Had my first race of the season today. I must say I did not prepare correctly for this.
The problem started a week ago when I smoked my left leg really hard and did some deep damage to the left quadriceps. It was sore and difficult to walk for 2 days. I knew this spelt bad news for the race so I dropped all training (because it would hurt too much anyways) and rested up for the full week.
I made one large error in not hydrating properly yesterday. That would com back to bite me in the gut later. I was out shooting at the range for a large portion of the day and became dehydrated enough to get a headache from it. I didn’t start re-hydrating properly until supper time. My pre race day diet was not that great either.
The third thing to complete my problem list was not eating enough for breakfast today. I thought that the pancakes I made for the kids would be enough, but sadly they ran out at the half way point.
As for the 10k race, I started out slow. Or at least it felt slow, but I told myself to hold off because there is still the whole race in front of me. This was the one good thing I did. I was actually pacing myself with my older brother Cam. This would also turn out to be a good thing. As the race progressed he was calling out the times as we passed the markers. The first was at 1km and he called out 6:44. WHAT???? no way we were that slow. I am training at 5:12…so what gives? This proceeded for the rest of the race. Calling out times as we passed markers that seemed to be misplaced.
My dehydration kicked in shortly after, I could feel my mouth was totally dry and I was wondering how far to the first water station. NOT A GOOD SIGN. I had a mini bottle with Gatorade mix in it and started downing it early.
We watched as Kevin left us in the dust. Cam timed him and found that he was a already a full minute ahead. At about the 4 km point we totally lost sight of him. We rounded the bend and started down a hill. I picked up the pace to gain a little time, because down hill is almost free. Cam would catch up near the bottom when it leveled out. I know he did not want to follow me, he was going for a tie race.
At 5km is when my injury revisited me. I could feel the slight pain starting to build in my left quad. This would progress and get more and more painful all the way to the end of the race. I really had to try and ignore it. It was also at this time that I noticed what a difference there is to run on a warm day. All of my training has been in cold to cool weather and this really was the first run of the year in shorts and t-shirt. It felt very hot and I was sweating buckets. Several drips were making it into my eyes for the stingy pain.
The next water station was at 7km and I took a small drink and poured the rest on my head. (Error 4, no sunscreen, now my noodle is burnt) At this time I tried to pace out in front where I thought the 7.5k mark SHOULD be (it wasn’t). When we hit that I told Cam we were 3/4 done. He called out the time. 36 minutes! SWEET! I did the quick math and figured out that we should cross the line at about 48 minutes. This would beat my 50 minute goal by 2 whole minutes. AWESOME!
At about 8km, we encountered a fairly large hill that would take some extra effort to climb. Again I set a high pace on the opposite side to make up some time. Cam was keeping up and edging slightly ahead of me. I was feeling drained and the pain in my leg was getting to the point of really making me feel like I should slow down. But I knew there was only a few minutes left.
I could see the turn for the finish line coming…Alright time to prep, need to get ready for some hard hitting sprint action to take the lead over Cam. Check the fuel tanks, just enough left for a 100 meter dash. Here it comes, I can feel the pace. Here’s the turn and WHAT WAIT….they said to keep going straight….but the finish line is over there and I know it, why are we going this way? CRAP.
Mental prep down the drain, we still have at least another 500 meters to go. Fuel in the tanks is thinning out. I’m running on fumes now. Not going for a sprint anymore. Need to finish with dignity, recheck the pace and hold position. Alright here comes the REAL left turn.
JUST GO MAN! I hear from beside me. What? I turn and look behind as Cam pewters out.
COME ON MOVE IT! I yell back. Crap, He just hit the wall.
Re-assess the strategy. Need to finish strong. There are two runners in front of me. A slight increase in pace will beat one to the line, and then if I still have enough juice for a final 25 meter sprint I might best the other. Check.
Within 100 meters I had bested the first target and was slowly closing the gap on the second. Alright, one final right turn and then its go time. As I hit the final turn I increased my pace to the max I felt comfortable with. Probably about a 75% sprint. I was gaining on the target fast. Can I make it? A little more…80% now, and passed him, with a solid 3 second lead time to the line.
After the race was done we starting talking with the other racers about marker location and actual distance. We checked with two racers who had the fancy GPS watches. Actual course distance was 10.56km, and that was confirmed by two separate GPS watches.
Not only that, they calculated pace times based on 10.0km not the actual 10.56km which screws up the final posted times. So Kevin did the math:
- posted 48:22 = 4:51
- 10.56 actual pace 4:34
- 10k adjusted time 45:49
4:09 lead over Ryan
- posted 52:31 = 5:16
- 10.56 actual pace 4:58
- 10k adjusted time 49:49
0:26 lead over Cam
- posted 52:57 = 5:18
- 10.56 actual pace 5:00
- 10k adjusted time 50:00
I was quite annoyed when I first read my pace time of 5:16. I have had better training runs than that. So after recalculating for the actual distances I am much happier with my performance. I beat my goal by 11 seconds.