be another PB and I'm going to make sure I enjoy the red carpet finish at this highly regarded race. Maybe I'll have my first "poutine" afterwards :)