10k Abras AC race, 13 January 2012

The first race of the year 2012. I am actually in tapering mode for the Dubai marathon in two weeks time. But I love 10k races, and this one in particular. It's a small event where the Who is Who of the local running scene lines up to compete.

It's been very warm the last few days in Dubai, much warmer than average. Not a good thing when you are having a new PB on your mind. There is nothing that can be done done about it. The race was supposed to start at 7am, just after sunrise. I was just hoping it wouldn't get hot too quickly.
The good thing is that 10k races don't really make me nervous anymore. I had a quiet evening before. Carb-loading is not really necessary when running 10k. They might sit too heave in your stomach. I had made a big pot of a hearty vegetable stew the night before. This was just the right food, still some carbs, but light on the stomach and hydrating the body at the same time. I slept well and woke up rested just before 6am. I chomped down a banana without much appetite, just to have something in the stomach, and drove to the race.

After a little warm-up run and chats here and there with fellow runners, the gun went off at 7am. The first kilometer I ran in 4:24. It felt fast, and I had a few doubts if I could really keep up that pace for the whole distance. The second kilometer was a reality check, as it came with strong headwinds. A few fellow runners that I considered as fast or even faster than me, were behind me by the end of the first lap out of three.

The second lap is always the hardest one, I find. At least, you come past the halfway mark. I was at 22:02 at 5k, good enough to break the 45min finish time that I set for myself. That gave me confidence. During this lap I realized that I could keep up the pace, and relied on the end-in-sight motivation for the third lap.

Nevertheless, all runners were confronted with these horrible headwinds twice on each lap. I couldn't quite gauge if this would take its toll on my pace. I can't remember my exact time at 8k, but I recall that I would comfortably finish under 45 minutes. I ran as fast as I could, didn't check my watch anymore. Just a 100 metres before the finishing line I realized that I could even break 44 minutes. And so I did. Finished in 43:56min, 1:21min off my previous PB. It was a very good run. And surely the perfect confidence booster for the upcoming marathon in two weeks time.

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