Pat, Erin and I represented the UofA Triathlon Club at the St. Albert 10 miler this morning. Becky was along as a cheering squad, and remarked that I did a better job of Pat than smiling on course, I’ll let her come cheer for us any day. That’s more encouraging than the typical “Wow Josh, you really looked like shit out there” that is typical of some other support crews (I love you too!). Pat was wearing his Fiera gear and no Tri-club gear, I didn’t have any Fiera gear that was weather appropriate, nor did I have and Triathlon Club gear that was weather appropriate. I don’t think Erin has any notion of trying to wear a certain outfit to intimidate the competition, she’ll learn eventually.
The race starts out fast with a nice little downhill to get the leg turnover high and the speed up. I tried to start slow, and I failed, splitting my first mile in about 6:07. That’s a recipe not to negative split your race when your best case scenario is 20 seconds slower per mile. I’d now need to negative split the rest of the race by 20 seconds just to even split the race. These are the kinds of calculations I do in my head when I’m trying to slow myself down. It worked, and I got back down to the 4:10/km pace that I knew was safe and allowed myself to come back “under control” I had turned off the display on HR on my watch because I didn’t want to see it, but retrospectively I had climbed to 170 and this was just pulling it back below there by a small margin. I then started to feel really good, and started to slowly pick up the pace.
I gradually sped up all the way to the top of the hill and then remembered Pat’s advice, don’t go too hard on that downhill or you’ll really struggle on the uphill at mile 7. I kept the effort in check down that hill but the pace was still high. I cruised past the 10 km mark at 40:06 which was a nice treat, I picked up a 10km PR en-route. Problem is I’ve never run a standalone 10km race so my 10km PR is pretty weak. I won’t complain though. I thought for a bit that if the race really goes pear shaped in the final 6kms, do I tell people that I got a PR at 10km or do I keep it a secret that I did some bad pacing along the way.
Negotiations inside my head ended as I encountered the long gradual uphill at 7 miles. I reminded myself that it was probably going to really feel bad somewhere near the top but that I just had to get through it because it would inevitably feel better again between there and the finish. It was a good strategy and kept me from checking the GPS unit for my pace along the way. From there I was surprised by a couple rolly hills where I though things would be relatively flat. The HR was now way up and I was in “hold it together mode”, but I was holding a constant gap to the next guy up the road. He had passed me on the previous downhill so with a downhill finish I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to reel in the 10 seconds he had on me but maintaining the gap was good motivation. Turning north I knew it was less than 8 minutes to go, then into the last mile and it was all downhill. I ran about as fast as my legs could go on the downhill at this point, which isn’t very fast as I haven’t done a whole ton of speed-work. That’s alright though, I was still picking up the pace and was happy about how things had progressed. Corner through to the finish line and could see the clock, I’d be under 65 minutes for sure. Good news.
I may have been more than 10 minutes behind the winner, but I was still first to the massage table. Free massages are a great thing, got the right calf worked on a little bit as it had felt pretty knarly on Tuesday. It felt fine during the race though and it feels fine now. No worries.
Final result: 64:41. That’s a 10 second positive split, which means after my lightning first mile I managed to negative split “the rest of the race” which is good news. Vancouver starts flat, which is a bonus, hopefully I’m no faster than about 7 minutes for the first mile in two weeks. Based on my performance for my 10km split, the reigel formula predicts a marathon time of 3h04m28s and the cameron formula predicts a marathon time of 3h07m52m. Based on my 10mile time, the reigel formula predicts a marathon time of 2h59m43s and the cameron formula predicts a marathon time of 3h03m31s. Those are very encouraging results, considering I will be tapering for the marathon and was not heavily tapered for this race, granted it was a light week.
This profile is why I was surprised to find the south (second) loop to be more rolling than the north (first). Maybe it wasn’t in so bad in reality but it felt awfully up and down as I was nearing an hour of ~threshold HR.