After a month of training since my last event at the Summerfast 10K on July 19, I raced again this past weekend at the Eastside 10K by the Canada Running Series.   I have had some decent training in the past month with Coach Dylan helping me to speed up my pace.  I had high hopes of doing well at the Eastside 10k but the reality was I probably needed more training to be more solid and confident at the pace (~3:35-3:40) I wished to persist in throughout the entire race.  
This is the 2nd year of the event. It commenced in 2013 and its inaugural event had brought some special meanings to me.  First, it was my first race coming back as a young father. Second, I ran as a Skechers Sponsored Athlete, though not entirely official at the time. Third, it was an event that runs through the toughest DTES neighbourhoods including their supporting NGOs (e.g.Mission Possible, one that I have supported and collaborated with for many years).  
For 2014, the Eastside 10k sets a year milestone for my training with Coach Dylan Wykes, a father of 17months and a year working with Skechers.  All is great! 
Let’s find out how I did on the day…
The weather was beautiful with clear skies and of about 12-15oC. I do find it a little warm but not going to complain too much here. I arrived at race site around 7:30am about an hour prior to start.  It was great to see many familiar faces already there. Trying my best to minimize too much conversations with others,  I quickly got changed, bag checked and got into my warm up routines. 
I realize this year’s elite listing wasn’t as exhaustive as last year’s.  I suspect few were succumbed to injuries and others might be at other events. Among the elite guys, there were Kelly Wiebe (the eventual winner andCR breaker @29:20) and Rob Watson as the favorites.  For the elite females, there were Natasha LaBeaud (the eventual female winner) and Lioudmila Kortchguina (last year’s winner). 
I lined up at the 2nd row just behind the elite pack at about 15mins before gun time.  At this point, the race directors were having some fun with us runners by messing with our minds about when the gun would go off.  It was within a minute or less before everyone dashed off. 
Coach D advised me to run easy for the first two Ks and race against others in the remainder.  I went out easy and felt controlled at a good comfortable effort.  Given the first K was a quick decline, my pace (3:39/K) was slightly faster than I wanted to be.  I think within 800m into the race, there was a swarm of people went past me including a senior (80?) runner.  It certainly never feels good when so many have past me but I knew it was just the start. 
Once the initial rush was gone, most runners found themselves going up a slight incline before hitting a sharp short hill.  I kept at an even pace and effort going up those hills and began to weave through many of the runners.  My pace for 2nd K was at 3:46/K.
The race itself is not only of rolling hills but also quite twisty.  By 3rd KM, I was surprised to see few runners from the elite pack were walking.  I knew my best strategy to run fast was to latch onto a fast group. For the following few Ks I kept my pace by  moving up to different groups.  I actually ran pretty well up to the 8th K.  My splits were: 3:45@3rd K, 3:38@4th, 3:37@5th, 3:39@6th and 3:43@7th.
The course itself is sort of an outback.  The route coming back isn’t identical per se but was on a street parallel to the one in the first half.  All in all, the first half was like a mirror image of the second half.  In essence, however many downhill we did in the first, there goes the same number of up-hills to grind in the 2nd half.  There were also few ‘obstacles’ like rail tracks and pot holes that I had to look out for during few of the rougher stretches in the race. 
By the 8th K I was probably in the top 20s, I found myself in a no-man’s land.  Without anyone or group to latch on, my mind goes weak.  My pace slipped to 3:48/k.    At the 9th K, I finally saw three runners about 400m in front of me.  I picked up my pace and hoping to catch up.  At this point, there was a guy (Alec Smecher) who turned out to be one of my running buddies cheering with a duck call standing outside of his house with his family in the Strathcona area.  I was too tired to wave back and knew I had to be focused grinding up the last two hills before crossing the finish line.  I caught up with the small group of guys.  Two of them were actually chatting. It wasn’t a conversation about the race but more like what they will be doing in the next week or so.  I tried my best to stay with these guys.  At the final stretch,  I found myself in some trouble to maintain a good pace while running up the sharp ramp back onto Dunsmuir Viaduct.  The guy (Cody Callon) picked up the pace to about 3:30/k and I probably made a dumb move by sticking with him.  I was able to keep that pace for may be 500m before started feeling to collapse.  I slowed down so much because my legs were heavy and my diaphragm was in pain.  
At this point, the two guys behind me had past me.  I felt terrible!  I cleared up my head and tried my best to run the last few hundred meters.  This was probably the only race I didn’t finish as strong as I could.  I simply struggled at the end.  I was so exhausted that I didn’t hear Coach D was cheering loud for me at the side.  I must say I am not completely thrilled with my time but after all it’s still a PB@ 37:29 ranking overall 31st.  It is almost 2 minute faster than last year and over 20th place ahead!
Thank you all for reading my post and special thanks to Skechers Canada Performance Division and Coach D for their invaluable support! 
medal14_lgVicar Eastside 10K 2014
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