Sunday, May 4, 2008

Sporting Life 10K race

The Sporting Life 10k race is probably the biggest 10k race in Toronto with about 10,000 runners and walkers. The only time I've seen more people was at the Run for the Cure last September which reported about 30,000 people. It's a big event. They closed down Yonge street which is a big deal because it pretty much splits Toronto in two. Drivers are not amused when that happens.

I wasn't too sure how I felt coming up to this race. I haven't done any speed work since my last 10k on March 30th but I've trained steadily and I've cross-trained with cycling and swimming. I had scheduled a taxi the night before for 6:30am, so I got to the course early, around 6:45 for a 8am start time. It was friggin' freazing, about 8C (about 46F) with pretty strong wind so I decided to dash to Starbucks for a quick Expresso. The place was full of runners taking advantage of the warmth. I chatted with a couple of Easter European guys and got out to warm up a bit. My pacing felt a bit off but I felt ok. I never feel great that early in the morning.

All of a sudden it's time. I find my spot in the corral, in the 40-49 minutes area. I have to admit that people were pretty good about it. Many times I've seen walkers seeding themselves way up front but the start was pretty smooth. The gun goes off and we're running. The first 500m is flat-ish and then the down hill starts. We are just flying! Eventually just before the 2K mark, there's a little uphill stretch and then it's pretty much downhill again all the way down to Adelaide, about 7km down the course. There's a water/Gatorade station at 4 km but I don't stop. My breathing is pretty good. The buildings are screwing up my Garmin GPS, so I can't really rely on it for my pace but I had expected that much. To be honest, my breathing is a bit too good. Some of the people around me are huffing and puffing but I feel solid. Maybe I should have gone harder? Anyway, now the course is flat as a pancake and I'm passing quite a few people but I'm getting overtaken as well. I'm passing more though, so I'm good with that. I'm not 20 anymore!

Now were running west under the Gardner Expressway so my Garmin has no idea what's going on. Someone screams "1K to go!!!". I think it's more like 1.5 but I can't tell since technology has failed me. I pick up the pace a bit, but not too much. This is starting to hurt. I remember saying something for my podcast like: "I feel like crying right now". All of a sudden I see the turn north on the York exit so this means it's almost over. I'm now running sub-4/km, sprinting for the finish line. I'm passing quite a few people. Some crazy kid flies by me like this is a 100m sprint. I'm hurtin' when I cross the finish is 42:34 (chip time). I keep moving with everyone, gasping for air, my chest on fire. A kid cuts my chip loose and I head for the Gatorade stand, grab myself two cups and down the first one in one gulp. I slowly sip the second one.

I should have brought a pack with warm clothes. I see people getting into their warm pants and fleece jackets. I'm freezing so I decide to go home. I jumped in the subway and I was home in no time.

Looking at my race recording on my computer, I see that my heart rate was pretty low in the first two thirds of the race if I compare to other races. I'm not used to racing downhill and I didn't want to overdo it but I guess I was a bit too cautious. As soon as I hit the flat part though, my HR went up to above 90% of max, all the way up to 196 (my maxHR) at the finish. Maybe I could have gone a bit faster, but I'm really happy with this race. I was 468th overall (10,000 runners/walkers) and 66th in my age group (40-44M, 541 runners). I don't know that I will ever be able to beat this PR at another race. According to my GPS, there's a 100 meter difference between the start and the finish. Anyway, I finally have my sub-45 minute 10k even if I'm not sure I want to keep it!

4 comments:

Krister said...

Congratulations, well done!

Jean-Daniel Begin said...

Thanks Krister. That was an epic race! My whole lower body is just a knot of pain this morning!

Jetpack said...

JD. What program is that you are using to map your HR? Looks cool. You like it?

Jean-Daniel Begin said...

Jetpack, I'm using SportTracks. Great software. Reads data right off my Garmin 305.