This was my second year racing the Cobble Hill 10km. The plan was to run at a hard effort, no expectations to run a fast time or anything. The course is known to be hilly. The week leading up to the race wasn’t very high in mileage, and the Wednesday workout leading up to it was short and fast. I wasn’t feeling very fast during that workout though, which furthered the idea that Sunday’s race would just be a hard effort.
There was a wind warning the night before the race, due to 100km/hr winds, and it was insanely loud. We weren’t sure if the race would be impacted, but it was not. That being said, it did not look like a great day for a race, still windy, grey and cold. We headed out to Cobble Hill around 9:30am, it’s a bit out of town, and we had to get organized and do our warm-up before the 11am start-time.
When we arrived in Cobble Hill it was raining, and we were wishing the race was cancelled. We got organized, and once we came back out for the warm-up the sun had come out. It had turned into a beautiful afternoon. We ran our required 20′ easy and strides, and hung out by the start waiting. One of my running buddies suggested I should try and beat another competitor in my category who is typically a bit faster than me, I said I wasn’t sure it was in the cards today. As the countdown happened, she said, “you know what you have to do”. I laughed and off we went.
The couple km’s felt easy, I wasn’t looking at my Garmin, though when I saw the pace was hovering around 4:10/km, I realized this was significantly faster than my 10km pace. As we rounded the bend of an out and back, I noticed how close I was behind one of our faster team-mates. Shortly thereafter, we began ascending a hill and that brought my pace under control. Still, as I hit the 3rd km, someone yelled out the time and it was under 13 minutes, which surprised me as I rounded the corner. Another hill. I settled in and began climbing, again focusing on looking up and not at my Garmin. The 4th and 5th km’s clocked in at 4:33. It was hard work, but I was happy to be half-way done. Since this was my second time on this course, I remembered the second half of the race was “faster” than the first.
Km 6 was 4:30, at this point the runners were pretty spread out, I was close to a girl from another local team, and made sure to keep her in my sight. Her coach kept showing up on his bike and offering tips and encouragement, I decided to listen to what he had to say too, and we ended up running together for the second half of the race. This was also around the time, I realized I was likely going to PB if I kept running strong. Km 7 was 4:15, at which point her coach said something like, “now it’s time to go, this is when the race starts”. We began climbing the final incline during km 8 which was 4:26. I missed the marker for that km, so when I saw the sign for km 9, I was very happy. Km 9 was 4:21, and then I knew it was a flat, fast finish. I buckled down, and passed her. We exchanged a quick “good job”, and I continued on. With the finish line in sight she said, “lets get ‘er done, girl” and we sprinted to the finish. This is why I love the running community.
The sun was shining as I crossed that line, I stopped my watch, a PB. Grabbed some water and watched the other runners come in. I could hardly believe I took a whole minute of my previous best, with my 43:25 finish. This was my first PB since May at The Eugene Marathon and I will work to continue improving my times throughout this season.