Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Two for One! A 5k and a 10k Race Report!

I didn't run two races at once...I just didn't write a recap for either race until this moment.

I ran the CHOK Bridge Race 5km on June 1st, and the Moon in June 10k race in Burlington on June 7th...

Race Recap #1 - The Bridge Race 5km:

I've been running the Bridge Race for many years, as it is a fun 10k race that covers ground in two countries all at once. The fact that it occurs at the beginning of June is kind of nice, as it is usually lovely weather.

This year, they decided to offer a 5km race option.  My brother Scott usually runs this race with me, but this year he wasn't, so I thought it might be better to skip out on the bus ride to the states, the "cramming my passport in my shorts" thing, and start and finish the race all in one country. I also really wanted to put a 5k on the books at the beginning of the season, to see where my 5k fitness is.

I attempted to park right at the race start, but, due to some construction woes, I ended up parking right underneath the Bluewater Bridge. I had to do a warm up run anyway, so it didn't really matter where I parked!  It was a lovely morning. The sun was shining and the air was perfect.

Lovely morning for a race!
After a nice warm up run, I went over to the water to watch the 10km Race start.  The starting line for their race was across the river, so I could see the big swarm of runners take off.  Yes, it would have been a good photo, but it didn't occur to me to take a picture.

I made my way to the 5km starting line.  I haven't run a 5km race since last fall, so I was all giddy and nervous.  I actually haven't really raced anything since last fall, so this was exciting.

Before I knew it, the gun was going off, and we were on our way.  I pressed start on my Garmin.  Another woman swooped past me, going super fast.  Like, crazy really fast.  I looked down at my watch to see my pace, and all I saw was a graph/data displayed.  Seriously?  Again?

I must have hit the bezel (ugh, Garmin and your bezel!) as I was hitting the start button.  This is the third race that I have messed up with my Garmin.  I am starting to believe this is "operator error."  I had to accept the fact that I was running this race blind.  I hoped that it was somehow still recording my pace/time, but that wasn't the case :(

Just before the 1km mark, I caught up to the speedster woman, and went for the pass.  The man that was in first place was pushing a girl in a jogger, and he was g o n e.  We merged with the 10km route, about a kilometre into our race.  I felt kind of bad, running fast past people that were running for twice as long!  We ended up in Canatara Park, in the shade for the second half of the route.  Nice and breezy.

I was pushing my pace (at least I think I was?) as I wanted to get to that finish line with a good time on the clock!  That big red finish line arch could not come soon enough, as my legs were really pushing it.

There was only one finish line clock, which displayed the 10km time.  That was no help to me!  And without a working watch, I just had to stand around and wait for the results to be posted.  I got to cheer on lots of 10km finishers as I waited, which was nice.

When the results were posted, I found out I was 2nd overall, in 19:47.  I'll take it!  I also was the first female, so I was a prize winner! Can't argue with that.

My car was parked perfectly for my 5km cool down.

The Bridge Race is always a great start to the season, and I love that there are now two race distances offered.

Heading back to the bridge on my cool-down run

Race Recap #2 - The Moon in June 10km, Burlington

A year ago, I ran a different Moon in June, in Windsor ON.  It was a great race, and it is (still) my PB at 42:02.  I vowed last year when I came in 3 seconds over my goal time, that I would return to the race in 2014 to beat my time.  (I went off course last year during that race so I was very frustrated by missing my goal time).  Due to scheduling and location, I decided to run a race closer to home this year.  Another Moon in June would be perfect.

An evening race is intriguing, yet a bit scary.  Not spooky, but scary due to the unknowns.  What do I eat all day?  Will I be too tired to race at 9pm, when I am usually in bed by 9:30?

I went ahead and worried throughout the day, while chasing the boys around and doing errands.  The nice thing about racing at bed time, is that one can still do all of the normal Saturday things, including enjoying a picnic for dinner in the park, without any impact on the race.

pre-race socks and sandals. *yes, I know my 5-year-old is not wearing a helmet in the background :(
I kept dinner light (hence the picnic) and got ready to head out as the kids were getting ready for bed.  I made it to the race venue nice and early, but parking was a bit of an issue.  Over an hour before the race, and downtown Burlington was packed with cars and people!  I drove around, and finally found a spot a good couple of kilometres away.  I decided this would work out well for my cool down run later.

