Race Report: Toronto Yonge Street 10k (2015)

Race Report: Toronto Yonge Street 10 km (2015)

Second race of the season - done!  Sunday was the Toronto Yonge Street 10K (#TYS10K), one of my favourite spring races in the city.  It's the perfect combination of an early season run (therefore, we're all still stir crazy from winter and itching to get outside) and a mostly downhill course.  Plus, the course zips down the main street of our nation's largest city.  How cool is that?.

As an aside, one of the (many) things I love about Canada Running Series events is the enthusiastic online community that supports them.  As usual, social media was abuzz in the days and hours beforehand... rumours of the Justice League Runners making an appearance at the race... discussions about what to wear given the drop in temperature (mind you, it's all relative when you compare it to February)... as well as many people pumped about running it for the first time.

That morning, Rob and I were in the category of runners that were trying to figure out what to wear.  The weather was 5 degrees, minus 2 with the windchill.  I hadn't tested gear for that variation nor in race conditions.  As a result, as we walked to Bloor to hail a cab, we both quickly realized that gloves would have been handy.

We arrived at the start line and ran into coach Roger, dressed in pace bunny gear for the 52 minute group.  After a brief chat, I bid him farewell and reluctantly checked my bag - and a layer of clothing - before proceeding to start my warm-up routine.

Barely time for our annual start line selfie!

Normally at this race, we arrive really early and must bide our time, huddling inside a Starbucks to stay warm.  This year, I made it to my corral with just a few minutes to spare.  Then I took off in the traditional tangle, doing my best not to trip or be tripped.

My idea for this race was to build on my Harry's Spring Run-off pace to test the results of my winter training.  My two "A" duathlons this year are both international distance, which is comprised of a 10 km run, a 40 km bike followed by a 5 km run.  They're long enough to be a test of endurance and yet still short enough to be very fast.  (In other words, they're tough!)  A 10 km road race is a great opportunity to benchmark oneself for training for this style of duathlon.  

When the start horn went off, I was tucked in about ten seconds from the timing mats.  My usual approach to racing is to start off somewhat conservatively and then pick up steam, aiming for a negative split.  This time, I instead quickly settled into a pace that floated around 3:45/km, striving to hold it for the entire race -- or as long as I could.  I knew I could manage it for 5 km, as I had done at Harry's.  But what would happen after that distance, especially where the course moved from downhill to a flat?

There were several moments when self doubt crept into my mind and others when my lungs seemed to be tightening with the familiar sensation of my asthma, but I tried to divert my mind to my form, opening my chest and drawing from the enthusiasm of those around me.  I slowly reeled in runners ahead of me, which is one of my favourite techniques.  I looked at my Garmin and told myself, "Don't slow down.  You've still got it in you."

Many thanks to the Tribe Fitness cheering squad, which, just like at Harry's, was again positioned within the final kilometre of the race -- the PERFECT spot to motivate runners.  I think I managed a ragged half-wave to the group as well as a thumbs up to the steel drum band playing nearby.

Rob later told me that there are significant parts of the race where he spaced out because he doesn't remember them.  Maybe that means he was in the zone?

My mind kept going and going, mostly trying to process how a wind from the north-east kept slamming us from the west.  Whatever the cause, it made for some chilly moments.  I also pondered why my Garmin kept ringing for kilometres about 300 metres ahead of the course markings.  Ah well.

I crossed the finish line at 37:42, which happily is a new PB, beating my last record of 39:32.  That gave me 131st place overall or 19th in my age group.  Woo hoo!

In true post-run fashion, I'm now riding the remaining endorphins and contemplating my next race, this one as a pace bunny for the Toronto Goodlife Half Marathon.

Thanks again to the staff and volunteers at Canada Running Series and congratulations to the over 5,000 athletes that took part in the TYS10K.