Since the 10km race in March, I have been doing lots of running, including some super hard workouts. Geoff was really confident that in the 10 miler I should be able to hold close to the pace I was able to hold for the 10km. I thought, 'no way, how is that possible to hold a similar pace for 4 more miles on a hilly course?', but proceeded to listen to him anyway. Turns out, he was right!
I race the St. Albert 10 Miler yesterday, which is an awesome race. Organized by our tri club (St. Albert Triathlon & Roadrunners Team), this was the 25th anniversary of the event, and it did not disappoint. The volunteers are awesome and the entire race is so organized it goes off without a hitch. I have the added benefit of having the route literally run by my doorstep, so I was able to train on it whenever I pleased. The course is not easy by any means, as it contains quite a few hills, some short and some long and gradual. But hills by any measure. And I am definitely not a hill person!
Anyway, the weather could not have been better for the race. Sunny and a high of 22C - wow is this April? The day before was actually the first day I took my bike outside and what a beautiful day that was! I did just over 40km and then did a short 20 min run off the bike, during which my legs felt heavy and tired. I was a little worried but shrugged it off. For the race, I did a little warm up and made my way over to the start line. There was no watch allowed again (Geoff's rules), and I was to go completely by feel. After the gun went off, everyone around me immediately began sprinting and I REALLY had to hold myself back and not get caught up in the stupidity of going out too hard. So I went out at a comfortable pace, and the 1 mile clock indicated 7:35 as I went by. Right on target and not feeling too bad!
Just before mile 4 is where my house is on the route. At this point I saw Geoff with the dogs on the sidewalk and began waving and saying hi. My sister was the volunteer at mile 5 with the clock (37:08 split). It was such a fun race as I was able to see so many people I knew at the aid stations and volunteers at intersections.
After mile 5, something weird happened... I didn't fall apart. In fact, I almost felt like I was getting stronger at some points. After mile 6, the second round of the hills started. I kept plugging along, focusing on controlling my breathing. Sometime between mile 8 and 9, I got a terrible stitch in my left rib that took my breath away and as a result my pace slowed slightly. It wasn't the normal cramp that you can run through but the worst kind where you can't get a breath in. I dug my fingers into the area and pushed through it. Luckily it went away as I turned the corner onto the final stretch. I hit the mile 9 clock in 1:08.23, with a lot of the final mile downhill. I went so hard on that final mile, and was so happy to be able to push the effort right through to the end of a longer race, and to be feeling strong at the end (first time this has ever happened in a longer race!). I finished in 1:15.20 or something, with my final mile under 7mins!
The goal was to hold a 7:30 pace, and I ended up sticking to that! I surprised myself in this race, as I didn't entirely believe in myself that I could do that. It's a really good feeling when you prove yourself wrong :) Thanks to Geoff for your coaching, it is definitely helping me!
This was definitely a PB, as the best I've done on that course was a 1:23 several years back. I am very happy with how it went. It is a super competitive and fast race, as 1:15 only put me at 11th place in my age group - man there are some freaking fast people out there! But I'll get there, too, eventually...
At the awards ceremony after with Alice:
For the rest of the day I was exhausted but I had some work to do. Difficult with dogs climbing all over you. Obviously I should pick a better place to set up my computer!
Next up is the Sandy Beach Duathlon on May 2, weather pending. If it's snowing or below 10C, I am going to say no!