Monday, July 20, 2009

Acura 10 miler race report

Kim and Me after the 10 miler

Acura 10 Mile Race Report
Sunday morning arrived way to early at our house. Finally after a month of training my butt off it was time to hit a race course and see if I could have a good race after last months 5k fiasco. A quick weather check online said little wind, no rain, 14 degrees out. Holy cow talk about great running weather for mid July.

I ran this race last year in very hot, humid 32 degree sauna like conditions. Looks like the running gods were looking out for us this time... or were they?

Left the house to get down to the race an hour and a half ahead of time. 30-45 minutes to get there by TTC bus (its a 15 minute drive by car) so lots of time for getting bagcheck and a warm up. Yeah right.

The bus turned out into a huge ordeal with an extra bus change due to part of Queen street being closed down for a fire I think. What should have been an easy commute became a hour long journey. If I didnt have a race I could have run to the race site and run back home again in the same time it took us to get to Distillry race site. Hence I have made a new racing vow. No more TTC to get to a races in Toronto. Next time I will be taking a TAXI!! I am just going to head off that transportion headache from now on. The extra stress on top of race stress is just not needed.

Finally got to the race site with only 30 minutes to the starting gun. Now this might seem like a long time but I still needed to check my bag, get my timing chip, warm up and suddenly I felt a pressing need to hit a washroom. No way all this was happening in 30 minutes unless. ARRRGGGH!!

As I was making my way towards the timing chips I ran into fellow running blogger Caroline .. see her blog here. Well actually she saw me as I was lost in my own little mental fret world. Nice to meet you Caroline. Sorry I probably looked dazed and confused when you saw me. Wish I could have chatted more with you. It’s always cool to see people in person that you only know from blog world. I am always amazed that there are people that actually read this thing beside my mother and my spouse and they kind of have to cause I might quiz them on it later.

So got my chip, checked the bag (tick , tick, tick went the clock) and headed to the washroom. Now it’s a really good thing that I am from Toronto and have been to the Distillery a few times before because the line up for the porta potties was huge. I mean MASSIVE. If I had of had to wait in that line I would have been crapping in my pants both figuratively and literally. Luckily I knew a little secret. Well maybe not a secret per say but it almost seemed like one. I actually knew where the sites normal washrooms where so I went there. Guess what, no line up. No muse no fuss, George Costanzia would have been so proud of me. One of the very few complaints I have about this race was if your going to run a race with 3000 you need to have more then 10 porta poties.

Heading out for a warm up with only 10 minutes to race time. Second race in a row that I have not gotten my full warm up in. Last time it was the races fault but this time it was all on me. I have run enough races to know exactly what my body needs to warm up and run well and 10 minutes is not it. I normally do a 20 minute warm up which for me seems to be the minimum I need to function well. Oh well got nobody to blame but myself this time (stupid TTC). Saw fellow Longboater Rob Campbell warming up as well so joined him for a run. After a brief warm up I headed to the starting corral where I ran into Longboater Robert Hanks, who I am often paired up with to do track work. Chatted with him a bit, Robs a bit faster then me so I knew I would fall behind him once the gun went off. Then it was time to race.

The race
Last year I ran this race in 1:22:12 and my plan was to crush that time. I am in a lot better shape then I was back then so figured that I should PB no problem. Usually I have three race goals / targets which are:
1. The perfect day at a speed that I have no business running pace.
2. The this is what I should do if it all goes well pace.
3. The I struggled out there but still did alright pace.
I never plan on the wow that really sucked pace although that does occasionally happen.

For this race that would be sub 1:15 (not likely), 1:116 to 1:17 (got to be a good day), sub 1:20 (rats). What I really wanted to do was run a race average pace of 7:37 a mile over the course of the race (that will get me a sub 1:40 in the HM).

Gun when off and away we went. I was in the right corral but as always others were not. Spent a minute or two getting free of the slower in the wrong starting area runners and then tried to settle into pace. I could feel that I was to fast but felt really good so didn’t panic. The race course is very flat so wasn’t too worried about it. First mile clocked in at 7:12 … to fast but manageable so I started to adjust from there. Mile 2 was still a bit too quick at 7:20 so I reined it in a little more and settled down into a 7:30 pace by mile 3. Heart rate was right on the threshold (161 for me).

