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Times Colonist 10k

25 April, 2010
Greetings loyal readers, I know I am behind my normal posting schedule. At this stage in the season, as my training load decreases and I sharpen and taper for goal races, there is a tendency for self-doubt, negative self-talk and questions about the efficacy of my training so far to creep in. It is definitely possible to over-think/over-analyse the very simple and natural act of running, and I am guilty of it!

Of course it’s much too late to do anything about it now other than maintain a positive frame of mind and let the results speak for themselves. From this perspective my race today was a success. I was lucky with the conditions, which were cool but not windy (yesterday there was a fair bluster blowing the wrong way down Dallas Street), and I managed to start at my favourite position, which is two to three rows back from the elite at the front.

My goal for this race was to start at a 3:36/km (36:00 finish) pace and see if I could pick it up a little after half way. As it turned out, I actually started slightly on the fast side (3:34, 3:30, 3:34, {3:35, 3:35}, {3:41, 3:42}, 3:32, 3:34, 3:33). It was net downhill to the 4km mark, however. I struggled somewhat between 6km and 8km, and may also have drifted as I was on my own from this point (as far as I could tell, I don’t look back when racing). Like the best of stories, a strong start was matched by a strong ending. Final time: 35:54 (a 1:45 PB compared to previous time from Sun Run).

The wind was a mild and kindred spirit it seemed, though I drafted for most of the outward third kilometre. The percussion ensembles, tam-tam and kettle drum groups scattered along the way were what makes this race stand head and shoulders above most every other event I’ve been a part of. It’s not unusual to have one, but today there were three or four! They really make a huge difference. I was conscious of picking up my pace while hearing the drums, but I think the lift from them must have compensated for any loss due to inconsistent pacing. I don’t care much about freebies, they’re usually reflected in the registration fee, and they’re rarely needed. The presence of drummers though is impossible to put a value on. They contribute toward an experience that cannot be bought.

The course is not flat, but the hills are really not that bad. Perhaps, they’re overhyped because the main one comes around 7km, which is where the pain of the 10k starts to register, while the end seems still so distant.

So, I’ve yet to hit my updated goal of 35:30, but I did reach the goal I set myself at the start of the season.  With two weeks to go, 24 seconds is a lot of ground to make up. However, the course will be net downhill and I expect the field to be deeper, with people to run with the whole way.

Today: 8 miles total.
This week: 25 miles running. 100k cycling (half of it on the way back today!)

Update: I almost forgot to mention the crowds. That a town the size of Victoria can make so much noise is astounding (for this and the RVM event in October). Even when I was running more or less alone, in a town where I could name the number of people I know on one hand, the cheering was a bit overwhelming. The support, the drums…Victoria is a town that understands running!

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