First I want to say thank you so much for all of your support via comments/tweets/emails/messages etc. on my last post. I can’t tell you how much it means to me! I knew I had nothing to worry about by sharing the big decision.
I am proud to say that this was my 5th consecutive year running Sporting Life 10K with Nolan’s Dream Chasers to raise funds for Camp Oochigeas. This year marks Nolan’s one-year Cancer-free anniversary and our team raised over $15,000 to commemorate the occasion. Thank you to everyone who has supported us over the years!
I knew I wasn’t going to race the 10K after putting in a hard effort at the Toronto Half last weekend, but I did want to use it as a workout incorporated into a long run. Hubs and I devised a plan to park near the finish, run the route in reverse [uphill] to the start and then use the race as a glorified tempo run.
It was an early (and cold!) morning, leaving the car to start our “warm-up” at about 6:15. I wore a jacket and my small Nathan backpack (without the bladder) so I could stuff it in for the race. I didn’t want to bother with bag check since it would probably already be very crowded by the time we go to the start.
City streets were relatively quiet and it was pretty neat to run the route that I know so well, but in reverse. It certainly is a lot harder going up. Course profile, start to finish:
We wanted 12K to start the day, so we looped around some side streets once we made it to the starting area, hit the port-o-potties and pretty much had to line up in the corrals, which were quickly filling up. At 8am, we were off. We were lined up pretty close to the front and I didn’t have to do much weaving at all. From what I learned later on, it was pure mayhem if you were much farther back. I heard that the water stations were impossible (too short and not enough volunteers), but thankfully I had my own water from the first part of our run so I stayed in the middle of the road and out of the chaos. There were also a lot of issues with pedestrians crossing the race traffic – extra course marshals around busy intersections would have been beneficial.
I know this course like the back of my hand and I really love it. It’s mostly a straight shot net downhill, with only 5 turns (all of which in the last 3K). There are a couple of inclines, but there’s no question this is a fast downhill course. The tough thing is, it flattens out and you hit the turns after an easy-peasy first 7K and suddenly it gets really tough. I felt like I was losing steam over these last couple of miles and had to work harder to keep my pace under 5:00/KM, which had been “cruising pace” (or comfortably hard, as I like to call it) up to this point. I recognized a friend as he flew by me, exchanged a few words and then tried to keep up with him on the home stretch.
We had a pretty serious headwind the entire race with 25kph winds and 40+ gusts from the south and west (the entire course runs south and west). I wouldn’t say it had an impact on my time, but I definitely noticed it.
I hadn’t reset my Garmin after the first portion of our run that morning, so I wasn’t paying too much attention to finish time. I did monitor my lap pace throughout and expected to be just under 50 minutes. Ding, ding, ding!
1st half- 24:59
2nd half- 24:41
It took a while for Hubs and I to re-connect among the masses and we were both freezing! I managed to bump into some of Nolan’s Dream Chasers to share congrats, but unfortunately we couldn’t hang around this year. We still had a 2K run back to the car and nothing warm/dry to change in to.
Total distance for the day: 24K including a 10K quality portion for a great cause!
Unfortunately there has been a lot of negative controversy surrounding the race regarding the logistics and some off-base comments from the race director. From what I hear, they are hoping for even greater numbers next year so hopefully they will get their act together. I mentioned the issues with the water stations and lack of course marshals, but the worst part was a terrible back-log for runners around the 1-hour mark who couldn’t even get across the finish line. The Sporting Life 10K has been a benchmark event for Toronto and it raises a lot of money for a great charity, so it is really disappointing. I defer to Kenny’s posts for the whole story.