On Sunday I ran my 8th Sporting Life 10K with Nolan’s Dream Chasers. Together we raised almost $15,000.00 for Camp Ooch this year and not-so-little-anymore Nolan completed the entire race for his second time!
I seemed to recover pretty quickly from Martian and surprised myself with a strong workout last week, so I thought I might have a good chance at beating my ancient PB of 43:08 from 2011 (even though the pace still seemed insanely fast if I let myself think about it).
Mark dropped a few of us off near the start and we killed time with several pit stops, photo bomb ops, chatting with Jonathan (so nice to finally meet you!) and finally a short warm-up jog. Soon it was time to line up in the red corral and we were off!
I knew I needed better than 4:18/KM in order to PB and my plan was to pretty much run like hell and try to hold on – very scientific and strategic! In the past I have often found that the first few kilometres fly by almost effortlessly and if anything I need to hold back to make sure I’m not overdoing it. This time I felt like I had to work for it right out of the gates. I guess that’s to be expected running at paces in the ~4:15 range which is a whole new territory for me right now.
The course is significantly downhill, especially for the first half, so I tried to take advantage as much as possible and avoided hitting the brakes. There’s something so magical about this race – tearing down the middle of Yonge Street in downtown Toronto knowing that there are over 20,000 runners following behind. I loved everything except the strong, lingering smell of bacon wafting out of some restaurants. I tried to take it all in and enjoy myself while sneaking glances at my watch just often enough to keep myself honest. Several times I looked down and thought “I can not run this fast!” Except I guess I can!
4:16, 4:12, 4:16, 4:08, 4:19
I felt like I was working a bit harder than I would have liked hitting the 5K (21:17), but it’s also been a long time since I’ve raced this distance so I just pushed that thought right out of my head and kept working. Shortly before 7K we made the turn off Yonge Street and I knew the course would be mostly flat to the finish – which basically feels uphill after so much downhill. It suddenly felt so hard and I had a minor meltdown in the 8th kilometre, slowing way more than I should have. Thankfully seeing that 4:26 split pissed me off enough to dig deeper and find my pace again. I was even chanting (softly) aloud to myself “Come on! Come on!” as I worked to convince the legs to push just a little harder.
I was so happy and surprised to see my good buddy Quinton around the 9K mark. He seems to pop up at every single race I do and I love it! He gave me enough of a boost to haul ass toward the finish.
At last I was crossing the bridge on Bathurst and making the turn into Fort York. My friend Erin (Nolan’s Mom) was cheering in her usual spot on the home stretch and gave me the biggest cheers. Thank you Erin!
I knew it was going to be close and had to bust my ass down the home stretch. When I was close enough to see the clock I looked up and there was Andy jumping up and down waiting for me just over the line. I think I must have run straight into him without slowing down, squeaking in just a hair under 43.
4:14, 4:19, 4:26, 4:19, 4:12, 0:15 (80m garmin nubbin)
The best part was meeting up with our Newmarket Road Runners gang after the finish, all of whom had great races. We are so very proud of all of them and I can’t even express how it feels to see our athletes proudly wearing our team shirts.