I'm going to say it because I am not afraid to say it - I'M BACK!
I was dealing with injuries and mostly cross-training through January, February, March and April. It wasn't until May that I finally got back to running 7 days a week with regular workouts. I got 4 weeks of training in before the Ottawa 10km Championships. The first week of training my workouts were good... but far from the paces I wanted them to be. Each week they got better and I felt a little stronger.
TAMARAK OTTAWA RACE WEEKEND 10k
I decided not to taper for Ottawa. I was just starting to ease into building up consistent weeks of mileage. Looking ahead to the Waterfront 10k I felt that the fitness from a full week of training would be more beneficial for me than a taper week.
As happy as I was to be healthy and to have enough fitness to race, I was a little disappointed to be at a Canadian Championship race knowing that I was not prepared to perform at what I feel is my full potential. I thought a good day would be close to 31:00.
I am usually pretty good at pacing and running even splits but when the gun went off in Ottawa I got swept away with the fast start. In those first 3km I wasn't thinking about 31:00. I was just filled with pure joy to be racing, to be moving fast and to be feeling strong. By 3km I already knew I that had hung myself so I just continued to push as hard as I could. I split through the 5km in 15:11 (pb) and from there blissful joy turned into pain and fatigue. The rest of the race was run in survival mode. I was the 8th Canadian to cross the line in a time of 31:30. Kyle finished as 4th Canadain in 30:50. Neither of us was pleased with our times and on our cool down discussed how we could do better in 3 weeks at the Waterfront 10km.
After Ottawa I got another 3 weeks of consistent mileage and workouts in and was heading into the Waterfront 10km with 7 weeks of training to back me up. My main objective for this race was to break 31:00 and to be competitive with the people around me over the second half of the race. A friend asked me earlier in the week what place I thought I would finish... I told him that IF I ran well and everything went my way, I thought I could snag 5th place... and If I could snag 5th I figured Kyle could snag 3rd. We had times that we wanted to run and I knew that if we just focused on running our goal times that the placings would sort out themselves out. My plan was to split through the 5km in 15:30 relaxed and controlled and then push as hard as I could over the second half.
The race started and I settled into my own controlled pace and let the lead pack go. I counted 8 of guys ahead of me. "Stay relaxed, stay in control" I said to myself. I split through the 5km relaxed and controlled in 15:17. A little fast but still in control.
It was just after 5km people started coming back to me and this is where the racing started. I caught up to Aaron Cooper and we were holding 5th & 6th. Sergio (who came 3rd in the Ottawa 10km Championships, Ran a 4:08 Road mile the weekend after and this Wednesday won the Canadain 10,000m championships) was just up ahead of us and we had about 3km to catch him. I just needed to beat one of them to get 5th and the odds of doing that would increase if we caught up to Sergio. At 9km just after Legion Hill I pushed just a little harder and made some separation between myself and Aaron and finally closed the gap on Sergio.
^ gap ^ smaller gap
v closed the gap v gapped again! v shoulder check
Now that I was running with Sergio my thoughts went to... with just under 1000m to go, how do I out kick a guy that can run a 4:08 road mile? I thought, "kick from as far out as you can". So I tried to surge and once my energy faded Sergio threw in his own surge and I couldn't respond. I was so toasted that I was looking over my shoulder every other stride for the last 200m to see if Aaron was going to catch me. I celebrated as I crossed the line in 30:48. I'm back!
There are several things that I could have done better out there yesterday. Instead of asking myself how am I going to out kick Sergio, I should have been telling myself - He is beatable, he is beatable! because yes he is fast but everyone is beatable.
Another area to improve which will come with more time, is being able to push harder over kilometers 6,7,8. I have not gotten any longer tempo workouts in yet. It's the longer tempo workouts that acclimatize me to suffering and that give me the strength I need to race aggressively. I look forward to introducing bigger tempo workouts in the weeks to come as I continue to build.
It was really great to race with/against Aaron yesterday and to catch up with him on our cool down. His 2:20:53 in Toledo has got me very excited to see what he will do in the Fall and gives me a lot of motivation to put into my own training.
Lastly, I am so so happy for Kyle's 3rd place finish (30:23) and PB. This time last year we were over a minute slower at this race and didn't even know each other. Thank you for pushing me to be better over the last year (excpet for today because today was about recovery and I forgive you but I was really sore and tired and hot and hungry and probably even a little dehydrated so I'll say I am sorry for complaining but I really do feel like it was all called for)
We are in such a great spot as we get ready for our Fall Marathon build and I look forward to the next 17 weeks of hard work.
Next up Boilermaker!