My result - 44:52 (994/10,762 overall, 166/792 Men 30-34)
I'm delighted! My previous 10K was my first ever running race, so I knew a Personal Best was in the cards. I thought I had an outside shot at a sub-45:00 finish...
Bombing down Yonge Street into the heart of downtown Toronto, ending at historic Fort York. A fast 10K, predominantly downhill. A great place to set a personal best!
The atmosphere was amazing. I was near the front at the start, looking back at the sea of over 10,000 runners, it gave me goosebumps. The entire run I was surrounded by people, but I never felt all that impeded, everyone around me was moving quick.
The bands were cool, the spectators were encouraging, weather was fantastic, I don't think you can find a much better 10K race to run!
I wanted a sub-45:00 time. That was my goal. I didn't know if I had it in me, but I was going for it, and I knew it was going to hurt to get there.
My original plan was to stick with my buddy who has a Garmin and pace off of him, but in the excitement of the start I got ahead and was pretty content just running my own race. I found a pace I thought was fast but comfortable, but when I hit 1K at 4:10 I knew I was going a bit too quick. It's deceiving with the downhills, I didn't know if I was quick because of the downhill or because I went out too fast...
Then my shoelace came undone. I couldn't believe it, that's never happened to me before. I usually run with loose laces, so I made the decision to let it be for the time being and keep my pace up.
I missed the 2K marker so I didn't get another time until 3K, which was 8:30 (4:15/km average). Too fast! I was trying to pull it back but I didn't want to give away the free speed from the hills.
5K came at 21:37 - a new 5k personal best! Too fast. But this was about when the downhills would end and the real work would begin. I started to fight to be close to my 4:30 target pace. By 7K I was starting to really feel it, I let the pace drop a bit trying to find my mojo. Near 8K I decided it was a good time to take care of that lace, lost about 10-15s but mentally that little break helped reset me.
The Final Kilometer
I hit 9K at 40:40 - I knew I had to find a 4:20 kilometer to save this thing and pull off the 45:00.
This is where the mental games really started, my body was screaming at me to stop or pull back. I told myself "If you don't do this now, you have to wait a whole year to do it. Gut it out!!!". It hurt, bad, but I knew I only had 4 minutes left of hell and then it would be over.
I turned onto Bathurst and crossed the rail tracks, and then there it was: the last downhill, and I could see the finish line. Everything hurt, but it was time to go and go fast! I forced the legs to start turning over faster and faster as I started to pick off runner after runner. A young kid was keeping step with me, we were kind of trading back and forth as we both sprinted past the rest of the field. It was amazing and excruciating at the same time! I finally managed to drop him as we charged into the finishing chute.
Last 100m was lined with spectators, but I barely noticed them, I was focused only on that finish line. I went into that final sprint and just gave it absolutely everything, I knew it was going to be very close. As I charged accross the finish I felt like I was going to throw up or lose bladder control, but somehow in that haze I managed to stop my watch...
And there it was, 44:53. I beat my goal by 7 seconds.
Dizzy, confused, gasping for air... the usual. When you get the most out of yourself it hurts, bad, and I didn't leave much of anything out there today. I gulped down a few cups of Gatorade, then some apple and banana. My energy came back pretty quickly and finally I could enjoy the accomplishment. I turned to my friend and said "well I'm glad I did it today, now I don't have to do this again next year!"... but I know I probably will, and with an even faster time in mind...
Oh, and the medal they gave out was amazing. I didn't expect to get one for a 10k! But they went the extra mile. The entire event was top-notch, the post-race food and entertainment was great, the corrals were well organized, I can't recommend it enough.