First three miles went well and where pretty uneventful. There were a couple of quirky little things however. Man the things you sometimes see in a race. Just after I hit the 2 mile mark I saw a guy up ahead of me. He was huffing and puffing big time. He was also doing that thing. You know that thing I am talking about. Anyone who has done any kind of distance racing has heard it or done it. He was loudly talking to himself (he might have had headphones on) trying to motivate himself by saying things like come on, keep it going. Now nothing wrong with this except that he was 2 miles into a 10 mile race and he was on the verge of collapsing. Yikes, I felt kind of bad for the guy as I was pretty sure he would be walking soon. In fact I felt so bad for the guy that I passed him as quickly as I could and never looked back.

Second quirky thing was that I ended up bunched up with a small group going about the same pace as I was. Usually that is great except that one of them was a gasper. I hung in there for a while but after a mile or two of listening to that constant gasping for breath I decided I needed to speed up a bit or slow down for a minute and get out of that pack. I speed up. BTW they passed me around mile 6 so I just let him go. Hope I don’t sound that bad but maybe I do.
Hit the 5 mile mark at 37:22. SWEET. Still felt pretty good but my HR was up at 164 which is heading for Anaerobic land for me. I knew the real tough part of the race was still to come. Once my HR starts to creep there is only 2 choices try to hold the pace with ever increasing intensity or intentional slow down and try to regroup. I am almost always a hold the line and if you blow up you blow up kind of guy so I decided to try and hold the pace.

Mile 6 flew by in no time I was still on pace but was starting to hurt. Then just as I started mile 7 I saw Longboater (and track coach) George H. running out along the course in the opposite direction to me. George had been working as a volunteer on the 5k race which was now finished.

Actually I should mention that a good number of Longboat members were volunteering at this race. It’s always nice to see so many friendly faces along the route. If you ran in this race you also would have gotten the flyer for the 10k race that our club puts on in September in Toronto. The flyer is super colourful, shiny and glossy. Kind of like the type of thing that one of the Price Is Right Girls might be holding up and stroking. It’s Fabulous! That’s right I said it… Fabulous. If you didn’t get the flyer don’t worry you can still sign up for the race. Check out the super duper excellent website here.
THIS RACE REPORT HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE GOOD PEOPLE AT THE TORONTO ISLAND RACE. Hey Race Director Lynn how’s that for shameless self promotion?

Where was I again? Oh yes I saw George. So George joined me, asked me how it was going and what pace I was trying to hold. Then he offered to pace me for a while. I was more then happy to take him up on the offer. Ran the next mile with my ever increasing HR now a chest pounding 168 (my max is 178) but still kept a steady pace. The final 2 miles were a different story. Slowed down some as I was redlining big time and my legs just would not go any faster. The world is full of oxygen yet I could not seem to get any into my lungs. Just tried to focus on staying with George as best as I could and ignore the pain.

I want to say here that the last 1.5 miles of the race were the hardest I have ever run in a race. It seemed like time (and my legs) were standing still. How could time be moving this slowly, where is Stephen Hawking to explain this to me. I have never hurt like this in my life. Truth is I have hurt like this in every single race that I have run well in. Doesn’t matter the distance if I ran it right I am leaving it all on the course and near imploding at the finish. If I don’t think I might throw up right after the finish line I just was not running hard enough. The greatest thing about it is I will soon forget how much I was hurting. I will remember that I was hurting but not what that really felt like. Good thing too or I probably wouldn’t race again.

Then like just like that there was the finish line and I was done.

Post Race
Finished in a time of 1:16:16 PBing by 6 minutes with a pace of 7:35 per mile overall. Kim finished in a time of 1:49:09 which was a really good time for her. She had a very good race as well.

This was a great day for racing. I expect I will do this race again next year as long as it fits into my training schedule. Big thanks to George H. Also a big thanks to Rob C. and Anne B. for having us up to their place after the race too eat all their food and drink all their beer and wine.


  1. That is one GRIPPING race report! Well done.

    So am I wrong or did the southbound portion of the spit have a gentle uphill grade?

