I am back from the Oasis Zoo Run/Canadian 10 km Road Race Championships. I am somewhat satisfied with my run.
I arrived in Toronto Thursday evening and went out to dinner with 3 of my good friends from Grad School. It was wonderful to see my friends again though there was one issue. I had a migraine. I have had very few migraines the last few years so I was a little concerned. I took a large dose of Motrin and cut the dinner a little short. Upon arriving at my hotel my roommate was ready for an early night which suited me just fine. I fell asleep (the best cure for a migraine) and woke up feeling much better. Friday I went for an easy run and managed to find a track to do some drills and easy strides. I felt a little sluggish which I took for a good sign. I went Downtown Toronto in afternoon to do some shopping and exploring which was quite nice although very cold. I had a quiet Friday night and was in bed early to get ready to race.
I was woken up early Saturday morning when my roommate got up at 5:55, 2:55 PST. I stayed in bed an extra 1/2 hour then quickly got dressed and went down to the lobby for breakfast. Breakfast did not start until 7 am so I went back up to the room, packed my things, then headed back down to the lobby, luggage in tow, to get myself a bagel and coffee. I was a little panicked as the elite bus was leaving at 7:15. Thanks to a very efficient server I was ready with time to spare.
The organizers had a nice and warm bus for the elites to travel to the race venue at the Toronto Zoo. In front of me was Simon Bariu, Dylan Wykes a few seats back, Olympians Eric Gillis and Malindi Elmore were there as well as all the names in Canadian distance running. To be honest I felt a bit like an outsider amongst all these National Team Members. They were all very friendly but I still felt a little weird. The funny thing was that I was not that intimidated.
I started my warm up and felt good despite the lack of sleep from the night before, the time change and the bone chilling cold. I did a little loop in the zoo to get a feel of the finish. I checked out the billy goats, Siberian Tiger and the Zebras then headed back to the bus to get into my race gear and complete my drills and strides. Again I felt really good. Everything felt light and easy and relaxed. I was not really that nervous and was enjoying myself. We were marshaled to the start line, the horn sounded and we were off.
I went out with the lead pack as the first kilometer was a slow 3:06. The pace revved up for the next 4 km as I split 5 km in around 15:30 as per John's split. After the first km the field of elite runners stretched out and there were several groups to run with. The first 5 km did not feel that fast and if anything they felt totally controlled and good. I felt fresh and was able to run relaxed and free with a few guys close by to chase. The second half of the course had a lot of turns and hairpins and even a set of stairs. The second half was more of an effort as it is in every race. There were a group of us working together. There was a good battle between a few of us although I came out on the losing end. At one point with about 2 km to go I put in a bit of a surge and had a couple of guys on the ropes but I did not push though the surge and secure my lead. Instead of pushing at the crest of a hill I settled into my stride and lost my momentum. The guys pushed on and I fell back. I did not fight to get them and coasted the last km. I finished 17th.
I am disappointed I did not push into the end of the race. I did not have the balls nor the concentration to push through to a top 14 finish. I was passive while racing which is not something that usually happens to me. I can attribute this to a few things. First, I have not raced against a strong field since July. Second, I have not pushed myself to that 'special place' while training and my training has been a bit chaotic and third, I was too relaxed. There was no fire in my belly. I treated the race more like the accomplishment without realizing that it was a race and a great opportunity to do something special.
I am still pleased with some of the people I beat and how close I was to besting some big names in Canadian running. I am getting closer. As per usual BC Athletics also did a wonderful job with the organization and my new uniform and warm-up pants are skinny. They make my legs look like twigs. I love them! The race was very well organized as well and us elites got some nice perks. A very good experience and I hope to go back.
I will take a lot from this race. I have figured out how to do the time change. I am going to stay on BC time and just get up super early on the day of the race. I was not tired for the race at all and actually felt really good. I also feel like my taper was good as well. I was fresh on the start line and felt physically good for the race. The major issue for me was mental. I am not worried about this. This race lit the fire. I can see where I should be and I am kicking myself for not getting there. That is the fuel I need.
The rest of the weekend was splendid. I went downtown after the race and relaxed, had a great dinner at a cozy Italian restaurant with delicious food and great wine then went to a grungy hipster bar to celebrate a stranger's birthday. After only 2 hours sleep, a long flight and an easy run I am beyond exhausted.
Next race is BC Cross Country Championships in Stanley Park on Halloween. Hopefully I will have my balls back!