So like I said in my first post, that’s me finishing the TC10k on April 27th, 2014 – just over a year and a half since I completed my first official run (I say first official run, because I did run a while ago, just never that seriously. In fact, I completed the TC10k once before too, just not in an amazing time).
On to the race. The Times Colonist 10k features a great course around much of the waterfront of Victoria, British Columbia. It is fairly flat, but the back half of the course is wide open to the ocean, and can experience some high winds. My original plan for this race was to find a friend from my running club and hang on his shoulder for as long as possible in order to not worry about pace as much. He ended up being in the elite section, because for his age (Master’s division) he is quite good. Looking back, I am glad I didn’t get up to him because he ran the first 5k way faster than I would have been a 5k PR for me.
The start: I’ve got to say, the organizers did a fantastic job at corralling this year. 40:00 and under was the first wave, which I was in, (subsequent waves were spread 5 minutes apart) and volunteers were being strict and only letting the corresponding bibs into the corrals. At 8:00am sharp we were off. My goal for this race was low-38, and if everything went right I would have gone for sub-38.
The first half: I really didn’t want to depend on my watch as much as I normally do, so I decided to run this race more by effort – focusing on my HR when I did look down. I still was able to get kilometre splits throughout the race, which helped me judge how I was fairing. The first kilometre went very well, hitting 3:47 which was right on pace. From there it was mostly on pace for low-38, hitting 3:52, 3:50, 3:49, and 3:50 on the next 4k. The first 5k was therefore quite good, especially considering the first half of it is a steady climb.
The second half: But then, as with one year ago when I ran this race, the weather gods gave me the middle finger. When this race hits 5k, it goes from sheltered residential neighbourhoods to exposed waterfront, and all the elements come with it. While the past few weeks have been calm, today wasn’t. The winds were high (~25km/h), it was a definite headwind, and when you are in the first 100 or so runners you are pretty spread out. Unfortunately you are in this weather for the vast majority of the second half, and my splits showed the toll it took on me: 3:57, 3:59, 3:48 (downhill section), 3:57.
Throughout that section I tried to draft behind some people but then they would start going slower than I wanted, which forced me to pass. One guy drafted off me for about 3k of it which was incredibly annoying (apparently not so well known race etiquette: share the load if you are not in contention to win). Eventually I started surging and slowing to lose him, and it seemed to work. Either that or he backed off when I blew a snot rocket that was carried by the wind back at him! Oops!
The final stretch: Going into the final kilometre I noted on my watch that I was getting close to missing sub-39, and I wasn’t going to let that happen. I was reinvigorated throughout the twisty end section of the race (seriously, there’s like a million turns in the last kilometre), and ended up hitting a 3:44 km. In the last 200m I caught up to another guy, but he didn’t want to let me pass. We ended up having a sprint off, and although he edged me out I was pretty pleased to hit 3:15/km pace during it.
Final Time: I crossed the finish with a gun time of 38:54 and a chip time of 38:49. Overall I’m pretty happy with the result. My time from this race last year was 40:49, so I broke my PR by exactly 2 minutes. I probably could have run the whole thing a bit faster, as the final sprint showed I still had a lot left in the tank. Also, if the weather cooperated I probably could have hit my goal, but you can’t always get what you want. Next up for me is a track series with a 5000m on Saturday, which will be my first time running track!