Yesterday was The Yonge St. 10K, the first of what is now two 10Ks running down the central artery of the city. The 10Ks are popular because they are fast – a net downhill (a couple of small uphills) with only a few turns. I wanted to test my 10K fitness on a certified course, but not necessarily on an aided course that would * my time and generate a PB that I would never be able to replicate, thus setting myself up for future disappoint. I have a tendency to over think races. I ran, but only because I won a free entry at another race.
I have not raced a 10K in … ever, perhaps. But I had a 10K goal. For those who are interested in numbers, the goal is remarkably similar to the one Sweaty Kid handily bested a couple of weeks ago. I looked to McMillan to see if it was a realistic goal. Some recent race times predicted hell yeah, others agonizingly close but not quite. A cautious gal, I put my faith in the least optimistic scenario. My coach scoffed and predicted yes. And then he had me do a test workout at the track and said if I can do the workout I can run that time. I did it without struggle. And then he said to stop visiting McMillan because I have a real coach now.
I said, as I (probably annoyingly) always do, I’ll just run. It did occur to me that an aided course might be a good time to break through the mental barrier and get my legs used to running at a new 10K pace, a feat which I could then try to replicate on a flat course. But truthfully I wasn’t really feeling up to the challenge. A familiar litany of excuses – insomnia, life stuff, and I’m still stuck in that 50K/week rut. My confidence wasn’t high, which is an important consideration. So I decided to run, but not race. The distinction is important to me, given the chronic lacking in confidence thing. No self-imposed pressure.
The temps were low (perfect), but we had to be in our corrals* 15 minutes before race start … so we warmed up then huddled for 15 minutes and I was freezing in my short shorts and singlet by the time we started. It took my cold legs 1.5K to shakeout. The first downhill half felt easy (as it should); I glanced at my watch at 5K and was on track. The course flattened around 6K and I noticed the lack of mileage between 8-9K. Going from down to flat has a wall slamming effect. Ouch. In retrospect, I didn’t dig as deep as I could have (or perhaps should have), but I’m such a novice at this distance I don’t have the confidence to really push yet.
In the end, goal achieved. I finished at my coach predicted time, with enough to spare that it probably wasn’t just a downhill fluke. Replicable on an honest course. Probably.
*The corral behind the elites was 46 minutes and under. That range was way too big, especially with so many at the upper end of that range lining up behind the soon-to-be Olympian and eventual winner after a thrilling finish. I saw two people trip in the first 500m as faster runners stampeded over slower runners. I’m too lazy to fill in the online feedback survey, so I hope the race director reads this blog.
Title: Tragically Hip – Hundredth Meridian. 1992.