6.57 AM – Kieran rolls out of bed to the sound of Brad banging down his door, and the Barters arriving to drive the Jones’ to the race.
7.03 – Kieran walks out the door fully kitted, including breakfast, shorts, and a bathroom break.
7.51 – Minimal warm-up takes place. Some light jogging, followed by some heavier jogging, and finally, some really heavy jogging.
8.00 – Start line time. Aaron and Kieran are about 50 people back from the front, Brad is about the same distance, but on the opposite side of the road. He’s not going to be a threat.
Kieran: “Allright, I’ll see you at the finish line”
Aaron: “Hold on, I thought we were warming up the first few kms together?”
(times will now switch to race time)
0:30 – Kieran and Aaron tackle the crowd, dusting old ladies, babies, and dudes who wear water bottle holders during a 10 km.
3:40 – Kieran and Aaron, still together, hit the 1 km mark only about 30 seconds behind the guy in the lead, who is running with a blue parachute attached to his back.
3:50 – Kieran decides that the pain in his legs is probably due to the lengthy Owl training camp, and the unsustainable pace over the first km, and decides to let Aaron go, in the interest of finishing.
12:04 – After being passed by a whole pile of people, Kieran hits the 3 km mark, takes a look back on a corner, and sees a black hat, a white singlet, and a really skinny dude. Brad!
16:14 – 4 km. With his km splits dropping about 5-10 seconds per km, panic has begun to set in. ‘Are we really only 4 km in?? My legs hurt! I think the wheels are coming off…’ Kieran thinks to himself. But also determination – new goal, get to 5 km before Brad shows up.
19:01 – Long strait stretch into a head wind, and Kieran is caught alone with no big guys to block the wind. A quick look back shows Brad (5’9 – 130 pounds soaking wet) tucked in behind a 6’2 monstrosity of a windbreak. Brad is clearly being sucked along in Shrek’s draft, and the two are closing quickly. Shrek blows by Kieran, and Brad’s shoes and breath are now clearly audible. In return, Kieran ups the pace, thinking he will break Brad with a couple of minutes of up-tempo running, as Brad clearly just spent the last 3 km playing catch up.
19:50 – It didn’t work. Brad is still closing.
20:04 – 5 km mark, and Kieran crosses it first! Brad is two steps behind, and he can smell the fear. Or the nasty stench of a quick dry shirt being sweated in.
20:15 – Brad runs up beside Kieran. The two exchange a few words – Brad: “How are you doing??” Kieran: “Not so good, think things are coming apart here…” At which point Brad thinks to himself ‘the race starts now, bucko’.
20:50 – First uphill. Okay, slight incline, as much of an uphill as exists in Kanata. Brad puts the hammer down, and Kieran tries to respond, but can’t handle the pace! 200 meters of slight uphill pavement, and Kieran has dropped 30 seconds! Despair trundles through Kieran’s head, followed by his close friends Humiliation, Pain, and finally Resolve. The four proceed to sit down, crack some beers, and have a round table discussion on how to continue the rest of the race.
26:30 – Kieran hits the 6.5 km mark in pain, but Brad is still in sight. Not close, not far, but the 150 meters separating the two seems like the Berlin Wall to Kieran. Resolve has taken control of the round table discussion, has beaten Despair and Pain into submission, and is using Humiliation as crowd control. Kieran is just trying to stay in contact.
28:33 – At 7 km, things have stabilized. Brad is no longer pulling away, but is still ahead. Kieran has stopped hemorrhaging time on each km marker. After some debate, Kieran opts to put it in cruise control, and charge up the guns for his usual Petter-Northug-esque finish, which, if he can close a few more meters, he feels it will be enough.
34:45 – At roughly 8.5 km Kieran hits the final water station – looking for Gatorade, but finds only water. No extra boost for the final 1.5 km. The distance to Brad has not closed, and Doubt has now joined Resolve and Humiliation at the party in Kieran’s brain, and he’s brought Gin and Tonics. Pain has also rallied, causing problems for Resolve, and Humiliation has passed out, offering no help.
35:05 – Kieran rounds the 3rd last corner onto a long straight section, and sees just how much distance separates him from Brad. At the same time, two dudes make a push past Kieran at a good clip – it’s now or never for the younger Jones, and he hops on the back to take a chunk out of Brad’s lead. Slowly, the gap closes as Kieran and his two new best friends creep up on Brad, who is running alone.
36:50 – At 9 km, the gap has been closed a little, but the hustle has taken its toll on Kieran. His two friends have leaped out ahead, leaving Kieran stumbling along. After some quick mental math, he realizes that to break 40 minutes (his backup goal) Kieran will have to run a 3 minute last km. Which seems unrealistic.
37:50 - Aaron finishes, far, far ahead of Kieran and Brad. He claims he spent the last 2.5 km running scared while listening for Jones' heavy breathing and characteristic finishing speed. He really didn't have to worry.
38:23 – After wallowing in self pity, a spark is suddenly injected in Kieran’s step. Brad seems to be slowing! The gap is closing at an unbelievable rate! ‘Can it be possible??’ thinks Kieran ‘Has Brad hit the wall with less than 1 km to go? Or does he know I’m here and he’s saving his speed, waiting for me to try the patented charge from the back in the last 100 meters??’ Hope has now gatecrashed the party in Kieran’s brain, and he’s brought a keg.
39:04 – Kieran rounds the second last turn, and has Brad in his sights, Top Gun style - ‘Too close, Switching to Guns’.
39:40 – In a group of 4 or 5, Brad rounds the last corner, and unbeknownst to him Kieran is only 5 meters back. At the sight of the finish line banner, Kieran rounds the corner, picks the inside of the group to keep himself hidden from Brad as long as possible, explodes through the tight pack, destroying his two friends from earlier, and leaving Brad with his ears ringing and ego shattered. Kieran’s unbelievable sprint finish kick doesn’t fail him – the last 100 meters remain his domain.
40:23 – Kieran crosses the line in 46th place, and resists the temptation to fist pump.
40:27 – Brad crosses the line in 50th place, good enough for 5th in his age category, but second in the category that mattered – The Showdown.