Tuesday, August 23, 2011

More Cowbell! (2011 Rock the Road 10K Race Report)

Sunday August 21st was the inaugural Rock The Road 10K. The day started with lots of humidity but no sun and nearly 300 runners on the starting line. With a $3500 purse available the field was fast. What was also fast was the insane downhill start. Somebody should have requested the first band on the course to play Bruce Coburn's - If I had a Rocket Launcher. So many people were checking their watches at the one kilometer mark and downshifting their pace. My watch beeped off the first klick in 4:03, I smirked knowing that I’d started the watch well before crossing the timing mat.

I was running with Chris P. with hopes of finishing in under 46 minutes in what would be my fourth 10km race. Back in June, I had crumbled after a great Toronto GoodLife half marathon and finished my second Guelph Lake 10K in just over 47 minutes. This time around, I felt strong and in control. The second kilometer was weaving through slowing runners as the race was settling into a rhythm. Still on a bit of downhill along Richmond past Windemere and the over the bridge. We were slower at 4:10 but still well under my goal of an average pace of 4:30.

Rock the Road 10K Elevation
Rock the Road Map
Approaching the 3K mark, the downhill portion of the course was done as we began a slow climb towards Regent Street. This was the only "hill on the course. Chris backed off at the top of the hill while I was still feeling good.  I made the decision to keep opening up and pressed the pace along this short but flatter section. On Friday morning, I had worked on my race plan by running the Regent/William/Huron/Adelaide section at close to race pace

The section along Regent Street flew by and in no time I was cruising down the hill on William at Cowbell Curve and the 5K mark. Runners Feed Coach Guy Shultz was standing in front of the race clock, he looked at me, then back at the clock and incredulously back at me. The clock showed elapsed time of around 21:30 (my watch was 21:19). I had just PB'd my 5K time by over 20 seconds!

The second half of the course is technically a bit more challenging. While the first half of the race is an amazingly fast net downhill, the second half is a sneaky continuous climb all the way back to the finish.

Hatless at 7km
Since I was familiar with the terrain along Adelaide I pushed my pace when I could. I was sure that I would see my wife was across the street from the 7km water stop snapping pictures. While it was humid, there was no sun. I decided that I no longer needed my hat. Handing it off to a volunteer, I thought I made it clear he could give it to the “lady across the street in the dress”, I never saw my hat again. Sorry Canadian Running Magazine, it was a good hat. I may have to do next year’s Marathon Quest to get another one.

Missed It By That Much
After a quick high five with the police officer controlling traffic at Adelaide and Fanshawe, it was time to push in the last two kilometers. I could see a runner in front of me who I guessed was in my age group. As I was trying to close the 100 meter gap, he surged up a bit of an incline. I pressed but didn’t have enough left, kilometers eight and nine were my slowest. I couldn't close the gap until we got within 500 meters of the finish. Narrowing the gap to less than 50 meters I opened it up for the finish. Leaving that final surge just a bit too late to account for the double-turn jig-jog in to the finish I wound up 3 seconds behind my quarry and fourth in my Age Group.

Rock & Roll
My goal was to break 46 minutes, I wanted to see my finishing time start with the numbers 45, and hoped for maybe a 44. When I eventually looked at my watch it said 44:16. I forgot to stop it when I celebrated crossing the finish line.

It seemed like it took forever for Sportstats to print out the results. I shattered my goal. Chip time was 43:24.9. A three minute PB and that my Friends truly Rocks the Road!!

Are you kidding me?


Katie said...

i couldn't figure out how a 4:30 pace equaled a 46 minute 10K. oh right. damn kilometers.

Jeff said...

A 4:30 pace would have given me a 45 minute 10K and a 90 second PR. Something I thought close to impossible based upon my extensive research in running three other 10K's in my life.

And yes, damn kilometers. The marathon group runs in miles and it always messes me up. Sixteen miles and sixteen kilometers are not the same on any given Sunday.