Yesterday it was time to lace up my shoes and run my first race post-Ironman Canada. It was time for one of my favourite races of all time – the Melissa’s 10K Road Race in Banff!
I’m trying hard to get my running groove back. I see flashes of it every once in awhile but I’m still a long ways off from when I was setting a personal best at most races back in 2009 and early 2010. I’m hoping that training for the Goofy Challenge will help me with that a bit.
For some reason I was nervous about running this 10K. Sure, I know I can plod through the distance. Ideally I was hoping to minimize my walk breaks and execute a strong race. I tried to put on a brave face and smile for a picture with my husband.
With 15 minutes before go time I sucked back a Gu, downed it with some water, then checked my bag and made my way to the start line. I had hoped to start the race with Kelly and we hadn’t connected yet so I was a bit nervous. As I scanned the crowd I heard my name called. Kelly had found me! We briefly talked race strategy and then it was time to go!
Melissa’s 10K Road Race
As we crossed over the start line Kelly reminded us to keep our pace in check and not get too caught up with the crowd. I was trying to dial it back but I kept losing Kelly and my husband. Finally my watch beeped for the first walk break. I found Kelly and said I was thinking I would keep running. As we made our way down Banff Avenue I was keeping the pace at something that felt easy but Kelly was behind me and I couldn’t spot her anymore. Oh well, I needed to run this race for myself and I decided to keep doing what felt right.
We turned off Banff Avenue and hit the first mile marker. Had it already been a mile? The big climb up Tunnel Mountain was just ahead and I didn’t want to walk while it was still flat so I kept going. As we started our climb up towards Tunnel Mountain I realized that I was feeling really strong! All that hiking must be paying off. As long as I was feeling this way I didn’t want to lose the momentum by taking a walk break so I just kept running. Going up the mountain was crazy! We only had one lane for all the runners, but a lot of folks decided to run on the wrong side of the pylons, straight in to oncoming traffic. It was crowded and people would stop and walk no matter where they were, rather than moving off to the side. There was a wee bit of zig zagging to do but I just kept running. At the first water stop I pulled over to grab a cup and almost instantly after drinking it I started to get a stomach cramp. OK, no more water if I could help it. It was only a 10K so I could make it.
You wind up climbing for most of the first 5K, then you drop quickly and finish along a fairly flat route. I hit the halfway mark in about 35 minutes with the 70 minute pace bunny well in sight. On the downhills I just wanted to let gravity help me as much as possible so I flew by the 70 minute pace bunny and never saw him again. By the time I hit the flat part of the course I just wanted to try and hold on as best as I could. My legs were getting really tired and ready to stop running right at the 9 km marker. Just try to keep running… Finally when I was headed toward the finishing chute I found another gear and sprinted my behind off to the line.
Ultimately I wound up taking 3 short walk breaks. Not too bad considering I relied on 4:1 intervals throughout Ironman training. I was really happy with how I executed my race. I ran strong, tried not to think too much about what I was doing and just tried to hold on. Plus, it was a beautiful day to run in Banff too!
All said and done in 1:05:08. That is a solid 3 minutes and change off my last 10K back in May (back when I wasn’t running very much at all) and four weeks post Ironman to boot. Next weekend I have a couple more races in my future and I can’t wait!