On Monday we made our way to Hamilton for our 5th Boxing Day 10-Miler and one last race of the year. It was a dicey start to the day as we slid down the ice-covered driveway and drove through pouring rain on the way there, but the conditions ended up being close to perfect. It was comfortably cold with just wet roads to deal with by the time we started at noon.
Every race should begin with piano and preaching in the YMCA chapel!
After a few solid workouts in the weeks leading up to the race, I realized I could quite comfortably chase a PB – which would be my first PB at any distance since 2011. Long overdue, I’d say! My previous 10-mile best was 1:25 but with some urging from my coaches (aka husband Mark and friend Andy), we decided that sub-1:20 was a realistic target. My Garmin has been acting up recently and recording all of my runs far short, but luckily Mark and Andy agreed to provide pacing and support so I was able to ignore my watch and rely on them. #blessed
I did wear my Garmin anyway, just to see how far off it was, but turned it inward so I couldn’t see the screen every time I habitually glanced at my wrist. The splits included below are slightly off since I clocked a few hundred metres short overall. And yes, my new Garmin is on the way. 🙂
There was a crowded start as usual but it helped us stick to our plan of starting off easy and relaxed. A bit of weaving was necessary, but it soon opened up so we could settle in. It was weird not to be looking at my Garmin but I knew I was in good hands and found myself cruising pretty comfortably with Andy’s re-assurance that we were right where we needed to be.
KM 1 to 5 – 5:14, 4:56, 4:55, 4:54, 4:57
I love this route, especially around Bayfront Park and on the path alongside the harbour. We saw several swans and thought of our friend Greta who would have described it as “just like being on vacation.”
There’s a long-ish climb toward the turn-around (8K split @ 5:07) although it was much shorter than I remembered. I even said so out loud and another runner declared it “long enough!” Canadian marathon champ and all-around awesome guy Reid Coolsaet was out on the course along this stretch and I had a slight fan-girl/creepy-stalker moment when I hollered out his name after passing him (because I was too busy looking at his dog as we ran by to realize it was him.) Pretty cool that he came out to cheer
me us on!
KM 6 to 10 – 5:00, 4:57, 5:07, 4:44, 4:48
I was starting to feel the effort after about 10K and it was time to turn on some music and zone out a bit. I resisted the urge to peak at the overall time on my Garmin and really had no idea where we were in terms of pace, although it felt like I was having an awesome race. Andy was running a little bit ahead and I knew he was trying to pull me along so I kept my eyes on him and kept pushing, always looking for the next mile marker and counting them down.
There are a couple of decent hills in the last 2 miles and it took a lot of will to get my legs moving quickly again after each one. Finally we hit the long straight-away to the finish and I could just barely make out the red of the finish clock in the distance, still having no clue what it was going to read. Andy urged me ahead, Mark continued pulling me along and I gave it all I had.
KM 11 to 16 – 4:44, 4:48, 4:49, 4:41, 4:53, 4:33*
*pace for the partial KM recorded on my watch
first half 40:11 | second half 37:31