The cold, rainy weather was not what I hoped to see coming off such a beautiful, December Saturday. The wet morning had made for a sloppier course than last year as it was not as cold enough to keep the roads hard. In 2009, we had enough snow before this race to have a packed surface, which was ideal for my spikes. Today was one of those border line days as the asphalt areas were exposed and would have made a mess of my feet if I used a full shoes of spikes.
I ended up settling with three front spikes to save the balls of my feet and my baby toe from rubbing on the spikes when running on the harder areas. This made for decent traction on most of the course but I could have used a little more grip on the icy patches on the top end of the course. I don't think I gave up too much time due to shoe selection.
Onto the race, I had a good jump out of the gate to find lots of space around the first turn, just outside of the Terra Cotta Consevation Area drive way. Last year's winner, Darryl Bank, was also flying off the line and started to set a blistering pace heading down the 1500 metre drop zone. I knew that was beyond my talents so I just tried to hover around my previous year pace. I was hoping to have my Garmin to be able to measure this but for some reason it froze and was stuck on the time I pulled it off the charger. Damn technology!
A little further down the hill, a group of three more runners made their way passed me. In that group was Tim Shannon (a solid 32 minute 10k runner from Georgetown) so I figured they would burn me out so I settled in behind them. I tried to get my stride together by the time we made the bottom of the hill but felt that I was being short and choppy. When we reached the rollers I was not feeling to confident about my speed and knew there were a number of others right on my tail. I could hear their footsteps and hear their breathing.
Coming off the 1.5k of rolling, slushy road, I somehow managed to hold mt spot in the race as my uphill surges were just enough to offset their downhill gains. Our next road was the gravel side road that led to the lung busting hill just after the half way marker. This section was very slow due to the loose footing of mush we had to deal with. I was trying to extend my stride and push my pace higher leading up to the hill and felt things were starting to pay off but once again, I had a strong runner (Kyle Aiken) pass me at the very bottom of the hill and slowly edge away as we trudged up the steep and twisting slope.
I now felt like I was falling back pretty bad, almost going too slow up the hill in an effort to save energy for the home stretch. Shockingly, nobody else pulled past me by the time I reached the summit so I used the short downhill that followed to get back up to speed, hoping to chase down Kyle and maybe one or two others that apeared to be coming back to me. I started to close the gap during the next few kilometres on top of the hill and thought I could kick it down a notch and make even more gains. This was looking good until we got back to the ashpalt roads where the group got moving quickly. I am not sure what my pace was along the final few kilometres but I know I was pushing hard so they must have been busting along at incredible speeds.
My final two km's were very strong and I assumed I was pretty close to my time from last year and moving faster through this section. As I hit the 10k marker, I got a great cheer from the Falcons watching from the side of the road and fed off their energy to plunge down the last winding decline a few hundred metres from the finish line. When I reached the driveway in pretty close to sprint speed I hoped to see a 3X:XX number on the time clock but instead found a 41:XX to my disappointment. I kept the hammer down and finished in 6th spot overall and 41:35 (58 seconds slower than 2009). I missed my goal time by over a minute and a half but don't think I could have run to that time under these conditions.
As I congratulated other runners in the finish area, I tried to figure out where I had given up the most time compared to last year but just cannot come up with an answer.
The great thing about this "home" race is all the familiar faces I bumped into during the course of the event. There were so many FMCT Falcons and Running Maniacs out for the Egg Nog Jog and it was great to hear their stories over some post race snacks. Great Work Folks!
Lastly, the Georgetown Runners put on a great show under tough conditions. The work of their members and volunteers made the day much more enjoyable. Also, I would like to remind everyone to thank Brad Mailloux and his staff at Feet in Motion for their very generous prizes. Please support Georgetown's local running shop and visit http://www.feetinmotion.ca/ for more info!
Brad (Feet in Motion) presenting my AG Award in 2009