As training for my half marathon continued, I needed a 10K race to run; a tune-up race of sorts. The Toronto Waterfront Flyer, the second in MEC’s race series was a perfect fit with my schedule. What’s a tune-up race you might ask? It’s a test run (pun intended) of what might happen on race day. The Waterfront Flyer would let me sort out any nutrition/hydration issues and allow me to see how I felt running at race pace.
Leading up to the 10K, I was more than ready to go and excited to see what I could do. But the week right before the race, I tweaked my back. I’m not sure how or why it happened but I was in a lot of pain and barely able to stand up straight. The timing could not have been worse.
I put my training on hold in an effort to heal my back. I applied heat, did stretches, and paid a visit to my chiropractor Dr. Katie. She worked her magic and did some ART treatments along with an adjustment for me. By Friday, I felt much better, that is until the watch strap on my Garmin suddenly ripped apart. I fixed one thing and broke another! I patched it together with some super glue and a cable tie and hoped it would stay together.
Sunday morning, race day, the weather was unseasonably cold with the wind chill making it feel like -8C (17F). It looked like I would have one more run with my winter gear after all, hopefully the last of this season. My one man cheering squad, chauffeur and sherpa for the day was none other than my dad. Who else would wake up early and brave the elements to watch me run? Hooray for dads! Okay, I might have bribed him with a post-race breakfast of pancakes and hot coffee, I’m not telling.
There were three different race distances that morning: the 15K, 10K and 5K. The 10K was a simple out and back loop on the Martin Goodman Trail which is set against Toronto’s waterfront. At 9:05AM, the 10K race was off and running. My coach had given me a goal to run the race in 54:20. I wasn’t sure about that anymore because of my back situation. I decided I would start off slow and see how things went.
I felt “off” for the first couple of kilometers — probably because I hadn’t been running all week but once I got into the rhythm of running, I felt pretty good! Halfway into the race, I decided to speed things up. I tried pulling in the runners ahead of me, and one by one and I started going faster! But my back wasn’t feeling up to the faster pace and I had to slow it down. I didn’t want to risk a serious injury that would keep me from running my half marathon in a few weeks.
I finished the race in 54:00:02, slightly better than the goal I was given and a 1:01 minute course PB over last year’s time. Not bad considering my back issues and week off from running. And as luck would have it, my watch strap also survived the race intact!
I felt good about things I had done pre-race to prepare. I felt good about both my nutrition and hydration, and I was happy with my training and speed workouts. This year, I was able to run a faster pace more consistently throughout the race without having to stop or use run/walk intervals. Finishing ahead of my goal time certainly made me feel better about my upcoming half. Next up, the Goodlife Half Marathon!
For those of you wondering about the Waterfront Flyer — it’s a smaller race and doesn’t have some of frills such as medals and t-shirts that you would find in larger races. But it’s well organized, timed, and supported – you get the same banana, water and cookies as you would at the finish of any other race. The best part is the entry fee of $15! It’s perfect as a tune-up run or for anyone needing proof of time for another race.