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New 10k PB! 37:29

I ran a 10k last Sunday in Sainte-Marie, Quebec and pulled out a new personal best. Although I don’t really run very many 10k races, it was nice to finally pull out a decent time. Even though I’ve been training with the Laval University Running Club since 2007, I never could best my 10k time from 2008 of 38:20. I always knew I was in better shape than 2008 as my 21.1k time was steadily decreasing but every time I would try a 10k there would be terrible conditions, an extremely tough course or some other factor that would cause me to perform terribly. There was no other way to explain it. I mean, my best 21.1k race from 2009 (1:20:48) has the exact same pace as my 10k from 2008 (3:51/km). I knew in my heart I could run faster than 38 min, I could just never man up and get it done.

Enter the 10k in Sainte-Marie, 12 June 2011. Conditions were admittedly tough. It had been raining all morning and there was a strong wind coming from who knows where. Everyone knew it was going to be a slow course that day but I was out to give a good effort despite running my 21.1k in Ottawa just 2 weeks prior.

Julie had just run her first race ever. She ran an emotional 5k that really tested both her mental and physical toughness. Although, I tried to warn her about starting too fast, it was inevitable. The pull of the other racers, the seemingly easy starting pace and the adrenaline are hard to ignore. Admittedly she started too fast then hit the pain wall about half way through. Although she was ready to quit right then and there, her mom and I showed no sympathy and she found the energy to continue. I knew she was hurting and I knew the type of pain she was feeling, but I couldn’t let her give up or I knew she would have regretted it later on. Instead, she finished the race without one step of walking and was happy she did it.

For me, I found the 10k very tough. Despite the course description saying it was 90% flat, we all found out it was a total lie. After the first 2 flat kilometers, the course went into a 4km gentle climb, or “faux plat” in French. Not only did the climb start killing our legs, but we had about a 15-25km headwind. My only goal was to hang within our small group of about 5 runners to help shield myself from that wretched wind. The lead guys in the pack were exchanging positions in the front to help everyone out. Although I wanted to jump in-front to help out, my legs were too wasted to move up. Really I was just holding on for dear life, knowing that if I dropped out of the group, I would be alone to face the wind myself and have an even worse time of it.

Finally we turned the corner after that horrible 4km uphill and we had the benefit of the reverse gentle downhill. The group started to separate and one of the guys I train with, Terry, zoomed ahead. He was playing very conservative during the uphill and now he was finding his stride. Knowing I wouldn’t be able to keep up, I let him go, trying to stay close to Micheal, other guy I train with, who I know is usually stronger than me. He too would eventually push slowly ahead. 1km left and I open the afterburners. I quickly past Jean at 500m. I think he burnt himself out a bit leading the group for a short period on the uphill. The seemly large gap between myself and Micheal is closing. 100m left and I’m only a couple seconds behind. Exhausted, I couldn’t make any more progress and I cross the finish line. 12th overall and 2nd in my age group (20-29). Good times overall, but man, I’m glad it’s over!

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