Last race of the season complete!
A big motivation for me signing up for this was when I couldn’t perform as well as I’d hoped at the MEC Race 2 10k back in May. I needed a do over.
This local race is part of the Niagara Running Series, I ran one other of the races this year, the Grimsby 10k where due to the small number of participants (it was February and -30C that day) I was able to easily place in my age group. This race I knew would be harder to place but I’ve improved so much in the last month I was up for the challenge.
This race was held on Tuesday night (night before Canada Day) with the 10k starting at 7:30. Worked well for me as it gave me plenty of time to get there after work. What did not give me plenty of time was same-day race kit pick up, you had from 5pm-7pm to get your kit. I left work at 6pm which is about 30 minutes away without traffic. Schools out now so traffic wasn’t bad. But every time is slowed I started freaking out. I ended getting there at 6:35 so I really didn’t need to worry, but still it was a stressful situation. I big improvement for this race would be to offer kit pick-up somewhere the day before.
By the time I had arrived the kids 1k was underway so access to the parking lot was blocked and I had to park on a nearby side street, not too far away. I jogged over to the arena the kit pick-up was in because I was still in high anxiety mode. Got my bib, my t-shirt and my kit. Which was actually just a bag of fliers…
Quick stopped at the bathroom (yay short line!) and I went back to my car to drop the bag off and get my ipod since I forgot it on the way in.
And then it was waiting game. I mostly just wandered around inside and outside. The 5k started at 7:00 so we started seeing them come in before the 10k which was nice. 10 minutes to start and I did a light warm-up jog again to get warm since it was a bit cool out, perfect temperature for a race though! This is when I know I might have a problem, my legs were feeling heavy and not up for speed. I didn’t let that bother me then and just shook them out trying to get loose.
At 7:30 we’re off. There was a last minute change to the course and instead of the usual loop we were to do 2 loops of the 5k course. I was worried about this, I didn’t know how the loop would affect my head, it didn’t bother me during MEC Race 3 so I was hopeful but still concerned.
The race actually went really really well for me. My legs stuck in their stubborn way to not move as fast as they could, so my speed wasn’t where it could have been. But I pushed myself the entire time, I remained positive, any doubts in myself I was able to quickly brush away. I hadn’t had a race go so well mentally all season. And I finally ran a race where every single split was below 6:00 min/km! My slowest km was at 8k with a pace of 5:58 but that was during a hilly section and Strava actually put my GAP at 5:41 for that and aside from it every other km was actually below 5:48!
I’m really proud of that last km, my lungs were not having a good time by this point as I’d been solidly pushing myself though 9km which included 2, 2k sections of rolling hills. I didn’t even slow down for the water stations aside from the amount necessary to get water into my mouth, and I still just mostly got the water all over me. I really tried to put everything I had into that last 1-2km and I think I succeeded pretty well, my final sprint was far slower than it has been in recent races (peaked at 4:35, about 30s slower than other sprints) which means I didn’t have too much left in the tank by the end, and my lungs were definitely feeling the burn.
Official chip time: 56:59
Squeezing in to nab that sub 57! So glad I picked it up even more when I saw the gun time clock cross 57 minutes. I was pretty close to the start line at gun time so I thought I’d missed the sub 57 so I was pleasantly surprised when I checked my time to see 56.
On another day my time would have been a lot faster (figured I’d be able to do a sub 56 and possibly push for a sub 55), but my legs were just not up for speed that day. I still pushed them through to a PB by over a minute and a half so I think that says a lot more than if I my legs were feeling fast. I couldn’t get them to move as fast as they’re capable of, but I didn’t let that stop me and still managed a significant PR. If I can manage a performance like this on a sluggish day, imagine what I can do when the cards line up perfectly on race day?
Post race was alright. Nuun was there! Loved that! Food was pizza from Boston Pizza, banana and a granola bar, not the best but hey, pizza!
I didn’t stay for the award ceremony since it didn’t start until 9 and I’d already confirmed I had not placed. So I made an uncomfortable walk back to my car as I’d apparently developed a blister on my foot (stupid shoes!!!). And then grabbed my phone so I could show off my adorable medal!
Peach Bud Review
Overall the race experience was well put together, great aid stations, there was 5 for the 10k, 1 with Gatorade, as well as a fire hose to run through and a sponge station. It was a cool night so these weren’t necessary (though I did run through the hose on my second lap just for kicks), but could have been a life savour on another night. T-shirt is pretty nice, by the same company that made the Mississauga shirts actually, but this is a much smoother fabric and I may actually wear this one. The women’s shirt is blue with nice capped sleeves and features my favourite little peach buddy!
The series could do with some better communication with the runners, they don’t send out any emails before the race and the website is not well maintained, they had the old 10k course map up until just a few days before so I’m sure most people did not know of the course change until they got there. But once you’re there everything is well done and they added chip time results which is great! The last race I did with them was gun time only so having the start line mat was great since it was a much bigger crowd at this race.