After coming down with a cold last week, I took it extra easy on Thursday and Friday. When I woke up on Saturday, I decided I was feeling good enough to run (but not race) the Toronto Women's 10K.
We headed to Sunnybrook early for race-day kit pick-up. Last year we got awesome Lululemon race shirts, but this year they switched to caps. They aren't bad, but it's still a bit of a disappointment and not something I will likely wear often. The full size bottle of Immunity FX, on the other hand, was a major score; especially given my current condition!
I can eat these like candy, right?
After hanging around for a while and looking for some friends who were also running, it was soon time to line up. I kept my jacket on until the last minute because there was a nice chill in the air.
After some urging from hubs, I decided to move a little closer to the front. I was feeling pretty relaxed about it, but I didn't want to start off dodging people and weaving all over the place. At this point, I knew I was in no condition for a PR (and had no intention to try!) but I hoped I could still pull off a decent time. I planned to play it by ear, see how I felt and use that as a gauge to determine whether or not I could handle a long run the following day.
Off we go!
Naturally, I was too fast out of the gates. I glanced down to see a 4:30/KM (7:14/mi) pace several times during the first kilometre and concentrated on reeling it in. Unfortunately I realized after it was too late that I had left my handheld with hubs. Doh!
KM 1 - 4:47
My throat was already feeling dry (likely from coughing so much in the previous days and even that morning) and I really regretted not having my own water. Thankfully we hit the famed water station hosted by firefighters at 2K. It was a nice touch.
I had also forgotten my sunglasses (gah!) which resulted in a nice squint for these photos snapped near the beginning of the race.
KM 2 - 4:48
We were running along the paved paths through the park. It was open to the public, but luckily there didn't seem to be too many people out and those who were cleared the way. We ran over several bridges, some with speed bumps (ouch) - all of which was familiar from when I've run the half marathon and 5K previously.
At 3K there was an short but steep climb followed by a sharp turn; we ran down the other side, but it was too steep to feel good. I was still feeling alright; no coughing spells, which I was most worried about.
KM 3 - 5:00
Around 4K we got to see the leaders running back toward the finish. I was ecstatic to see that my physiotherapist was in first place!* I gave her a little cheer and enjoyed watching all of the leading ladies as I made my way to the turn-around.
KM 4 - 4:50
We ran downhill to the 180-degree turn around. The sharp turn around a pylon killed some momentum, especially when followed immediately by a climb back up the hill. At least we were on the way back!
KM 5 - 4:55
I enjoyed looking out for friends headed the other way and it offered a good distraction. I was tiring and trying hard not to slow down.
KM 6 - 4:55
The most noticeable climb on the elevation chart above (with the map) came at 7K and it wore me down. I slowed pretty significantly and couldn't seem to find any steam after that.
KM 7 - 4:59
Just after 7K, the 5K'ers joined in from their turn around point. The pack was moving a lot slower than we were (they had started 15 mins. later) and it immediately became congested as I wove my way through. I even ran off the path on the grass several times to avoid a traffic jam.
KM 8 - 5:11
I was drained at this point and wishing I had taken it easier, telling myself I was too sick to be running this fast. I was tormented by all the usual thoughts that arise toward the end of a race when you're suffering; I even considered stopping for a walk.
KM 9 - 5:12
Finally, with one kilometre to go and the finish line within ear shot, I found something in the tank to pick it up. My friend Patricia snapped this pic as I made my way toward the finish. Finally smiling.
The following photos were also taken on the home stretch as I worked on passing the 5K'ers in purple bibs.
Official Chip Time: 49:18.7
Average Pace: 4:56/KM = 7:56/mi
Overall Pace: 28/332
Gender Place: 28/331 (yes, there was one male)
It certainly wasn't my best 10K race performance (now I'm itching for another 10K this season for redemption), but I'll call it a good effort and a decent tempo pace.
Stay tuned to find out how the long run went this morning!
*My PT went on to win the race in 37:03!