I raced at the Canadian 10km road Championships/Oasis Toronto Zoo Run this past Saturday. I went into the race without high expectations, but secretly hoping I had a chance at doing well. Based on my less than ideal prep, because of an ankle injury and life being a bit chaotic over the past month or so, I was happy with my end result of 5th place. The field for this years race was fantastic – far superior to the field when I won this race back in 2007 when it was held in Ottawa.
The morning started off very interestingly as a big group of us (nearly everyone in the ‘elite’ field) got completely lost on our warm-up in the zoo. We tried to follow the course, which was a complete maze and got so turned around. After a few minutes of panic (and 30 minutes of running – way more than a usual pre-race warmup) we made it back to the start area with about 10 minutes to spare.
Early on in the race I found myself in around 5-10th place. I knew it was going to be a tough day out there and I was going to be hurting early on regardless of the pace. So, when a move was made by the leaders around 2.5km I made an effort to cover it, even though I was already hurting. My effort was wasted as I got onto the leaders for about 5 seconds before another big uphill sent me out the back door into about 10th place. At that point I was a little dejected and very tired, I could have easily packed it in there. But, I got back into a groove working with Taylor Milne in 8th and 9th places. I thought a few of the guys that went out with Bairu might start coming back to us, so I tried to keep things going and keep everyone ahead in my sights. At some point past 5km I started to catch Matt Loiselle and but a bit of distance on Milne. I managed to work my way into 5th place by about 6.5km. From there I tried hard to distance myself from the young buck – Loiselle, and the 1500m man – Milne, so as not to get out sprinted in the last few hundred meters. The course was crazy and had so many twists and switchbacks that I was able to see where people ahead and behind were at many points. I threw in a few surges and managed to find myself firmly in 5th place by about 8km. Once on the gravel road – for our first real straight shot of running since the first 2km of the race – I tried to reel in Gillis and Mosely (3rd and 4th), but to no avail, they were running well and competing hard with each other well ahead of me. By 9km I was about 10-15seconds behind those guys and 10-15seconds ahead of 6th, so I just maintained my spot and got to the line.
I think I now have an outside chance at being selected as the alternate for the Chiba Ekiden race on November 23rd in Japan. But, as of writing this I haven’t heard anything. Would be a great opportunity to go, but if I am left at home I won’t lose sleep over it. The big goal for the season is Nationals XC in Guelph on November 28th. I want to try and defend my 3rd place from 2007 and 2008. This will be the toughest year yet – everyone is healthy and guys like Bairu, Coolsaet, Gillis, and Mosely already have a jump on me and word on the street is that the Destroyer and others in Guelph are also flying. So, time to get down to work and get really fit over the next 6 weeks…….
Here is a race report from the race website.