Saturday 2 March I ran my first Century City Express 10km race. I decided to run it in my club colours of Satori Athletics from @noordhoek and it was the first time since late 2011. I only heard about the race the night before from @staceyrehbock as I was tweeting for advice on which road race I could do as a final seeding race for the Two Oceans Half Marathon. I was seeded E by default as I hadn’t done any qualifying races. I did my first Two Oceans Half in 2012 and was not keen on trying to race from the back. Thankfully the Century City Express provided for on the day entries and I thought “fantastic lets race” and get that seeding sorted out.
I got up early had a small bowl of @futurelifeza chocolate, a cup of coffee and then drove to the start at Century City. Thankfully it was early morning and there was no traffic so the drive through was a breeze. I got to the venue at 6am giving me a full hour to register, warm up and even sit in my car for a while with my ipod on listening to some music. I was feeling a little nervous as this was the first 10km road race I had done in nearly a year and the pressure was on as I wanted to run under 45 minutes for a B seeding start at Two Oceans. I had only ever run under 45 minutes twice before and only once in race conditions. However I believed that I was running well again and that I should be running closer to 43 minutes according to some online time predictions. I sat in my car with my Ipod on pumping out Eminem’s Lose Yourself track and then 10 minutes before the start I gave myself a final you can do this and went to warm up.
I shuffled in right at the front of the start line looking across at some very familiar faces amongst whom were the evergreen former 3 times Comrades Champion Vladamir Kotov (@kotovsport). The start gun went and the initial couple of hundred metres were frenetic as everyone jostled to either get out in front or find a comfortable space to run unhindered.
I had set my Garmin forerunner to a 4:30 min/km pace so that I could aim for the sub 45 minute I needed and keep tabs on my progress. I settled into a good pace straight from the start that didn’t feel that I was pushing too hard. The course was as flat as a pancake with only a couple of bumps to run. The problem was the wind that at times was head on and felt that you had a parachute attached to your back. There was no escaping it and I chuckled at those runners that I passed who fell in behind me to escape the wind. I am after all not exactly the biggest guy around and don’t make the best wind barrier.
The course was well stocked with water and plenty of animated supporters at the water tables to keep us motivated. The windy conditions helped with keeping cool and as I had hydrated before the start I only used the water sachets from the 5km mark to prevent my mouth from drying out and towards the end to pour on my head to cool down.
The final few kilometres were almost straight into the wind and were very hard going. There was a slight incline running parallel to the Canal Walk Mall and it felt like more of a hill with the strong wind in our faces. I was thankful for the past month of running trail and in particular the 5.5km trail time trial route at Silvermine with http://www.trailjunkee.co.za. My legs were feeling surprisingly stronger than I thought they would be given that I hadn’t done as much road running and at race pace for some time. The longer I ran though the stronger my belief that I could actually run a PB and began thinking more about trying to reach my ultimate goal time of below 43 minutes.
The 9km marker came up and I glanced down at my Garmin that showed I was 1 minute 39 seconds ahead of my 4:30min/km pace. I was comfortably going to break 45 minutes and well under 44 minutes if I kept my pace up. I really wanted that sub 43 minute and thought I can do this but I am going to have to run close to 4 min for the last km to get back those 20 seconds. A couple of hundred metres and then we turned to have the wind slightly behind us and I upped my pace. I ran shoulder to shoulder with another runner that had been with me from the 5km mark and we pushed hard passing quite a few runners on the way in. It was hard work but exhilarating to be running at my maximum effort.
We made the final turn and I knew we were a couple of hundred metres from the finish. I held out my right hand to the runner next to me and said “good running bru now let’s finish this off” and he clasped my hand briefly and said “let’s do it”. We came around the corner and onto the grass as we caught yet another runner who then opened up and all 3 of us gave it everything we had as we sprinted to the finish. It was the perfect way to finish the race. We all high fived or rather low fived as we were bent over from exhaustion but each of us were elated.
I looked down at my Garmin and it showed my overall time of 42:55 with a final km time of 3:58. I had bettered my PB by nearly 2 full minutes and I had got my B seeding. I was ecstatic and gave a little fist pump with a resounding “YES”.
I stayed a while at the end to cheer on the other runners and it was great to see @staceyrehbock and @blondebing and have a catch up and share our run experience.
Overall the course is a fast one and I would be interested to run it without a strong South Easter next year. It was well organised with plenty of parking and a venue that was easy to find. The only thing I would say is that if it hadn’t been for @staceyrehbock I wouldn’t have run. So thank you Stacey! Perhaps they could get the word out a little bit more about the run and even consider using social media to do so. Of course there were nearly 2 thousand runners there in any event but i am sure more would come and do it! Its a great option if you are looking for a good seeding for the Two Oceans half. See you in 2014 at the Century City Express!
See my Garmin Connect record of the run below