Race report: Sandcastle City Classic 10K (White Rock, BC)
I decided to enter this race only last week. But even after I registered, I started to have my doubts. I told a friend, “I’m racing a 10K on Sunday, if you can call it ‘racing’. I’m so out of shape.” He said, “No, you’re not out of shape. You’re in the shape you’re in.” I whined, “But I’ve lost so much conditioning!” He said, “Who cares? Race. Breathe. Live.” He was so right. I decided from that moment forward I would no longer compare myself to my former self or complain about lost fitness. Racing was fun, and I missed it.
White Rock is well-known for its hilly terrain. The race organizers of Sandcastle have made it more appealing by designing a point-to-point course, starting at about 100m elevation and ending at sea level. This makes for a fun but challenging course. The first five kilometres are rolling and net downhill. The next four are gradually uphill; just when you are beginning that last third of the race and thinking, “10K races are tough… dig deep… ,” you also have to fight against gravity. The reward is a steady but steep downhill in the last kilometre, finishing at the beach.
My goal was simply to run hard and consistent. I knew that my Achilles would behave as long as I didn’t do anything crazy and kept relaxed on the downhills. I was expecting a pace of around 5:30/km, but I knew if it felt good I could be a bit faster. I did not do much of a warm-up before the race, so I used the first kilometre to ease into my pace. The rolling terrain and slight downhill allowed me to speed up, splitting the first 5K at just over 26 minutes (5:23 for the first kilometre, about 5:10/km for the next four). I was pretty happy with this. The tough kilometres began after that, and I was actually glad I hadn’t closely looked at the elevation profile before the race. I lost just a bit of time on kilometres 6-8 (about 5:30 average), but hung on anxiously awaiting the fun downhill. In the last kilometre I felt like I was flying, and I came over the finish line at just under 53 minutes.
I am so happy that I can now get out there and enjoy racing again. Racing doesn’t always have to be about PBs and age-group placings, as fun as those things are. Racing can be about doing your best on any given day, and experiencing the joy.