Last year, I participated in the 5K race, and I had a lot of fun. :) This race set the tone and my enthusiasm for doing the rest of the Runpiker Series runs in 2010. It was my second race of the year. I have no blog record of running this race from last year, but I have my results:
May 2, 2010
So how am I doing one year later?
1:07:24 Official Posted Time
Gun Start/Chip Finish
8 seconds shy of my current PR! LOL!
1:07:29 - 1:10 = 1:06:19? LOL!
Wow! What a day! So much to think about during and after the race ... so much that I learned today ...
To begin, it was nice and cool first thing in the morning, but it turned out to be quite warm and very humid during the race. It almost felt like an anomaly that I wasn't racing in the rain! :) Ben and the dogs came with me to Woodstock so this race was a family affair.
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LEARNI NG #1 - You are never too old to run.
I saw an 88 year old woman cross the finish line in the 2K. Six people ran in after her. :) Everyone near the finish line clapped and cheered as she crossed the finish line because it was so inspirational to watch her in action. :)
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After the 2K finished, the 5K race started (~10 minutes before the 10K) so I watched and cheered this nice size group of 308 runners and walkers start their race before I headed to my start line. There was a significant group of walkers with walking sticks and matching t-shirts at the tail end, which was unusual but great to see in the 5K. I then headed to my starting line.
Once again, my heart sank a little when I saw how small the 10K group was (131). It 'almost' gives me the impression that no one likes to run in these races unless s/he can run 10K in an hour or less ... but I know that I am never going to become one of 'those' runners unless I keep doing what I am doing so ... it is what it is. :) I wasn't there to compete against anyone but myself, and my goals for this run were different. Memory serves me well because I recalled from last year that there was a very long steady incline in the few km of this course so aiming for a PR was out. Instead, I had determined that this would be a free-for-all run. I wanted to see how well I could do in a 10K without going by the Garmin, instead running it by "feel," even if I ran out of fuel near the end. I set my Garmin for "Pace," "Time," and "Average Pace."
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LEARNING #2: "Average Pace" works really well for me.
I would check my Garmin periodically to see how I was doing by the "Pace" window and there were some very wide variations ... 6:15, 7:45, 6:30, 7:10 ... but my "Average Pace" remained pretty much steady at 6:38 throughout the race. This helped me to not to get demoralized or panicky about a very slow pace, but to keep in mind that I was making up for it in the long term when running faster on the flat road and the downhill. I didn't slow myself down when I saw that my pace was sub-6:30; instead, I kept going with it to see how well I could do. Because my "Average Pace" remained steady, I trusted my running ability.
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So it was the familiar swooooosh as 'it seemed' that everyone ran ahead of me. At one point, when I passed by a police car, I heard the officer start to direct traffic through. This gave me an indication that I might be last or that there was a gap between me and the next runner ... I didn't give it too much thought, but was something that I noticed. With 28 races, you would think I know better, but in this particular race, I did get caught up in the starting pace:
1 km - 6:24
In my defence, I had warmed up with a light jog so I was not running this 'cold' ... but it is too fast for me. It felt fine, but then we hit the steady incline:
2 km - 6:41
3 km - 6:41
Still a very fast pace for me, especially on an incline ... but hey, I was the one who decided to run by "feel" so I went with it. By this time, I was passing a lot of walkers. :) It helped boost my ego when needed out there. :)
4 km - 6:40
I spot a woman well ahead of me with a distinctive white running top with a blue stripe down the back in the middle. I noticed this shirt at the starting line and this shirt/runner would prove to be my personal 'rabbit' for the rest of the race.
There are multiple water stations and I have slowed once to use one of them them for cooler water. I am running with my water belt and due to the heat and humidity, I have already been using them frequently for small squirts of water to wet my dry mouth.
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LEARNING #3: I am really smart to wear a water belt!
I want to make a note of this (again) in case something changes for me in the future, but I really do not understand how anyone can run in the weather without a water belt. I am carrying water and sipping at it when needed, but isn't the heat dehydrating everyone one else, too? I think there is only two of us wearing water belts.
