Sunday morning was most likely my last race of the season. After hemming an hawing for a few weeks, the week before the race I threw my hat in to the ring and signed up for the Somersault Events Fall Colours 10k, one of the many races they held that day. As a first time participant of the event, I was really impressed by the organization of the day and the great family atmosphere. The race distances ranged from the kids’ Turkey Trott through to the marathon.
Like all Somersault events, this day was very well planned. There was the pre-race emails from organizer Terry McKinty reminding participants about the start-times, facilities and amenities, and parking costs. They even setup a Facebook page for ride sharing. There was updates to the marathon route maps, and explanation about the colour coded markers for distances and directions. The water stations were manned by members of a local basketball club who were also beneficiaries of fundraising efforts form the day. The route was very well marked, and made its way from the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum and into a the community. Residents come out a cheer on the runners. All in all, it was a wonderful day. It helped that the weather was great; a bit of sun and not too warm. I chose a long sleeve technical shirt, but would have been fine in a t-shirt. Of course all of this was with a backdrop of trees that were nearly at the peak of colours change — hence the event name Fall Colours.
My training for this event was somewhat sporadic. I had been running a fair bit this year as I trained for the duathlon in August. Also, I have been experiencing some real gains (losses?) in my struggle to reach my weight goals. Fortunately, iRun magazine partnered with SportChek and presented a series of 10 week training plans geared for October events — mybestrunningrace.com — and I was able to focus my training. Although I started out following the half-marathon plan, I soon realized that with the return to school and accepted that 10k was going to be a more manageable distance. As my training went on, my 5k times were getting pretty quick, and the one night I ran 10k, I was under 60 minutes for the first time ever. All that to say I was feeling pretty good about race day.
The Fall Colours itself was a great run and experience. Learning from other races, I did not head to the back of the pack. Instead I went to the front of the pack to start the race. I knew I wasn’t going to be the fastest, but I also knew I wasn’t going to be the slowest. When the horn sounded, I headed out faster than knew I should running the first km in 5:10. Knowing that I couldn’t sustain that, and because I planned to finish around 60 minutes, I deliberately slowed down so that by the end of the third km I was hovering at the 6 minute/km mark. This was fine for me as I was trying to stick to my plan. What I hadn’t understood, though, was how hilly the course is — in both directions. I managed to hold my pace, however, to the end of the 5km mark, and then I slowly started to pick up my pace, eventually getting back to 5:24/km, and running a negative split. Like I do in most races I pick another runner who seems to be about my pace and try to stick with him or her. This worked well again, and I managed to keep tabs on a few runners. However, because I was picking up the pace in the second half, I was slowly overtaking them. Nothing aggressive, but steady moves past various runners. As we headed into the final kick, I did overtake a few runners quite quickly. At the finishing chute, I picked up the pace even more — the last split time had me back at 5:10/km. My finishing time was 61 minutes, exactly 4 minutes faster than than my previous 10k race. I’m super happy with the race PB! But that’s not the entire story.
Interestingly, throughout the race I noticed that the km indicators and my Strava app were not in sync. I wrote about this earlier, and my thoughts/concerns have since been validated. As he usually does following races, Terry sent out a post-race email in which he addressed various aspects of the event. Chief among them, was their awareness that the race was in fact longer than 10k:
The 10K – actually, the 10.7K. With a new member to the race crew this year (it’s not his fault), our ‘course coner) was given the actual 5K turn point, without being given the .7K grounds measurement so it’s our fault – not his! Sportstats will amend the results to reflect 10.7K
You really have to admire and respect event organizers who recognize a mistake was made. More so, they own it; they didn’t blame the new guy.
So what does this mean for my race and my PB? Well it means I got two PB’s that day. In addition to getting an official race time PB, even for a slightly longer distance, my actual 10k time was also a PB for me — 56:41! That is way faster (almost 9 minutes!) than than my previous 10k race PB, and it is faster than any other 10k I’ve run in training. For a race on Thanksgiving Weekend, I couldn’t really ask for more.