I walked with my pre-race banana and water bottle into downtown to the starting line area.  The nice thing about this race was the fact that City Hall was open for bathroom use before the race started (just like the Chilly Half Marathon that they host in the winter at the same spot) so I didn't have to brave the porta-potties this time.

I headed out for a warm up 20min. run, including 3 sets of 100m strides.  I did my warm up on the race course, which is always a bonus.  The more familiar a race course is, the better!

It came time to line up.  They had two corrals, side-by-side.  One for the 5k racers, and one for the 10k racers.  There were waaaaaay more 5k racers!  I got a spot relatively close to the front of the 10k corral.   I had my race plan and I was ready to get this thing started.

Off the gun went, and we took off.  Of course, starting with the 5k runners did not help my compulsive need to go out too fast.  My first mile split was 6:34.  My fastest split.  Ugh.  Of course it felt great, although my mouth felt so, so dry.  This has never happened to me before.  I am going to blame it on the night time race.

After about 2km, that feeling went away, and we were weaving through a residential neighbourhood.  This race was two loops for the 10k, (obviously one loop for the 5k) which I like.  I like having no surprises in the second half of a race.

I came up to the half way mark (back to the start) in 21:05.  Could I do a negative split?  (spoiler alert: No, no I cannot)  I had passed the only other female runner within sight in the kilometre right before the half.  My goal was to stay ahead of her, keep my pace, and stay focused.  I took a small cup of water at the halfway also.  I proceeded to gulp a tiny bit in my mouth, and the rest went up my nose.  Usually I save the whole, "water up my nose" thing for the swim portion of triathlons, but I guess I'm now integrating it into races on dry land! sigh.

I seemed to be keeping pace with a really tall dude at this point.  I decided that keeping with him was a good bet.  Focusing on keeping pace with him would distract me from glancing at my Garmin (which was really hard to read in the dark)!  I know it has a glow button, but I couldn't remember how to do it, and the darn thing was working for me, so I didn't want to mess around with it!

I actually considered wearing TWO garmins just in case I had technical difficulties.  In the end, pride won and I only wore my trusty older one
By the time we hit the 8km marker, ("we" being me and the tall dude) we were passing walkers from the 5km race.  It was interesting weaving around people (harder to keep the tangents).  It was at this point that I had to really make a conscious effort to keep up my pace. But that is what racing it about, right?  If that last kilometre or two feels easy, we wouldn't keep coming back for more races.  I guarantee it.

In the pitch dark, I ran my heart out toward that finish line, which (I swear) was creeping further and further away every time I looked up!  My legs and arms were pumping and I was giving it my all.  I crossed the line in 42:36.  I didn't have those 37 extra seconds, but I was very proud of my effort.

My splits:

1 - 6:34
2 - 6:43
3 - 6:52
4 - 6:52
5 - 6:56
6 - 6:50
.2 - 6:46

The race was wonderful, with one exception.  After crossing the finish line, we didn't see anyone passing out water (or anything).  That was not cool, Moon in June.  Water is kind of important to me after a race!

When I asked around, I was told there was water down the street at the waterfront.  Ohhhh, ok.  I guess I will just walk that way!  I wandered down the street, where there were the sounds of live music.  The waterfront was packed with people (most of whom were not in running gear--was I in the right place?). I kept walking past a big outdoor stage until I saw a "Moon in June" sign.  Was it a mirage?  Would there be water?  I walked in through the gated area (I was admitted as I was wearing my race bib) where I was directed, not to water, but BEER!  Well, ok then.

Mill St. Organic is my FAVOURITE beer!!

I was able to locate the results sheet postings while in the beer tent area (really, it was a race on a Saturday night.  What else should I have expected, but free beer and results in the beer tent area?!)

I was 3rd female overall!  I was 2nd in my Age Group!  There were prizes for these things! Yay!

When I went to wait around for 1/2 an hour collect my prize, I found out that my 3rd overall had bumped my 2nd place Age group prize, so instead of a handy umbrella, I won  this lovely trinket...

It's original, I'll give them that!
This Pink Flamingo (now named Pimo...short for Pink Moon) actually came in very handy.  As I ran (cool down run post-beer...seems legit?) in the dark back to my car, the spikes from this bad boy kept me safe from any crazed downtown night life.

I am glad to have those two races under my belt.  I am happy with where I am sitting at this point in the season, after such a long long winter of zero running, and only "old-lady hobbling".

Happy Running!

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