Monday, May 3, 2010
I stood up with a couple of minutes to go and moved forwards with the final surge of bodies as the organizers allowed us to move up to the starting line and people packed in closer with anticipation. With the sound of the horn I prepared myself for the pain that I would feel with a sudden jump to an elevated heart rate. I crossed the start line at 8:05 and gradually made my way through the pack just as David Frake had showed me last fall. I kept a controlled even and steady pace and fortunately I did not feel the pain that had I expected to. I looked down at my heart rate after one km and was happy to see 153, which confirmed how I felt; in control.
After about 2km of what seemed like a steady pace, I wondered if I would see Ming. I knew that Ming had been posting some good times in training and that he liked to start right on the line, so I was not sure if I would see him. Last year Ming and I ran together for most of the race including a wild sprint to the finish. As I cleared a few more runners who had gone out too quickly, there was Ming just 30 meters in front of me. I felt an urge to speed up and pass him, but controlled the urge and kept a steady pace knowing that it would serve me better in the end.
It’s a great feeling to be running down Yonge Street with no cars on it, cruising through all the lights. My legs were feeling good and my heart rate was higher yet still under control near 165. My feet were starting to bother me on the outside of my arches as I could feel a blister forming – one per foot. I was wearing my super light Zoot racing shoes that feel like slippers. The only problem was that I had not trained in them and my feet were clearly not ready for the pounding. I ignored the pain in my feet the best I could, searching out flatter road, while keeping Ming in site.
As I turned right on Richmond and off of Yonge after 7km I still felt okay, but began to doubt whether I could catch Ming or not. The sounds of the reggae band that was playing on the south side of the street gave me a burst of energy which I used to pass a few runners and close the gap with Ming. Of course I suffered after the burst and fought to maintain my pace while my HR rose to near peak. With a left turn on Peter Street, I no longer felt in command of my race and began whishing for the final KM’s to disappear quickly. I focused on my breathing and my stride and began to close in on Ming who appeared to be suffering a bit, which I judged by watching 3-4 runners passed him by.
With about 1.5 km to go I reached a decision point, I could hang out just behind Ming and beat him at the finish or I could pass him now and inspire him to speed up. I opted for the later as the first strategy seemed dickish; Ming is my friend who I want to see succeed. As I ran even with Ming I said “You know it!” to let him know exactly who it was. I had been following him for almost 30 minutes, but he had no idea that I was there. I then said “Stay with me” as I went by him. Ming was clearly inspired as he found another gear and took off past me. I sped up as well, and raced in to the finish behind Ming with a net time of 35:35, five seconds faster that my time from last year.
I ended up in 51st place overall and 10th among men 40-44. I finished a couple seconds ahead of Ming’s net time based on having started 5 seconds later than him. It was amazing and inspiring to race so closely with Ming two years in a row. The blisters on my feet were incredibly sore for the rest of the day but felt much better the following morning. I feel great about the result as it is such a positive indicator about the upcoming triathlon season. I have done considerably less run training this winter compared with last but was able to best my last year’s time; even if it was by only 5 seconds. The result provided me with further confirmation of a positive training strategy. I was even able to lower my average Heart Rate by one beat from 165 to 164; not much of a difference yet still good.