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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Race Recap: 2011 Really Chilly Road Race 10km

February is coming to a close today and what better way to seal it up than with my first road race of the year. The Really Chilly Road Race is an annual event in London that dates back many years, but recently changed hands last year to be picked up by the Runner's Choice London Honda Series.

My week leading up to the race was nothing out of the ordinary. I logged a solid workout on Tuesday, feeling, for the first time in months, like I had legs that could move quickly. I had a stellar workout that was punctuated with a rather serious ankle sprain that took 2-3 days to heal well.  I took a few days rest before the 10km and had slept well the nights leading up the race.

Everything throughout the week pointed to me putting in a solid effort come this morning, and when I woke up I felt fresh and rested. I had a simple breakfast, had a slightly unsettled stomach but cast that aside as pre-race jitters. Little did I know if would come back to foil my plans mid race.

The weather this morning was near perfect for late February, -4C with a light dusting of snow that fell over night...though there was a fine misty snow falling. Just enough to make running in glasses a royal pain in the ass, I just didn't realize this till my warmup prior to the race.

Props to Mr. Song for snapping this picture of me at the start!

We got to the Western Fair in plenty of time, but I miscalculated how long I should warmup for and got the start line only 2 minutes prior to the gun going off.  I didn't think much of it, and waited patiently for the horn to sound. WEEEHHHHHHHHHHH! And we were off.

The first few kilometers included me getting settled into the pace I wanted to run, and a pesky out and back 500m jaunt that I cursed.  Thankfully, that was out of the way early and we wouldn't have to do it again. The first 2km felt fine. My legs were moving easily and my breathing was very relaxed.  I came through 2km at about 7:22, but the third km was far from stellar as I came through in just a hair under 11:20.  It was at this point that I started to realize something wasn't right and I began to fight off the urge to find the nearest restroom for the unrest that was brewing within me.

The 4th and 5th kilometers were more of the same painful cramping and I came through at 5km in 19:02. Definitely not what I had expected, but seeing that gave me hope that I could hold on bravely for a sub 38:00 effort. Maybe, just maybe.  Well, as I hit 6km it quickly became clear that if I didn't find a restroom ASAP I would be running in extremely filthy pants. 7km came by at 27 flat and I slowed to a shuffle as I wondered if I could keep running in this kind of abdominal pain.

Somehow, I shuffled through the 7th and 8th kms and found some semblance of my legs into the 9th km. I managed to muster up all the energy I hadn't yet spent due to my stomach cramps and closed off the final kilometer in style.

I crossed the finish line in 38:38, a whole 38 seconds slower than what I had considered as my 'good' effort time. I instantly felt down about the whole ordeal after the race, and though the race didn't go to plan I should still look at it for positives.  After all, it was my season opener and my irritated stomach certainly played a part in my focus and speed, but I still clocked my fastest 10km time on the roads since my return to the sport.  Today's race has validated all the miles I've run over the winter (my first winter base phase of training EVER) and to see a solid result like this, over a distance I loathe and so early in the season, gives me hope for things to come. I'm pretty sure that from now on, if there is a 5km option to a race, I'm opting for it. Screw these painful 10km road races, at least when they are XC races the scenery is enjoyable.

Wow, that's a pretty smile you've got sweetie!

On another note, my wife Melanie raced her first 10km race today in preparation for her half marathon she has scheduled in early May. She had a goal of coming under 70minutes and she nailed it, coming in at 68:46. I don't think I've ever seen her so happy and it made me proud. She's worked so hard since last November and she deserves every ounce of pride she's earned.

Well, I'll be back in the saddle tomorrow, my legs are no more sore than they typically are after a hard Saturday workout.

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