Two Sundays ago I made a last minute decision to run the Downsview Airport 8K when Hubs was sick and couldn’t use his bib. I wasn’t expecting any spectacular results, but planned to run at tempo-ish effort to see where I’m at heading into this next round of training.
This was a first-time event for me and I would highly recommend it. They could have used more port-o-potties, but otherwise it was well organized with a great course and fun atmosphere. We lucked out and had pretty spectacular racing weather, too – cool, sunny and not too windy.
We got to watch the 1K fun run first – these kids were fast (and cute)!
I put myself near the middle of the front pack, knowing it was a smaller race. It was a bit crowded for the first couple hundred metres as we made a few turns taking us toward the runways, where it quickly spread out. This was a perfectly sized race – rarely anyone within arm’s reach but always people to chase after or just gawk at.
KM 1 – 4 : 5:02, 5:04, 5:08, 5:04
I found a cruising pace and settled in, noticing that my splits seemed quicker than I expected. The effort felt right so I went with it and tried to stop over-analyzing. I thought back to a solid 8K tempo run from a few weeks before, dialing in that manageably difficult effort. I focused on one kilometre at a time, pushing aside those thoughts of “I can’t maintain this pace for 8K!”
I recognized someone running just ahead and kept him in my sights. I knew I wouldn’t close the gap. but it still gave me something to chase on the long straightaways of the course.
My splits were hanging pretty steady as I started counting down 5, 4, 3, 2 kilometres… and I realized I was actually going to pull off a decent race. Hitting 6K and still feeling strong gave me a mental boost to turn on the jets (heh) for a solid finish. I started chasing people down to pass and clocked the last kilometre as my fastest.
KM 5 – 8 : 5:06, 5:10, 5:03, 4:41
It felt great to execute a successful race with a faster result than I expected. I can’t compare an 8K to a half marathon, but it was a big step in re-storing some confidence after my last two races went so poorly. I think a couple more shorter races will be just the ticket to wrap up this year.