5 km - 6:38
I am finishing the first loop and running faster because of the cheering noise from the crowd at the finish line for the 5K runners finishing. They have the fire truck hose spraying, too, which was soooo nice last year and I am already looking forward to it at the end of my second loop. I hear the announcer overt the loudspeaker advising the crowd that the first 10K runner has just entered the park. I think that he should announce that this runner will NOT be lapping me today! :) :) Woo hoo - I made it past the 5K mark before he runs into first place! :)
But now I have to do that bloody incline again. My pace going up them was not so enthusiastic:
6km - 6:51
7 km - 6:44
However, this is when I start to pass a few 10K runners. There are several runners walking up the hill and although my pace is excruciating slow, I am still passing them. One of them catches up to me and passes me again, but this is when I decide that I will skip the water stop, knowing that she will use it, and use it as my opportunity to pass. For some reason, the water station is in the valley so runners run down to it, stop for water, but the have to run up a hill. Sure enough, she stops, I pass, and she then tries to catch up to me on the hill, but it's too late; she has lost momentum and can't get up to speed on the hill. And I keep truckin' ...
8 km - 6:34
As I dip into the one side of the park, Ben and the dogs are there to greet me. This pic is Ben's viewpoint. I am a little nervous that the dogs will go nuts and try to run to me, but they are as good as gold. I ask Ben later, what did you do to make them behave so well? And he tells me, they didn't clue in it was you until you passed ... then they went pulled like crazy on the leashes to catch up to you! :) :)
This is when I notice that I am catching up to two more runners. Although I am very hot and tired, I am feeling very good because my average pace is holding steady, and I have no caught up to more runners who have been ahead of me the whole time. Both runners slow at the next water station and I do, too, because I need to throw some cool water on me, and within a few minutes, I have passed the two of them. :) :)
9 km - 6:53
I am slowing and starting to feel very sluggish in this one section of the race. I just felt a wave of tiredness and I am wondering if this is when I am going to hit a wall, or start slowing significantly before the finish ...
But as I round the corner, I see white shirt/blue stripe lady. My rabbit. :) I had lost sight of her through all the curves and turns we are making, but there she is. Without realizing it, I start to run faster. It is my goal to catch up to her. Just keep this pace steady, I tell myself. Don't go crazy, keep it here, and you will catch up.
And I did. :) My rabbit starts to walk with less than a km to go, and I pass her. I half expect her to start running and catch up to me, but I don't see her again. :)
10 km - 6:19
This is when I see several more runners ahead of me ... and they are walking.
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LEARNING #4: I always have enough in reserve for the end.
29 races and regardless of how tired I feel, I have never walked before the finish line. :) One fringe benefit of being very conservative when it comes to pushing myself in a race?
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At this time, I can see the curve before the finish line chute, and I am happily passing another runner who is walking. I see one last runner ahead of me. She has slowed to a walk, but I am pretty sure she will start running again before I reach her so as my last motivational milestone in this race, I decide that I will keep up to her pace to the finish to get me across the line.
Sure enough, just as I thought, she starts running again as soon as I am behind her. Good! I can follow her pace in ... except that it turns out that my pace is just a little bit faster ... we are so close to the finish - should I bother trying to pass her? And for a refreshing change, instead of being laid back and just finishing the race, I decide that yes, I do want to pass her. :) She ran the entire race well ahead of me, and I did a great job catching up so why not go for it?
So I did. :)
I pulled to the right and keeping my pace, I started to pass her. And then the unexpected and (for me) magical happened ... she started to run faster and started racing me to the finish. :) And somewhere internally, my inner competitive spirit suddenly appeared and I ran with everything that I had. I could hear people clapping and hooting because we were both gunning it!
.22 km - 5:19
Best pace: 3:38 (told you I was gunning it!) :)
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LEARNING #5: Although I like to think of myself as very laid back, I can become very competitive when challenged!
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When Ben found me walking and catching my breath, he exclaimed, "WOW, Sweety! You were really running at the end! Your arms were swinging and everything!" Thank goodness he caught my very funny photo finish in the pic above, eh? :) :)
And now to ingest even more humour into this ... when the race results were posted later in the afternoon, I realized that when the police officer had let the cars pass the barricade after I ran by that I really HAD been the last 10K runner! I ran from last place to 8th last place and I know this to be true because I counted all the people I passed along the way, and my count equals the number of runners posted on the results after my name - LOL! I had fought and battled my way eight places up!
Runner #123 out of 131 10K racers. :)
So here ends my tale of the Dairy Capital 10K run for 2011. Truly a great 'test' run. My sixth race of 2011; my 29th race total to date; the second time I have been to this event; and, my 10th 10K race total to date. it was fun, I learned a lot, Ben and my dogs were with me, and best of all ...
With that crazy 2 km incline (twice!) of 20 metres, I was only 9 seconds off my PR. :) :)
Rest on Monday; back to the track Tuesday. :)