……around the Toronto Zoo. I raced in the Zoo Run/National 10k Road Champs yesterday. I ended up 3rd behind Kip Kangogo from Lethbridge, AB and the Destroyer who hails from Guelph, ON and the Fast Stream T&F club. I knew this one was going to be a really tough go for me. First off it was the first time I’d tried the travel from West to East and raced so soon after arriving. Secondly, racing while training for marathons can be tricky and sometimes pretty risky (in terms of racing poorly and screwing up the remaining weeks of training with some injury resulting from the race). But at the same time I thought I was pretty fit and had a legitimate shot at winning the race.
I figured between Rob’s love for hammering races from the gun and a stellar group of Africans in there, that it was going to be fast straight away. Funnily enough I may have gotten too pumped up for the quick early running as I found myself in the lead after 100m. I wasn’t completely comfortable in that spot, but I wasn’t exactly throwing the hammer down so I just tried to go what I thought was a reasonable pace until we hit a 180 degree turn just before 1km. At that point I decided to put the breaks on and let someone else lead. Rob went to the front and I ran either tucked in behind or on his shoulder until we started zig-zagging through the zoo at around 2k. Rob kept forcing the pacing up (and down) some hills between 2-4k and widdled the lead pack down him, Kip Kangogo and I. I knew the pace was quick for me, but had no idea of splits, for the first time in a race in quite I while I was not concerned about time at all, just placing. I was getting pretty tired with all of the twists and turns which meant constantly surging, not to mention Rob’s insistence on keeping the pace high. I got dropped by Rob and Kip around 5.5k up the biggest hill on the course. I tried to stay focused at that point and not look back and just keep those two guys in front as close as possible. Rob got dropped by Kip a few minutes later and I tried to capitalize and reel Rob in. But, despite several times getting within a few meters of him I could not get on his shoulder or past him. In the end he beat me by about 5 seconds with Kip another 15 in front. The last 3k were miserable, as I kept going back and forth between fleeting moments of feeling great and thinking I was going to catch Rob, to much longer lasting moments of feeling absolutely terrible and wanting to just stop altogether. Admittedly the $ that was on the line did keep me motivated to stick with it those last few minutes of the race.
I was definitely disappointed not to be able to win the race or the Canadian Championships. But, at the same time I was happy enough to get through the race with moderate success and still in a positive frame of mind, and I think my body is still in one piece.
So, now it’s back to Vancouver for several more weeks of high mileage and long workouts. Hopefully this rain that everyone out west keeps warning me about holds off!
Oh, one last positive from the race, I (and I hope everyone else) managed not to get lost on the warm-up this year!