May 2, 2010
What else can I say but this had been a really successful season so far, so why would this race be any different? It’s been a really busy spring for me as prior to this race I had already raced 2 half-marathons (Grimsby in 1:22:30 and Chilly in 1:20:48) and the Around the Bay 30k in 1:55:42.
Sporting Life would be my one opportunity this spring to race a shorter and much faster paced race. This would also be another sure PB race as the only other 10k I’ve run was the Oasis Zoo 10k back in 2006 when I was at least 30lbs heavier. So the mark to better was 42:40.
The weather for the day was near perfect as it was cloudy and overcast, warm though pretty humid. Not a big deal as it is afterall a 10km and not a full marathon. The course is essentially a downhill drop for about the first 7k with a couple of uphill risers at 2k and 4k. Then it levels off to the finish.
As I was finishing my last hard phase of training for my marathon on May 16th, I was finishing a pretty heavy week that saw a speed session on Tuesday and a 35k run on Thursday with 27k – 32k done at a 3:50 pace and an overall time of 2:32. Total mileage for the week was around 100k including this particular Sunday.
It would have been really nice if I could have just run the 10k and went home. My coach wanted me to do a 5k warm up, run the race, and finish with a 4k cool down. Needless to say, based on the training week, I wouldn’t be racing on the feshest of legs. I guess that’s what makes marathon training so much fun; learning to run hard on fatigued legs.
So after my 5k and prerace warm up I made my way into the starting chute of the first wave. My coach had given me some pace guidelines but based on the shorter distance gave me latitude to go based on how I felt. More importantly he was going to let me really give it if I wanted to. This made me extremely happy!
The gun went and we were off. And off to a FAST start. Even though my legs were fatigued, the pace actually felt really nice. I tucked into a decent pack to ensure we took turns working to conserve some energy. Just before the 2k point I noticed fellow Running Free team mate Scott McDonell about 200m ahead of me. Since the pack I was in seemed a touch slower than I really wanted, I decided to speed up and join the group of about 6 or 7 runners that Scott was with. I tucked into the pack directly off Scott’s right shoulder but never announced my presence to him.
As we made our way (or “flew down” is the more appropriate term) Yonge Street and made our way to just before 7k, I decided to quickly grab some water from the water stop to pour over the back of my neck. It was pretty humid afterall. Now, I’m sure this next part must have been really entertaining for the crowds on the other side of Yonge Street that lined the course. I had never tried to grab a paper cup from someone’s had while running a 3:20/km pace and apparently I required some practice on this day too. I knocked 3 cups off of 3 hands before finally grabbing the fourth by essentially dropping my hand down onto the cup and squishing it with my fingers. Mission accomplished…and no charge for the comic relief.
By the 7k point our group of 6 or 7 had dwindled to just Scott and me. This is when he looked over his shoulder and saw me. “Hey Scott”, was my quick salute to him. We made our way through the next couple of km’s where I gave a slight push at just over 9k only to realize soon after that I was actually getting pretty tired. I decided to wait for the final 1-200 metres to pick it up. However, Scott seemed to have other plans (or so I thought) as he made a surge and looking at my Garmin at what appeared to be 9.4k. I knew I didn’t have enough to push that hard for 600m so I told Scott to go get it. We made a left turn and then an immediate right, where I saw the finish. Scott has run this race a few times and knew that the finish was on 200m away. By the time I realized this I had let him open a pretty sizeable gap on me. Well, I turned on the turbo boosters and went into full sprint and I was gaining on him quickly! Just don’t look back! DON’T LOOK BACK! Well, he looked over his right shoulder but thankfully I was over his left and closer really hard now. Oh no, he looked over his left shoulder…AND SAW ME!! Well, now he went into full flight…and beat me by 1 second at the line and 3rd age group.
Funny thing though, I officially beat him???? Yeah, remember the wave start. Well, when you have well almost 12000 runners the only fair way to report times is by chip time (the time it took to cross the start and finish lines). So since I started 4 seconds back they have me 3 seconds ahead.
But don’t worry Scott, I know that you won. Besides with photos like these it would be hard to convince anyone of anything else:
– check photo# 64417-575-032 (shoulder check) and # 64417-411-004 (the finish line).
Scott ran a 34:58, 38th overall and 3rd age group. Well done.
I ran a 34:59 (34:55 chip time), 37th overall and 4th age group (prizing is always based on clock time). Now for me the first 5k also was a 5k PB as my old best was a 17:54 at the Scotiabank 5k in 2008. Well I went through the first 5k at this race in 17:08!! Hey, I’ll take it.
All in all a really fun day. Definitely give this race a go.
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