I had planned to race as many of the Subaru Niagara Running Series races as possible in 2011. However due to a bad bout of flu (Jordan 5K), and the day my son was born (Confederation Park 5K) I have missed the last two. I was excited to get back into it with this 10K in Grimsby. I ran the 5K last year as my first real running race, and this would be my first 10K – a guaranteed PB! I had set a goal of getting under 40 minutes for a 10K in 2011 and this would be my first of 2 chances to do it. Pre-race I was a bit worried about my very sporadic training schedule, the strong winds that had been blowing all day, and how much I would have in my legs after the Welland Sprint Du on Saturday.
After hanging out with my family and playing in the splashpad, it was finally time to stop thinking about how the race might go, and actually do it. I headed over to the start line and made my way up to a spot reasonably close to the front. I met another Team Running Free colleague and tried to explain why I was in a TRF singlet and not associated with a physical store!
The course started out great, heading down into Grimsby with a strong wind at our backs to help us along. I was struck by how quiet it was along parts of this section with the wind behind me and very few people around; it was nearly silent at some points. I was keeping my pace around 3:50 which I hoped I could maintain for the full race. I was focused on pacing myself and not worrying about what others were doing. The enjoyment of this part of the course was soon over and after a few turns towards the lake, we were on our way back uphill toward the escarpment and into the strong headwind. This was a tough stretch and I kept reminding myself that getting to the end of this part meant getting out of the wind, with only a couple of easier km’s to the finish. Soon enough (though it didn’t seem soon enough at the time) I was at the right turn and was happy that my mental calculations told me I still had a chance to get in under 40 minutes – but I would have to push hard. On the final km I had a couple of other runners just ahead of me – I was waiting for them to give a final kick but neither seemed to want to go. I knew 40 minutes was closing in and, just to be sure, I decided that I would kick for the line over the last 250 metres. As I turned left onto the grass for the final metres to the finish, I could hear my 23 month old daughter cheering for me, but couldn’t pick her out of the crowd. I crossed at 39:24 and was relieved to be done!
I have nothing but good things to say about the race – I’m sure this is a big reason why they get so many participants. There were nearly 600 runners in the 10K and over 1000 total with the 5K and 1K events. Even with all those people, everything went very smoothly. This is the norm for the Subaru Niagara races, which is why they are so popular. Next up is the Subaru Twenty Valley 10K – no guaranteed PB’s for this one!