Sunday, May 22, 2016

Bluenose 10km - May 2016

Well it has been awhile since I had a race and with my Achilles issues, I kind of had hoped that I might have a little more time to recover.  Sadly that wasn't to be and race day appeared.

This week I had been able to get a few runs in with out issue, though they were short, a max of 5km on the Friday with a couple of kilometers at pace was my best run. So I knew I could run, I just wasn't totally sure how far I could get before the old Achilles decided I would be done.

Race day. Perfect weather, 12 Celsius and no wind with overcast skies. I arrived about 15 minutes early and relied on walking fast as my warm up.  A quick picture session with my sister (also running the 10km) helped lighten the mood and take my mind off of my issue.

Soon we were lined up and ready to run. A few friends were toeing the line with me.

And we were off. The first kilometer I hung with the main group (about 10 of us). It was slightly downhill so I knew it would be fast, but a 3:09 when I glanced at my Garmin said, slow down!

I slowed it down a bit, and held my position. Ideally I knew my idea of a 36 minute 10km were not going to be, but I still had hopes of holding onto a sub 38 minute run. For that I knew I just had to pace correctly and as the entire final 2/3rds of this run were going to be mostly uphill, I couldn't overcook things in the first 1/3rd.

I was comfortable and through 5km in 18:23, which was great considering that this included the worst of the hills. I slowly worked passed two other runners as they started to fade and pulled a gap. My Achilles was still feeling fine, but I could definitely feel my endurance slipping.

As I held on through the next kilometer I finally made it back to the main final stretch, which was a step ladder of hills back to the finish line. Drew was in front of me and pulling away, but that was fine. I was just happy to still be running pain free.

Pain free yes, but not without some effort. I wasn't wearing my heart rate monitor today but I knew the effort was climbing into the top end of Zone 4 by this point. I kept pushing as best as I could up and up the hills. My overall pace was slipping as a result of the hills and my lack of any real running in the last few weeks. But the work I had done in the first 5 kilometers was holding my overall pace high.

Then just to add a little insult, as you enter the final kilometer, you hit a nasty little climb.

But hey, I still looked good. And while my legs were running out of steam, my heart and breathing weren't too bad. My Achilles was just starting to tighten now, but wasn't hurting and had't moved into my plantar region, like it had in a few longer training runs a few weeks back. The tightness was high enough that I was pretty sure it wasn't going to affect things by this point.

As you approach the end, a crazy steep downhill is your reward with a huge crowd and a man in a banana suit (sorry no picture). Then a cruel corner and a 200 ish meter uphill again. At this point I had enough energy in the tank to finish on pace and was glad I didn't have to duke it out with anyone.

I crossed the line at 37:48. Not a PB but still sub 38 minutes and turns out 7th overall and 1st in my age group. That means free entrance into next years race. So, yay!

My wife and sister both had great races as well. Smiles all around.

Hours later, my calves feel fine, my Achilles has a little friction, but no pain. I will take it easy for a few days, then start some short runs to rebuild strength as well as continue my rehab. Glad to see things are going to be okay, and I know the overall speed and fitness will come back.

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