Grimsby Peachbud 10km Run

Grimsby Peachbud 10km Run

This was to be my first timed 10km run, and I didn’t know what to expect.  My plan of attack was very uncertain as my experience thus far has largely revolved around half-marathon distances and above, which is typically a slow pace.  Something that my legs and cardiovascular system have become accustomed to.

Grimsby is a long drive from my work in Pickering, but I requested to leave early to avoid the rush hour traffic of Toronto.  The start of the race is late in the day at 7:30pm; yet another new factor in the equation.  However, I was blessed once again, as the weather forecasters called for low humidity and a high of 20 for the day.

I arrived early at the town hall, right at the start line, which hosts the best parking spots.  So early in fact that I manage to squeeze in a good nap, as I am a bit worn out from the long drive.  I wake up from at 5pm to a hungry stomach, and with no other food in hand, I am scratching my head as to what I should do.  Should I eat now?  Should I wait till after to eat?  I have only 2.5 hours till the run begins.  They say that you should avoid eating roughage and fibre before exercise, as it may lead to digestion issues.  Ignoring those sweeping assumptions, I drive to a nearby Subway and fill my tummy with a healthy sandwich.  I think I should have enough time to be ready for the race.

_______________

The other 5km run was to start at 7:00pm, so I had the opportunity to rev myself up by watching both the start and finish of that race.  As this was a smaller race with lax rules, I was tickled to see that the start of the line was littered with some elite runners mixed in with pint-sized children.  Just by judging the participants at the start line, I could tell who was going to win.  Surely enough, my stereotyping assumptions were correct.  The winner of the 5km came in just under 16:00.  With plenty of time to spare until the start of the 10km, I presumed that he might also be joining in on the 10km as well. 

It was nearing the start of the 10km run, and I kept using the washroom to make sure that I would be good to go.  I quickly downed a regular GU gel about 15 mins before the start, to allow it time to kick in.  I did a few warm up jogs here and there beforehand, and I was pumped.  I snaked to the front of the pack (just a 9 second difference between my chip time and clock time, I later learned), and we were off!

I felt confident that I could go at a good pace.  Different race distances are wrought with different mental hurdles to overcome.  The found that the 10km halfway mark was just as difficult to reach as the half marathon halfway. 

The 1km mark felt like it took longer than usual to reach.  Why?  I think it was because I was trying to push myself at a higher than used-to intensity, so my body was struggling more than normal.  My brain was telling me, “Are you sure that you can keep up this pace for 9 more kms??”.  I responded, “I hope so!!!”

2km came around and then the 3rd.  My legs were feeling sluggishly heavy up until this point.  Many of the elite runners do a fair bit of warm-up jogs, including sprints, right before the start of the actual race.  There must be something to that. 

 My legs started to loosen up after 3km, or perhaps it was the gel kicking in?  All I had to do was reach the halfway point, then my mind would be at ease.  I found that my breathing was consistently laboured throughout the whole race.  Again, due to the high intensity.  I started the belly-breathing technique, which I found helped, as I sucked in more oxygen, particularly for the uphills.  This course had a good number of hills, both up and down.

I think that I must also train myself to do better at water stations.  Breathing so heavily made it much more difficult to ingest fluids without interrupting the flow.  I found that my first two attempts were feeble and I managed only a small sip each time.  I must remind myself that it is silly to assume that I will lose copious amounts of running time if I slow down.  It is more important to hydrate oneself, than to save a few seconds by not slowing down. 

I make it to the halfway mark and the official clock shows 21:50.  This is a bit slower than I had hoped for, but now that I look back, I have not adequately trained for anything faster than this. 

We get to 6km, and you can easily see that there is a very long road ahead.  This fares better for us actually, I believe, as it is entirely flat for this stretch.  I slow to a walk for subsequent water stations.  I’m actually feeling much better now than before, as my legs are feeling lighter.  Perhaps the gel is really kicking in. 

8km!  I’m starting to push myself as fast as possible, and I’m feeling really good.  My running group is also sensing the end of the run, and I can feel the collective increase in speed.  I was passed by this older guy in particular, and for some reason, I wasn’t able to catch him.  His technique was a bit errant as his feet didn’t go very high off the ground, but the one thing I noticed was that his cadence was much faster than mine.  Shorter strides, faster cadence, is what they say.  I try to mimic his quick cadence momentarily, but was still unable to match his speed without gasing out.

9km!  I felt awesome.  I didn’t have my GPS watch on me, but I was estimating distances in my head.  9.1……9.2…..  the finish line was so close.  This was certainly a different feeling than the final km of the half or full marathon.  I actually had energy stores to burn!  I pass a handful of people at the end, and hear that glorious beep at the finish line.  The official clock shows my time to be just above 44:03.0 (chip time 43:54.3), and all things considered, I am happy with this time.  It certainly wasn’t for lack of trying, and now I’ll have a time to beat in Montreal.  

Things to remember for next time:

  • We need to do more speed training!  Slow running will train us to do well at slow running.
  • How you start your race will dictate how you finish. 
  • Find out how best to increase cadence.  Perhaps my fast twitch muscles need more help.
  • Hydrating at the water stations is more important than saving a couple of seconds.
  • I’m glad I wore my hat.  The sun was blinding us for a good part of the run at 8pm.
  • Stop getting M-sized t-shirts.  It’s safer to go with L; sizing is not always equal.
  • To run a sub 40:00.0 10km run is going to be harder than I thought.  Baby steps…
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