Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Getting our mojo back, and Sporting Life 10k 2013

Happy Mother’s Day to our beloved mommies!

It’s been a week since the Goodlife Toronto Marathon/Half-Marathon’s been run and done.
Most of the first 3 days this week I just spent beating myself up over the stupid race, figuring out what mistakes were made,  how much time lost I can attribute due to each, and then filtering out those that were in my control and which weren’t!
After making up most of the ~8 lbs. I lost to dehydration and GI issues (yup, no typo there, 6% of my bodyweight!) at last Sunday’s race by Wednesday, my mojo seemed to be bouncing back slowly.
There was some sulking involved but got some good mental clarity from Garima and introspection, and finally began to feel better around Thursday.
I also made time to get a great massage from Tracey Elliot @ BodyTrace to work out the kinks in my shoulders and decompress my quads from the downhill eccentric loading.  Thanks Tracey! I’ve been paying more attention to recovery in the past few months and massages have definitely helped.
In the end, we both managed to crank out a few easy/tempo bike rides, short 15-30 min runs and 3 weights workouts by Friday. Compared to a regular training week, we both majorly cut down our running/biking this week. Doing a race like a half- or full-marathon at your limits only takes between 1.5-3’ish hours, respectively, but it can take up to 2-3 weeks to recover from them fully.
So being sore without working out was the theme of the week! However we did some socializing on Friday to celebrate our friend Cory’s birthday (yes we do manage to keep up appearances and have some sort of social life…okay maybe a very miniscule social life).

Sporting Life 10k Race Report
(27,000 people on Yonge Street is a sight to behold!)
The morning air was chilly 2°C with strong winds making it feel like below freezing. Brrr, is this May, really?
Our friend from work, Andrew Ali, also signed up for the race and we took a cab early in the morning together to get to the start line.  
Damn TTC public transport buses failed us again. No surprises there.
Garima’s Race:
Time:                                    46:03 (46:04 Gun Time) * PERSONAL BEST!
AG ranking:                        64/2989 (F25-29)
Gender Ranking:              240/12821
Overall Ranking:             1326/21844

Another goal set prior to the race by Parichit. He challenged me with a 46 min 10 km, and I thought my previous 10k time (46:42) was a fluke! So I was given the goal to keep a 4m 36 sec pace and all I could think of was how the hell am I going to do the math while running!!! Lol. 
Race day started early in the morning (rise and shine @ 5:30 am), we all had a small bowl of oatmeal (race morning ritual) and stretched a little. Getting to the start line was a major project considering all the TTC buses were at full capacity and all cabs were taken. We finally managed to find a cab and reached the start line on time. Seeing 27K people in one spot for a race is something you can only see in Sporting Life 10k event! I have no idea how the race organizers manage this (an so well!).
Andrew, me an Parichit wished each other luck an went to our respective corals. 2 min prior to race start a (overenthusiastic) teenager standing in front of me kicked me on my knees while kicking back to stretch. Poor kid apologized, but did it again in 30 sec!!!! wtf!! Man it hurt, especially in the cold. Anyways... that distracted me from my pre-start countdown jitters.
And then from start to finish is a blur, with passing and being passed. It included running besides a guy wearing headphones breathing (more like panting) so hard that I thought he seriously needed to slow down and was making me nervous (He did slow down later). We ran on Yonge street from Eglington till Lakeshore. I was keeping the goal pace and was very glad about it. Seeing the finish line was a relief since I was beginning to tire at around 8 km. And there it was….the end to a great race and a personal best.

Parichit’s Race:
Time:                                    38:37 (38:45 Gun Time)
AG ranking:                        23/1850 (M25-29)
Overall Ranking:             128/21844

SLOWEST 10k RESULT EVER! I didn’t expect this race to be a showstopper personal best, and was just looking to match my 38:09 from 3 weeks ago at the Toronto Yonge Street 10k 2013.
Everything was going OK and seemed reasonable till 8-8.5 kms and I even looked to slightly beat that time by a few seconds, but in that last 1 mile stretch from the finish today, my quads just said:

 “No way, are you kidding me? Put us in a hot Epsom salt bath right now. You’re just stupid if you think we can keep this up for another 1 km and THEN sprint the last few hundred meters, too. We refuse. We’ve done it enough times in the past, but not today, there’s no way we’re giving in to your ego and mindless goal of beating 38 minutes. Live with it!”

…and in my response, I thought of the great Jens Voigt, like many other times, and quoted him: “SHUT UP LEGS!” and crawled to the finish line after doing the last mile in 4:00 min/km pace.

The score now is…
LEGS: 2               MIND: 0

For reference, and my own nerdiness, I produced a plot the last 5 times I’ve done this race on this course:

My fastest time was actually 38:04 last year, and I’m consistently slower this year. However, I am always able to finish/sprint the last kilometer in 3:40 min, passing at least 10 people and making up some time lost.
Also, 10k happens to be a general staple measure of fitness testing. Compared to previous years, my HR is on average 8 BPM lower this year (now you see why an average HR of 165-166 for 3 hours in last week’s marathon left me totally trashed?! :P)
Many factors led to this result apart from the complete quad-melting-jelloness that happened after 8.5 km:

  • We all had a nasty cold headwind in the last 3 km. Just excuses.
  • The course was longer than 10 km. Maybe 10.15 km as I mapped it. More excuses: the race organizers know how to do their job, while I can keep whining!
  • Now for the real reasons. Most importantly. I’m still tired and recovering from the marathon. No brainer. (Why did I do the race then, you ask? Well, its fun! And this really was a free race…)
  • There was generally very little motivation in my mind today to push my comfort zones. This is probably the worst part anyone will tell you about a 10km race: you need to be prepared to hurt, to deal with the pain mentally. It’s a completely different type of suffering compared with a marathon or the long distance races I do. Well, the pain came with it’s A-game face today and I just wasn’t feeling very masochistic! :D

All said and done, I waited for Garima and Andrew to finish. Since they started in the next wave 5-10 minutes after my start, I had to wait roughly 15 mins for Garima, and then we waited around for Andrew.
Andrew did well and finished under an hour! He was glad I gave him one of my sweatshirts for the run. Running in a t-shirt with temps around 2°C would not have been fun.

 With the wait over, I realized my quads and hips had completely stiffened up and didn’t like the notion of walking around at all! I really need to figure out how to get this recovery-throttling monkey off my back so I can enjoy my races again!

Yes, I'm stinky, I get it.

We grabbed some post-race freebies, bananas, bagels and coffee and scrambled to get back home.
The usual post-race Eggsmart pilgrimage ensued. Lots of brunch and several cups of coffee later,  we were all happy campers and separated ways to get about our Sunday chores of groceries and cleaning. Ugh. 

PS: we accidently saw Garima on CP24 news on TV when they were covering the race… what are the odds!!

Keep pedaling.


  1. Great write up guys, keep it coming and good luck for future races ..

    Btw, did you save garima's < 15 sec of fame .. :)

  2. Thanks!

    ...I don't think you can save the video for Garima' s race...we just saw it on CP24. Maybe I'll try hunting their video archives on the website to see if we can post a link.