Today was my first road race of 2014…the St. Patrick’s Day 10K.
Last year the weather was not in our favour…it was cold and it dumped snow on us. Luckily this year the sun was shining and our temperature was above freezing. I was feeling pretty nervous about this race! Last year I had a hard time meeting my time goals in my races and I really wanted to come in under an hour here today. Sure, I’ve gone sub-60 on a 10K many times before but that was way back in 2010. Am I capable of it right now?
I got to the race start at Central Memorial High School an hour before start time. That gave me an opportunity to hit the bathrooms a few times, relax and listen to music and to find friends to say hello to.
I wore my Go Joggings, a long sleeve lux and my green flyte tank. It was also my first opportunity to wear my festive ProCompression socks from last year! I had ordered them for last year’s race but Canada Customs took a long time to process them and they arrived the day after the race. :(
With half an hour to go before the race I headed out for a warm up run. I wanted to make sure my legs were ready for the race! I had planned on doing some pick ups but I was running with a teammate of mine and I think the entire run felt like pick ups. We got back to the start line with 10 minutes to go and I tried to keep my legs moving by doing some high knees and leg swings. Then it was go time!
The start of the run is up a hill. My legs were ready to go and that hill didn’t feel like much of a problem at all. Thank you to Neil Zeller for capturing this awesome photo of the nice uphill we had to start the race!
In my first mile I tried to just run comfortably and not stare at my Garmin screen. Hmm, it sure felt like there was a lot of uphill. The roads were nice and clear from ice though.
Mile 2: 9:22
Definitely more uphill in the second mile. I was still trying to not stare at my Garmin so I was just running at a pace that felt relatively comfortable.
Mile 3: 9:40
Oh my gosh…it felt like there was quite a bit of uphill here and there were some big patches of ice stretching across the entire width of the pathway. I had to slow down a bit and run on the side of the pathway in the mud and grass. I looked at my watch as I crossed the 5K mark and it said 29:30…but I didn’t look to see if I was measuring bang on for distance or not.
Mile 4: 10:21
I was hoping to get back to a 9:2x/mile or so but as we ran along the relatively flat pathway along the Glenmore Trail the pathway conditions were terrible. There were all kinds of icy patches along the entire width of the pathway. I had to run in the grass but more often I had to slow down and gingerly make my way over the ice.
Mile 5: 9:22
As I checked my pace out of mile 4 I realized that I had lost my buffer zone on coming in under one hour. There was no time to spare…no time to slow down, no time to walk. We ran a loop through a neighbourhood before making our way back to the finish line. I just tried to put my head down and run and luckily my pace dropped a bit so I knew I was moving in the right direction. As I finished my loop I spotted Tina and my friend Kelly about to start their loop through the neighbourhood. Seeing them and giving them a (very tired) wave gave me a big mental boost.
Mile 6: 9:25
Alright…final mile (plus). There was no opportunity to give up if I was going to make my goal time of coming in under an hour. I didn’t pay attention to anyone around me (although I did give a big thumbs up to a girl running the 5K). Just keep moving at my own pace and don’t fall in to step with the person beside me. I spotted Karen and she was the best cheerleader/volunteer out on the course (although everyone was amazing)!
The push to the finish...
I turned the corner for the final push to the finish…which was so far away! We had a stretch of downhill but then the final few hundred metres to the finish was uphill. My legs were so tired and I really wanted to stop and walk but I knew I was so tight for time. I kept telling myself that I wanted this badly and didn’t want to quit and miss my goal in the final few seconds. Somehow I found it in myself to kick it for the finish even though I thought my legs might fall off.
I crossed the finish line, stopped my watch and looked...
So close, but I made it!!
I walked to the car, grabbed my hoodie and made my way inside the school to find the post race food. They were serving up beef stew or veggie chill, Lucky Charms cereal and an assortment of scones. I went for the cinnamon chip scone which was amazing!
I stuck around to see if I’d win my weight in beer (which I didn’t) and to catch up with my Team Tri Life friends. It was soon time to make my way home where I promptly passed out on the couch for a nap.
So yay, I nailed my goal (albeit with just a few seconds to spare)! It was a tough course but I’m glad I was able to dig deep within myself and make it happen. I’m still a few minutes off my personal best but I feel like coming in sub-60 was a huge step in the right direction…back to the paces I used to be able to run at. Today was a huge confidence booster.
Thank you to everyone for all the cheers on Instagram and twitter. Here is to the next race in a few weeks!