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Yonge St 10k – PB#8

Race: CRS Yonge Street 10k (formerly Sporting Life).
Date: April 21, 2013
10K PB: 45:40 (2002), 42:34 (2003), 39:23 (2004), 38:16 (2005), 37:15 (2006), 36:26 (2009), 35:48 (2011), 34:38 (2013).

This is the race that started my running career back in 2002, the first and only race I ran that year. I have now taken eight such races down Yonge Street, each and every one offering up a new PB that becomes immediately untouchable at any other race venue. So sweet is this course and so grateful I remain to my ski pals who got me to race it. If you are interested in that story, please check out my 2011 report: Sporting Life 2011.

Not many of my usual fast friends were racing today and I expected easy pickings. I could count on tired legs from last Monday’s tragic Boston, as well as several other races around the GTA thinning out the ranks. So what does a 34:38 get you in the biggest 10k (5,600 finishers) this side of the Rockies? Try fourth for age. At least Nelson Ndereva took third master’s to bump me up to a third age group medal. But that was it – just the medal, not even a cheesy tee shirt. For such a huge long running race, the CRS remains stingy with age prizing.

Many logging onto Sportstats on race day often received “Server Not Available”. Sportstats was hosting 11 races this weekend, including the 45,000 finishing the Vancouver Sun Run. It is understandable, so many wanted to know how I did today. But I wanted to know: What does a 34:38 get a 48 year old male in the Vancouver Sun Run? How about fourth for age. Hmmm. Doesn’t matter what size the pond is, I am still the same bony old fish!

Each of my PB’s down Yonge Street seemed to be untouchable, as does my latest. It may explain what I stopped running the race every year – I was scared. But I now realize I have never PROPERLY trained to race a 10k. I am just getting into Jack Daniels book “Daniel’s Running Formula” and there is much deliberate training to prepare for the 10k distance. In all, a 24 week training plan, more than most people train for a typical marathon. I am now certain, with specific training and focus on the distance, that I can delve into the 33’s. Believe It, Achieve It!

Somehow I have to figure out how to get into bed at a reasonable hour, fall asleep once there, and then stay asleep until it is actually time to get up for the race. If I do, I will gladly share it with the multitudes also wishing to solve this vexing problem. It has been written that a crappy sleep before race day does not rob the result that much. However, when called to hit the gas and take down three men just ahead in the finish chute today, my mind could not override the denial my body was returning.

As far as the sleep issue goes, I did try taking a page out of my pal Johnny Tranter’s recipe book of race prep: Start with an 8:30 pm dinner reservation. Linger over a glass of wine as you wait for your beet salad to arrive. Order another glass for dinner, which you don’t start cutting into until almost 9:30 pm. Linger over another glass of wine and dessert. Join some friends at the bar for a beer or two. Get home and into bed at 1:00 am (the so called reasonable hour). Fall asleep almost immediately (another check on the list). Get up at 4:30 am for a wizz and lie awake until 6:30 am (oops, was that just over 3 hours of sleep?). Get up, down a glass of beet juice to make up for the indiscretion. Go race.

Although I tried hard to run 34:00 flat, the jig was up at 5k with a 17:12 split. I decided to focus on holding pace over the last three k’s where legs are tired and the road is flat, and I can’t complain with a 17:26 for the back five. That is a decent split for this course, and I am quite happy with it.

I save my last paragraph for a stirring speech made by Boston 2012 winner Wesly Korir after the race, who is now an elected official in his home country of Kenya. It went something like this: Each and everyone of us are runners. Terror cannot catch us. We are too fast. We will never stop running, such is our brotherhood and sisterhood. We stand united and ever moving. Nothing evil can catch us so long as we continue to run. Running is God’s gift to us all. Amen.

Here are my Garmin splits. Average HR (corrected) of 160 bpm. Target HR for 10k is 161 bpm for my age.

YS10k Garmin


Born and raised in Hamilton & Stoney Creek. Ran X-Country in high school, but not really special at it - a middle of the pack finisher. But then again, really didn't know how to train. Didn't run after Gr 12 due to nasty shin splints. Really never ran in proper shoes back then. Didn't try to run again until age 30. Then tried. And tried. And tried. Shin splints every time. Finally got it going for good at 38 in proper shoes and I have vowed never, ever, to stop running again.

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