The triathlon training blog of Phil Barnes

Hardware is Hardware - MS 10K Race Report

Finally! The finish
I literally had chills running down my spine. We were off and running. The Rocky theme was playing. I was smiling. I’m not sure there was one single reason for it – a multitude of reasons I suppose: the fact that the 2009 ‘race’ season had kicked-off; civic pride for Cornwall hosting a great event; the music was a throwback to my boxing glory days; perhaps more significantly, that I was actually running, especially after some interesting days in early February.

My goal for the 10K was to take it ‘conservatively’, and aim for around 48 minutes. I was going to hold back the first kilometer, and then dial it up. It sort of worked. I seeded myself close to the back (intentionally), so as to not go out "guns-a-blazing" at 3-minute pace.

I slowly got my groove on, casually negotiating the pack, winding up to a comfortable pace and splitting the first kilometer at 4:42. I was very proud of myself for showing restraint. "Time to dial it up now" I thought to myself. The second kilometer was on target: 4:33; but Oh! the wind. ...and then it fell apart.

Approaching the turn-around for the 5K, it was all I could do to not turn. In my head, I rehearsed my explanation to SportStats – hoping they’d accept me as a 5K finisher. But luckily the guy in front of me continued past the turnaround, and I told myself I’d just follow him.

Three-K split at 4:49, and I was already running in the ‘red-zone’. The prospect of the wind-shift at the turn around kept me going. Finally at the turn-around, I felt a little wind-assisted surge; but DAM, was the sun ever hot! The splits were ticking off in the 5 minute range by now, and not getting any faster.

About the only thing that kept me going was a ‘shoulder’ runner who was with me since the turn around. If anything- I’m NOT letting her pass me at the finish line. And that was all I was thinking about for the last 2 kilometers.

“Empty the tank Phil”, Gilles encouraged at the top of that horrible little hill about 400 meters from the finish. I laughed inside. He has been at that same spot the last three years – said the same thing – and I’ve thought exactly the same thing: “The tank was empty a long time ago!”

The finish line approaches, the crowd pulls me in, but I just don’t have enough steam - 50:16... and all I can think about is a 50 minute plus 10K etched into the annals of SportStats for perpetuity. Oh, the horror.

The Medal

It’s a funny thing, when you compete in a “small” race. Overall results are absolutely statistically insignificant. Age group placement means nothing. I’ve run races and finished dead-last in my age-group, only to have the guy finishing a minute behind me take second in his age group. BUT… Boy, was I ever happy that Rob Allen “aged up” this year, leaving 3rd place in M30-39 open for me to grab! At the end of the day hardware is hardware.

The "Puntous Twins" made a Cornwall cameo

Side Notes

A “celebrity” spotting – at about the 4K mark in my race; two women running neck and neck, both with red flaming hair come ripping towards me. Sure enough, it was Patricia and Sylviane Puntous (en-route to matching 1:36:44 half-marathons). I wonder if they're going to hang their Cornwall medals next to their Ironman hardware.

Post Script

Two days later, and I'm over the plus-50 finish time. It's fueled a new desire to master the 10K this year. Re-match #1 goes this weekend in Brockville: The California Run.