I like the MEC Races, they’re bare bones kind of races, the whole event is really just about why we’re there, there’s no t-shirt, race kit or medal when you’re done, there’s just a bib, your chip and a banana. A group of a few hundred runners out there doing what they love to do. Very fast. It can be intimidating but also inspiring.
MEC Burlington Race 2 was the first of their road races of the season and my 4th MEC race so far. MEC Race 1 this year had some congestion in the morning at bib pick-up and they apologised and said they would work on correcting the issue but also asked runners to pick-up their bibs at the store the day or two before to help. Since the store is pretty much on my route home, I stopped in Friday night to get my bib.
Friday was not a good day for my legs and I was a bit worried for Saturday. I’m still coming out of recovery from my Half and while I don’t feel sore from it, I can tell on my runs my legs are still getting tired faster than they should. Add that with the bit of yoga and strength training I added back in this week, as well as a hilly run on Thursday. My legs were not at their best, my calf was really tight as well. I also haven’t been sleeping so great lately, reduced milage is really having an effect on me in that sense. So all things combined, not the best race situation. But I was still ready to go.
Saturday I woke up had some breakfast and headed to Confederation Park where the race was. I picked-up my shoe chip timer and got it on and waited for some friends to arrive, all people I’ve met through the MEC Meet-up Runs. At 9 we watched the Half Marathoners take off, a couple people from the group were using it as a training run. At 9:10 we were up, we started with the 5k group as well so when the gun went off it was a bit crazy try to make sure you didn’t run over a little kid.
The race started in the parking lot and we did a little bit of a loop in there before heading out to the road, where we took it all the way down past the campsite and then got on the waterfront trail. From there we stayed on the trail at 4k the 5k split off to had back to the lot so it was just the 10k group left on the path. The half marathoners were spending extra time near the park so they were all behind us. I was feeling pretty good for most the run. The temperature was great, that had been a concern as the humidity was going to kick in at some point that day. But the breeze coming from the lake kept everything fresh and cool. I’d brought my water with me anyways just in case. I knew from past race experiences that when I start to suffer in any way, water is what I want most and I wanted to PR this race. I did end up taking a couple sips from it but I didn’t actually need it, the water stations were well placed. On a hotter day though I would have wanted more water.
So I was feeling pretty good, my calf wasn’t an issue for the run since the course was flat, I checked my pace a few times to make sure I was where I needed to be. My initial strategy was to start off slow, get in to my pace in the second km, and then pick it up towards the end. It sort of worked. My first km was 5:41, bit fast for me bit slightly slower than what I needed on average and I held back which is the most important thing. My next few km were in the 5:30’s right where I wanted to be. I would check my pace, make sure I was where I needed to be but still with the feeling that I could push faster to be sure I was holding back. This went well for the first 5k, I did the first 5k in 28:15, right on pace for a 56 minute 10k though I did not know it at the time as I did not check total time at all on my run. And then things got hard, as I’m approaching 6k all I could think about was the turn around, I knew from the 5k turn around point we’d be turning at 6.5 k, so I knew it wasn’t terribly close. But still, I was starting to suffer. I wanted that turn around, my plan was to pick it up after the turn around and finish strong. So allowed myself to slip just slightly in my pace into the 5:40’s so I could gather the energy to finish strong. Turn around point finally in my sights. I tried to force my mind full of positive energy to finish strong. But I’ve turned around and my legs are feeling heavy. I try to pick it up a bit but I can’t get my legs to move I see my pace slip into the 6’s but I think, it’s okay. I’ve had a strong race so far I can pick it up again close to the end. I thought in the last 2k I’ll pick it up, well km 9 ended up being my slowest one during the race at 6:09 but I did manage to pick it up a bit on the last km. but no very much. Like all races when you’re tired, the last km felt very long. We’d headed off the water front path for this and were on the road, I kept thinking the turn into the parking lot wasn’t much farther… but it felt so far. When I finally saw the runners ahead of me make a turn I was so relieved and only then was I able to find the energy and power in my legs to pick it up. As I’m within 25-50m from the finish I can see the clock. 58 minutes. I was gutted, I though how much better and faster I ran this race than my last 10k, even with the slow down near the end, I’d had that too in my last 10k but so much worse. I couldn’t understand how I didn’t manage to beat 58 minutes. But I took that all made a strong sprint across the finish.
After the race I hung with a couple friends who finished before me, got my banana and they also had cliff bar samples and Nuun as well. Major score. I thought about waiting for our other friends doing the half to finish but I was feeling chilly now that the race was over in my tank top with the wind still coming off the lake so I headed home.
While disappointed in my time, I still ran a great race and got to hang with some friends, well worth the $15!
Garmin discrepancies – not sure what to make of this. After feeling so confused with my time on this 10k since I ran is so much better than my last. I check my Garmin. My last 10k my Garmin only recored 9.75KM. That’s a BIG difference for being only 10. Even for half marathons my watch is usually only off by 100m, and generally longer rather than shorter. At the time, and even more so now; this makes me wonder if the course was actually short on that race. It was a small race as well. According to my Garmin I did this 10k with a 5:48 average pace (10.11km) and my last at a 5:59 average pace (9.75km). My gut says the course was short on the first, I mapped it on gmap and only got 9.64. On the website the half and 3k course for that race have their certification numbers but there’s nothing for the 10k course. So I’m putting this down at a win anyways, even though I feel I should have been able to do it faster, it just wasn’t going to happen yesterday, legs were not up for it.