Those 25 laps (mostly) just flew by!
Wow – lots of highlights and takeaways from Friday’s race. Overall, my performance was okay, but I fell short of my outcome goal. But that’s part of the sport! We go out there and win or learn. I did a lot of learning and was able to check a few boxes on process goals.
We were fortunate that the 10,000m Championships were hosted at the Pacific Distance Carnival in Langley this year, so we could head over to the Mainland the day of the race. Being able to sleep in your own bed can make a huge difference during race week. Since Cody was racing in Whistler on Saturday, I headed over with Vikes teammates. The weather was beautiful – warm and breezy – but thankfully the conditions cooled off and calmed down before our race at 8:40pm.
Evening races can make for a long day when you’re trying to conserve mental and physical energy and fuel properly. Fortunately, I’ve had a bit of practice preparing for night races, so I have a strategy and timeline for what and when to eat. However, it can be trickier to keep the mind distracted but alert during the day. I found that travelling with friends was a good way to stay out of my own head and focus on things other than running and track. After we made the drive from the ferry to Langley, I still had about three hours until my race, so I headed to the hotel to get out of the sun and off my feet. Even while I was alone with my thoughts for a couple of hours and those intrusive thoughts of self-doubt creeped in, I called on all the tough workouts we’ve done and the fitness I’ve banked to “convince” myself I earned a spot on this start line. I had every reason to believe I was ready for this race! Surprisingly, my nerves never really jacked up and I had a calm confidence heading into the race, which was weird but wonderful at the same time. I had my race plan and was excited to see what racing 25 laps was all about!
It was my first time racing at the Pacific Distance Carnival and it was a great experience! It was so nice to see and compete with lots of familiar faces and the weather was darn near perfect. I did the best I could to keep myself hydrated pre-race with Nuun Sport and Endurance tablets. I had a Clif bar two hours out from warm up, and Gu gels right before warm up and 15 minutes before the start of the race to make sure I wasn’t starting on empty. I felt amazing during warm up, which is always a nice little confidence boost.
The pacers did a great job of ticking off 77-second laps and I was aiming for 78 seconds per lap, so I hung off the back of the pack to start. But it didn’t take long for me to fall off. In the moment, I just didn’t have the trust in my fitness or familiarity with the distance to commit to such a hot pace early on. So, I settled into 80-something laps for most of the race on my own. It was incredible (and very much appreciated) to have the support of my coach Hilary, Trent and a few other dedicated coaches and spectators who offered words of encouragement and support every. single. lap. Those little boosts along the way made it feel like someone was always right there with me.
Despite the race being very long, I managed to not look at the lap counter until the 6k mark, which is what many 10,000m veterans had recommended I do. I stuck to the rail and my race plan, which worked to my benefit but fell short of my expectations. So, I definitely have mixed feelings about the race. I am pumped to have placed second as well as have the calm confidence to run my own race, which allowed me to move up the field in the latter part of the race. I never “checked out” of the race because I always had people to chase down and that kept me engaged. Always having someone within striking distance provided a target and boost of motivation to keep moving forward. That being said, we were shooting for Pan Am Games standard (32:28) and I was far from that time. My splits were:
3:13.8, 3:16.0, 3:18.9, 3:23.9, 3:22.5 [16:35 @ 5k], 3:23.6, 3:21.7, 3:20.1, 3:19.0, 3:11.8 when we were aiming for 3:15s throughout.
Workouts have been going well, so I expected more, but I learned a lot over those 25 laps, including that the race isn’t over until you cross that finish line as long as you don’t give up. If you have the perseverance and mental fortitude to push past the discomfort, something really special can happen!
Next time, I will commit and trust that I can do hard things!
Congratulations to my Victory Athletics training partner Natash Wodak for taking the Championship title and all the other athletes who gritted out this tough race.
Now, onto shorter and faster races (and training) as we head into a dense racing block in July!