It has been a while since my last post, mainly because it has been a while since my last race. The last 7 weeks or so have just been building up the mileage and fitness, with the main focus is to stay healthy for the spring. There are very few opportunities in the winter months to actually test where I am at and get into a competitive road race, so it made a lot of sense to jump in the one nearby opportunity there is over the Christmas break, which is the Boxing Day 10 miler in Hamilton. I didn't really know what to expect since I haven't raced in a while. Some workouts in the past few weeks have indicated I am in pretty good shape, while other times, not so much. My goal was to get top 3 and improve from the time I ran last year. When I saw the weather forecast of 40km/h winds and -12 windchill, my goal was simply get top 3 and not care about time. At first I was unhappy about the forecast, but after thinking about it, I convinced myself that the adverse conditions would play to my advantage.
My competition in the race would be a few people from Athletics Toronto and a few of the usual Hamilton/Toronto area Kenyans. So I figured there would be a decent pack to run with, and nobody who was way better than everyone else who would try to run away with it from the gun. I was right, and I was thankful for that. The pace was conservative, first 5 miles were just over 25:30. That is what I wanted, since last year we went out a bit faster, and I had no idea there was a pretty decent hill between mile 7 and 8. This year I made sure I factored that in. By the time we got to the hill, I was confident I had enough left in the tank to handle it quite well. After the hill, it was a pack of 3 of us, and some of the runners who I expected to be out in front had fallen back. One of the runners was Lucas McAneney, a runner who actually competed in the same small NCAA D1 conference as me (Atlantic Sun) for a brief time when I was a freshman and he was a senior. The other I found out after the race was Peter Corrigan, a solid 1500m runner. He and Lucas put a small gap on me with just over a mile to go, and although I was able to pass Lucas on the final mile, I didn't have enough time to run down Corrigan. Maybe if it was a half marathon...but I was still fairly happy with my 2nd place result. I haven't had too many road races that were that close. It turned out that despite the tough conditions, I was pretty close to last year's time.
This race is a good confidence boost as I start to think about what my racing plans are for the spring. There are questions I need to answer for myself in the next few months such as whether or not I will run a marathon this spring or this fall and whether or not I run Around the Bay this year. Ultimately I shouldn't worry too much about what decision to make, because God is in control, and I trust him to guide me in the path he wants me to go next. For now, I am taking a few days of recovery to heal from some minor aches and pains I've had over the last few weeks so I can continue with training this winter injury free.