To be honest, prior to starting the Cobble Hill 10k, I was feeling nervous. The reason I was nervous was because I wasn’t sure how my first 10k in a while would go. I expected to finish anywhere between 41 and 51 minutes, but I had no other real expectations of myself beyond that.
There were only three things I expected from myself: have fun, follow my own racing advice and find the food.
I told one of my friends that I hope to run at least 1km of this race in under 4 minutes.
He laughed and jokingly said: “Hopefully not the first one.” I replied, “we will see.”
That’s when I decided to really think about what I wrote in my course preview from the week before the race.
In my race preview, I specifically discussed that the course is fast if you run it properly and stay focused. This is a very tactical course and many people have run personal bests in Cobble Hill.
Luckily, this time, the weatherman was a lot nicer to us during the race.
Before the race:
I drove up to Cobble Hill with my friend. Honestly, the rain and wind leading up to the race almost inspired me to bow out. However, I decided to race because it’s something I enjoy doing. It rained the entire way. Driving up the Malahat when it’s raining can be both dangerous and challenging.
When we got there, the rain seemed to have calmed down and the sun started to come out.
Once we got to the start line, I was grateful that the weatherman was smiling at us. That’s when I knew it was going to be a good day. I was hoping that the weather would stay beautiful for at least the next 45 minutes or so.
I chatted with some people at the start line, turned on my Garmin and the gun went off. Then, something inside my brain drastically changed for the better….
Above: Smiling because of the outcome and the possibilities. This photo was taken with my cell phone after I got back from the race in my “home office” where I work on fun extra-curricular projects.
During the race:
The first km dictated how the whole race would go. Therefore, I ran it wisely. I watched many people bust out of the gate like they are being chased by a hungry tiger. Meanwhile, I slowed down and let a lot of people pass me and for the first time in nearly a decade of racing, I decided to run my own race.
It took every ounce of willpower I had for me to run my first km in 4:26 instead of 3:45. I knew that if I ran the first km in 3:45, I would regret it later.
Then, the next 2kms were 4:22 and 4:21 respectively. The first 3km consisted of small rolling hills. I watched my turns closely as well.
For kms 4 and 5, I slowed down and ran a 4:36, then a 4:32. At that point, I was glad to be halfway to the finish.
Surprisingly, I felt rejuvenated after the 5k mark.
A new kind of positive energy ran through my brain and body.
I ran the 6th km in 4:24.
After that, kms 7 and 8 were 4:15 and 4:10 respectively. I was speeding up despite being that far into the race.
As I was approaching the 9th km, I stopped looking at my watch. Then, it beeped and vibrated to let me know that I ran a 4:16 for my 9th km. I was happy with that.
In fact, I was so happy, that I started to catch up to my friend who passed me right before the 5k mark, who I thought was way farther ahead of me.
There was another guy in front of me who was running a good pace so I tried to catch up to him. I didn’t pass him, but what happened at the finish surprised me.
Right as I crossed the timing mat at the finish line, my watch beeped that it was exactly 10k and that my 10th km took me 3:58.
Above: Photo by Lois DeEll. I’m wearing JP Activewear.
A sub 4-min km was my last km.
Never in nearly a decade of racing have I ever had the fastest pace for my last km. In the midst of running my fastest last km, for the first time ever, there was no struggle as I approached the finish. I was feeling the positive vibes from running a negative split.
To sum it up:
This Cobble Hill 10k race could not have gone better. No, I didn’t run a personal best, but I beat last year’s time by 43 seconds, placed 3rd in my age group and 14th out of 185 females overall.
My final time was 43:12, which is still over 2 min slower than my best. However, overall, I feel like my running is going in the right direction so far.
I stuck to my original game plan and didn’t let any external factors interfere with it. Tactically, this is definitely the smartest race I recall ever running in nearly a decade of racing. I held back a lot in the first 2k and that served me well.
I’m grateful for this experience and I hope that I will continue to get better so that I could get back to where I was.
I was also extremely happy that a couple of people walked up to me after the race and told me that as a result of reading my course preview, they ran negative splits too.
Next up is the Cedar 12k on February 4th.
It’s a great race. Course preview coming soon. I hope to see you there!