It's been a busy week and I've missed a few runs. Spent yesterday helping my girlfriend's family with a Trinidadian cookout which involved standing in front of a deep fryer making doubles and bakes. We stuffed ourselves yesterday, so as I lay in bed this morning, I had this feeling of supreme laziness. I actually considering not running this race.
Crazy? A little, but I think it was all the oxtail and mango curry I'd consumed the day before. R., who's getting ready for her sister's wedding later this afternoon, was up early and I finally got to my senses. I PAID to race this 10 miler. And anyways, it's the perfect way to burn off calories and get prepared for tonight's wedding bash (the limo's arriving to pick me up in a few hours).
The race: I've done this twice (2007 race report and 2008 race report). Full out racing, my 10 miler PB is 1:09:29 that I did last year. Two years ago, I hit a 1:15:48 as I was using it as a pace run.
Today's goal was a little conservative: I'm better from my cold/flu a few weeks back but I still have a little congestion. I decided to treat the race like a combo training run. I'd do the first 10K or so in 4:30 kilometres and pretend it was a 6 mile MP run, then I'd ramp up the ending to include an almost 4 mile LT run, anywhere from 4:15 to 4:25 kilometres.
As it turns out, the plan was executed pretty much perfectly. Doing MP runs as part of races is so easy compared with doing it by yourself. You have a group of people helping to pace you through it. Since I've done the race twice, and that it's on one of my common long-run training routes, I didn't have too much to worry about the course. I just focused on hitting my stride and letting my fitness dictate whether marathon pace was okay.
As the splits show, I was a running machine. Although in retrospect I should take too much credit for keep a near-perfect pace (within 2 seconds of 4:30 on most splits) because there were a few runners keeping on that same pace, and I kept them in my sights.
One hard thing about pacing properly in races is the 'going out too fast' thing you'll see other runners do. If you're running with a group, don't take it for granted that you're on pace -- they may actually be slowing. Once I get my proper feedback from my Garmin, I start relying on runners up ahead (they may be ahead by more than 20 metres) and my stride turnover than the group I'm with.
here are the splits from 1 - 10
I knew I had a lot left in me because my breathing was totally fine, I kept on thinking during the first 10K that I had at least three more gears left in me (my tempo, 10K and 5K speeds) so I always tried to keep loose and also let my breathing relax me.
The next six kilometres were a lot of fun. After we hit the 10K water stop, I ran faster, making some movement. I'm not sure what it looked like to runners who I'd been with for the last few kilometres, but I definately turned it on and not many followed. I targetted a large group of runners way ahead and made it my goal to go tempo and slowly get them in my sights.
I like the idea of starting off races slower than you plan to finish them. It gives you a confidence boost. When you turn it on late, you're passing runners who may be giving their all.
One thing I'm not fond of is guys who try to draft off of you and all of a sudden race with you. Example is one guy who bounded away from my group in the early kilometres. He had a long stride and bounced, an odd running form (mine isn't exactly clean either, so I should talk). Form aside, by the 13th kilometre, I caught up to him and was running slightly ahead of them when he decides to start running with me. I'm like 'I took 2 kilometres to catch up to you and all of a sudden you're faster?'. He's so competitive that he ramps it up so he runs past me and I let him go only to catch up to him again -- again, i'm not racing him, he's just slowing. I then witness another two runners who have increased their speed go blazing past me. He tries to tail them and they lose him after 30 seconds of chase. In a few minutes, i'm running alongside him and he tries to race. After a few back and forth, I get really frustrated and throw in only 10 seconds worth of a surge to clearly blaze ahead and I lose him for good. Geez.
Anyhow, here's the last six kilometres. The last two are my fastest and the last kilometre is near 10K speed. I had lots left.
All in all, I'm happy with the performance given what I felt this morning. I know I've been pretty slow to recover from my cold and flu but I think what's great is my underlying fitness is, for sure, there. I'm getting into marathon shape, even without the 63 mile weeks I've just missed. My final time is a respectable one. I can do sub 1:10 again. Not this month, maybe next.
Time: 1:12:18 (link)