My recovery since the California International Marathon less than three weeks ago has been solid -- I took it easy for a week but still logged 44km, then 80km last week. I've been easing back on any hard interval work with the team, perferring to do closer to around marathon pace than 5K or one-hour race pace. A week ago, I did a 8km workout session and after 6K at 4:25 to 4:20 pace, I did a few faster splits (4:06, 3:30) that meant my recovery was going well. The past week, I've taken spin classes (more on that in a another post) that kept my V02 and intensity level high. I hit a rare year-end where I'm at a good fitness level as another training season begins.
A few friends were doing the Boxing Day 10 Miler in Hamilton -- I haven't done it before and though I had raced six 10 milers over the years, the last quality one I'd done was way back in 2008, a 1:09:29 effort or a 4:19 km average. Since I had just raced a marathon at around 4:20km pace, I knew the PB was soft, so today was a day to take down that soft PB.
|The team! Photo by Wing|
Coach's race plan was a more moderate one, calling for 4:15s for 3K, then 4:10s for the next 9K, then close as fast as I could. If I could do that, I could probably close with a 1:07 or 1:06.
Weather, well, it was perfect -- sunny, light to moderate winds and around 6C at the noon start. It really did feel a little warmer. I wore a T-shirt, singlet, arm warmers and tights.
I raced with teammate Andrew -- we agreed to stick to coach's plan.
Okay, maybe not a slow start but we were feeling good and there were a lot of downhill stretches. I was reminding Andrew that we were aiming for a controlled start, something like marathon pace. Still you can see a bunch of 4:04s to 4:12s so I guess we weren't that consistent. Nevertheless, we were running strong and after the 2K mark, we started to make our way up the field.
More winding paths -- beautiful weather and the wind was a bit stronger by the water. We wound our way out to a hairpin turn that featured a long climb up a hill that we took in 4:20. I guess running a hilly marathon three weeks ago helped, as well as the longer intensity of spin classes the last week, but I was able to climb, then crest, then get the legs going. I followed the 4:20 with a 4:04. Coach said we could start pushing it after the 10K mark, but I took advantage of a downhill stretch and my recovering cardio. Hit the 10K mark in 4:03 pace. Felt good and strong.
More winding paths and I was reminding myself that this was the slower end of interval work we're going to be doing every Wednesday. It felt manageable today. Breathing was fine, not close to redline. Andrew was still with me and we were slowly gaining on other runners. In the back of the mind, I didn't want to cede any kilometres slower than the 4:05, regardless of how the effort felt. So we hammered it. I lost Andrew somewhere with the last water station, then there was the hill.
15K to 16.1K
So yes, there was a big hill. I had no interest in really slowing, and luckily, there were two runners ahead of me hitting it so I targetted them. I passed one, then came alongside another runner (who turns out to be from SPR!) and hit the crest with pace -- I was kind of shocked to see the kilometre come in around 4:03 so I had not really lost a lot of steam. We had a final turn then a straightaway. I knew I had to have a strong finish so I continued to run strong even as I was trying to recover from that hill.
16 3:59 pace
Finished with 1:05:19 by chip time, even as my watch registered 1:05:12 with an average pace of 4:03 kms. Strong time, amazed to close the year with another personal best.