  2. Very entertaining report. Congratulations to both you and Kim on finishing. Nice medal too. :)

  3. I think I know the washroom by the way-in a building where Soma used to be before it moved? Next to a food/coffee place?

    It felt uphill to me and thn slighly downhil on the northbound leg but yumke's graph says no.

    I noticed you a got your HR right up there-I'm older so I hit my max-not sure that's good/worth the better time.

  4. Excellent report. I admire your details, I can never recall details of anything when I write race reports. Kick ass job on getting the PB!

  5. Thanks for the report! I can't get over how gorgeous those medals are. I hope you wore it into work on Monday :)

  6. Congrats on a great run! And yes that was some shameless Longboat promotion, but I'll let you slide this time. ;)

  7. congrats! excellent job on the pr! well-earned :) enjoyed your race report-very detailed. enjoy basking in the glow of your sweet pr!

  8. Congrats on the PR! Very nice race reports; very detailed!

  9. When I woke up to a cool, overcast morning on Sunday I thought 'Damn, I should be racing that 10-miler today!'

    Congratulations on the HUGE PR! Awesome time.

    Thanks for your comments/suggestions on my post. I'd like to do the Boxing Day run again but will be out of town this Christmas.

    I'd run Hamilton, but the hubby is running his first full and I want to be his support crew. That was a brutal wind off the lake last year!

  10. Chris! What a wonderful report and description of the race, not the mention a fantastic PB! Congratulations.

    I ran this race as a training run and so didn't get to experience the last 1.5 miles in the same state as you, but reading your report it makes me a bit envious really. There is something missing in my result, even though I hit all of my goals and such.

    I also agree with you on the whole porta-potty thing, and the corrals were a joke. I had to line up with a bunch of others OUTSIDE of the red corral and then sneak in as the crowd started to move simply because there were too many people lining up in the wrong spot. They seem to put too much stress on that gun time and their final standings, or something. One guy I passed in the last 4k and beat to the finish had the exact same gun and chip time! I mean, seriously! Elite my ass...

  11. Great running! Real racing is when you leave it all on the course and you did, congratulations on the PR! Excellent report, too.

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  13. Great job blowing your PB out of the water! even thought there can be some annoying folks at races, it's always entertaining to people watch when I'm not off in la la land...

    Nice medal as well!

  14. awesome job on the race and PB! sounds like a great day.

  15. Awesome job! I agree, the last few miles in a tough race can seem sooo long. Nice job pushing through! Ana-Maria

  16. Love the race report.

    Must apologize for jumping out of nowhere at you guys as you were running to check your bags! I had arrived rather early since I was driving in from out of the city and was worried about parking. Ended up the opposite of your situation, with too much time on my hands. So, when you guys walked by, I was surprised and couldn't help saying hi, but then realized it must've been sorta weird like who Is this cyberspace person!

    Anyhow, can't believe last year was so much hotter. We really were lucky this year.

  17. Congratulations to the both of you! Thats a wonderful medal! Keep running! Make it work everytime! ; )

  18. Wow, what a super medal for a 10 miler! Congratulations.

  19. It is funny how races go, when I first started running and racing 7 years ago, I ran my first HM without training for that distance.

    My longest race at that point was a 10K and I was running a lot of 5ks. Anyway in training My longest run was 8 miles (though I ran it at close to race pace for the 10k)

    Back then I didn't know what I was doing and ran all my runs at race pace with a kick at the end.

    I entered the half marathon with no idea how to run it, so I raced it like a 10k. I ran 1:37:26 ----a speedy 7:26 pace and I was a bit disapointed because I thought I should have been able to run faster than that. I actually ran the first 6 miles at 7 min pace.

    The point being here is that since then, I learned how to train properly yet I have never run the half as fast. Makes me wonder, you know.....perhaps I knew the key to sucess back then but didn't realize it.

    By the way, those are great looking medals, congrats.

  20. Congrats on the great race! It sounds like you were able to make the pre-race hassles go away in time to have a great day.

    Congrats again.

  21. That's some nice bling for a 10K! Sweeeeet!

    I hate it when there aren't enough porta potties...grrrrr.

    Congrats on the PR! Excellent race report!


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