My third race of the year is in the books and it was a good one! I raced the St. Albert 10 mile (16km) road race. They also have 10km and 5km events as well.This was my third time doing this race over the past 4 years. I’ve never been close to challenge for a win or even make the front group for that matter. I did a few key sessions in the weeks leading into this race and knew I was finding some really good fitness. I felt confident going into the race after nailing my key run workouts and was hoping I could make the lead pack and answer any surges come race day. About 10 days before race day I came down with a very vicious case of food poisoning. I did absolutely nothing for 4 days, leaving the house for only a few minutes over that time. I ended up losing 10 lbs and weighed in a lot less than I’ve ever raced at. With only a few days to go before race day, I was solely focused on getting my appetite back and trying to put most of the weight I lost. I was still about 5lbs underweight the day before the race. Not sure if it was a good idea to do the race or not, I decided to do a 14 km tempo session the day before the race. It was my first run since the food poisoning and I couldn’t believe how easy it felt! That extra few lbs made a massive difference in the effort it took me to hold a fast pace. Finishing that run, I was excited and ready to get ready for the race the next morning.
Race morning was pretty typical. We decided to drive up to St. Albert from Red Deer since it wasn’t that far of a drive. I woke up at 6:30, had a small bite to eat, put my race clothes on and did some light foam rolling before we headed out at 7:15. We got to the race start with about 25 minutes to go until start time. I did about a 2 mile warmup with my friend, doing some pickups to just over race effort. The course started off with a long gradual uphill this year and I wanted to get my heart rate high in the warmup just to make sure there wouldn’t be any issues making the lead pack right off the start.
With a couple minutes to go to race start I gave my wife a hug and lined up at the front with all the speed demons. The countdown began, the gun fired and we were off. A pack of about 7 of us took off and settled into our pace. I ran the first mile right in the middle of the pack and moved to the back for the next couple miles. I made sure I was on the outside though, just in case someone wanted to make a move, I was ready to answer and close any gaps. I think it was about 5 or 6km in and we came to a bit of a climb. I found myself keeping the same pace but slowly moving to the front of the group. After a couple hundred meters I had moved from the back of the pack to running side by side with the guys at the front. I didn’t want to make a move to break away from everyone that early but I felt everyone’s pace dropping a bit while I was holding back from going faster. I thought “what the hell” and decided to put in a few big surges to see what would happen. I gained a lot of mental strength knowing the sessions I put in the weeks before and thought if I surged I hopefully wouldn’t blow up later. I kept picking up the pace up the hill and when we turned a corner we had a very long gradual descent. I was feeling good and could tell the guys behind me were starting to get spread out. I went even harder and soon there were just two of us, we had made a decent gap from the group. We ran side by side for a few miles, putting more and more time into the group. Eventually he dropped back a couple seconds and I couldn’t hear his breathing any longer. As soon as I knew he was struggling I surged hard for a mile, hoping to make the gap permament and drop him for good. It worked and I ran through the 10 km mark in 33 minutes. With 6 km to go, I knew I had the win if I held the same pace. It went by fast and with 2 km to go to the finish I knew two guys behind me about 15 seconds had started to pick up the pace and were putting time into me. I was scared and ran those last 2 km as fast as my legs could take me!
I was extremely happy with my performace, shaving more than 4 minutes (chip time- 53:17) off my previous best 10 mile time. I’ve never podiumed at this race either, so to take the win was big for me too. This is such a well run event and new race director Joel Maley did a fantastic job of making everything run smoothly. Thanks to the volunteers for doing a great job too. I couldn’t believe how many volunteers were spread out over 10 miles. It looked like everyone had a great race experience. Race awards went smoothly.
I’ve spent the past two days hobbling around. I had some calf issues before the race and they are screaming at me now. This week will be spent getting my run legs back for a half marathon this weekend, getting back in the pool and on the bike and hopefully put the rest of the weight back on that I need to. Being extra light helped me in St. Albert but it’s not something I can maintain and it will be detrimental to my swimming and cycling. My next race is the Edmonton Police Half this weekend. I’d like to thank Four Sigma Foods for keeping me fuelled by mushrooms. Cordyceps have made a big boost on my performance and their sport herbs keep me healthy and help me to recover faster….except when I get food poisoning (nothing helps with that!). If you want to try out Four Sigma products for yourself you can get them from here. Use “DUSTY” as a discount code at checkout to get 10% off. If you want to know more about Four Sigma products, send me a message and I’ll answer any questions. Happy training everyone!