Race Recap – MEC Race #1 “The Cold One”

Happy Monday

I raced this past weekend in MEC Ottawa’s first race of the 2014 season – and well, it was my first 2014 race too!

The race definitely earned the name “The Cold One” as it was mighty cold!  The night before, a few of us were concerned about the -35Cwindchill that was predicted. Luckily when I woke up the weather was like this:



For my American Friends:



Yeah – that is still pretty darn cold though.  But a tad bit normal for these parts, especially in the morning.  I gathered my things and headed to the Rideau-Carleton Racetrack where the race was located. It was a good 25 minute drive as it is located past the Ottawa Airport. Bit of a lengthy drive. However, there was no need to find parking as there was plenty of free parking. The Rideau-Carleton Racetrack also let us use the downstairs room so we were able to get our timing chips and wait in a warm room until literally 2 minutes before the race. MEC Ottawa had two options for today’s race: 5K and the 10K. The race turn-out was nice and small – around 40 for the 5K and 30 for the 10K. Many MEC staff were participating which was nice!

When I got there, I quickly layered up and went inside. What did I wear? A mix of things in about 3 layers.

Layer 1 – Under-roos and Sports Bra.

No one needs to see that

Layer 2 – 



Orange Saucony tech shirt – really good at repealing moisture. This was a last minute grab as I felt the need for a t-shirt

Pink compression tights and top from Champion/Target – gift from my parents for Christmas that has already served me well. The tights are nice and insulated so they are pretty good on their own to about -15 or so.

Layer 3



MEC Fleece – another last minute add

MEC tights – a bit too big on their own – so I usually wear a pair of long underwear, but opted for the pink tights instead

Layer 4


Same tights – but added my new MEC orange fleece sweater. This sweater is unbelievable warm

Layer 5



Add my Running Room Resolution Run 2012 Jacket and we are done! Best race swag ever!

I also had on my racing gloves, a headband and a neck warmer. For socks I wore one pair of athletic socks and one pair of Wigwam heavy duty socks.



The verdict on all these layers? I was toasty warm!  I made sure to wear all these layers immediately going into the waiting room so that I would get a bit warm. When we went outside, the cold did not bother me one bit. However, when the running started my face froze super fast. I have to think about another option than that neck warmer for face warmth as I was very uncomfortable in the face for most of the race. Other than that – I wasn’t cold anywhere else!

So  back to the race – when I got there, the MEC Race Director noted that because of the snow we had the night before and thoughts for our safety – we were not going into the wooded path area, which would result in a loss of about 500 KM from the 5K loop. No one really seemed to mind. At that point I realized I forgot my Garmin in the car, which meant no KM splits but it wasn’t like I was going to PB for this race regardless. Everyone sat and chilled. At 9am – the 10K race was off with people cheering from inside (some went outside to cheer – nice!). Since the race was starting on a race track for harness horse racing, someone made the comment “ok – place your bets!”. Too funny!




Soon it was 9:15 and we were off. We went around the track – which is much bigger than the 400m track 🙂  The ground was gravel with snow mixed in. It wasn’t too bad though. The cold really got to me for the first little bit, especially since we were wide out in the open. I was in the lead pack for a bit, but some of the guys sped off right away. I could count the amount of females ahead of me and I quickly moved into 4th place.  I saw the 3rd place woman ahead of me – but her pace was one I knew I couldn’t maintain for 5ish K without really dying at the end.

After we left the track we went on this long, straight road for a very long stretch (maybe 1KM all the way down?) – It was lined with trees, but a bit boring. The ground was a dirt road that was snow covered. I tried to keep on a part of the snow that was a bit more beat up as my footing was slipping quite a bit. The part right before the turn-around was up-hill, and I just trucked on through. I noticed a water table, but did not take any (nor did I see anyone take a water). I did notice a bunch of the guys with facial hair completely covered in ice. That is how cold it was! One guy even had icy eye lashes!

Going downhill was super fun and I passed a person. Towards the end of the road, heading back to the track, I was passed by another woman and slipped into 5th. I tried to catch her but it wasn’t in me this time. Once we hit the track, it was home time and I increased my pace on the track a bit. But there were parts that were very snow covered and I had to not go too fast.

I crossed the 4.5KM line at 24:50


4.5K – 24:50 (around a 5:30 pace)

5th overall female (out of 22)

21st overall (out of 41)

Not bad! I looked at last year’s St. Patrick’s Day run and I really struggled with hitting a sub-30 time with that race and barely was running sub 6:00/km. Having only done a few 3K runs and speed work – maintaining a 5:30 pace is bounds ahead from last year. With warmer weather, better traction and more training I will go sub-25 this year. Also, another point to add was that I felt very comfortable during this race. I really did not feel the need to slow down nor did I feel like quitting. I was definitely tired at the end – but it was a good race. If we ran a full 5K, I would have come in at the 27:30 time – which I think is becoming my new “just below sub-30” benchmark of year’s past.

After the race – MEC had some yummy treats for us, courtesy of Camino Chocolates and CLIF Bars. There was water, hot chocolate, bananas, chocolate bars and assorted CLIF treats. I helped myself to water at first and then grabbed a chocolate bar and hot chocolate. The Camino hot chocolate was amazing! MEC also had some door prizes, but sadly I did not win this time 🙁

MEC is putting on several races this year. For only $15 you receive a chip-time race and a guarantee to have a great time. There are no t-shirts or medals (unless you are top 3 – ahh so close!) but I think for many of us – that doesn’t matter. I plan on running many MEC races this year in preparation for my marathon. You can find more information on the MEC Ottawa Events page. Also, feel free to revisit my MEC Race #3 and Race #5 recaps from last year. I looked at the 10K results and was happy to see many people who were a bit slower than sub-60. My 10K needs work and looking at previous MEC races, everyone seemed to run sub-60. Seeing some people in that range is making it more likely that I will sign up for a 10K next time.

That is my race recap of MEC Race #1 of the 2014 season. I hope to see you at another MEC race soon!




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  1. Kristi

    Awesome time!!! Right now I am slower than I was at this time last year, very frustrating. Your track work is definitely paying off!

    1. Rebecca (Post author)

      For sure – that and running a bit more than I normally do in the winter 🙂

  2. Rachel @ Undercover Diva: A Sitcom

    Seeing all those layers makes me want to die. I’m so glad you survived…and did so well! Congratulations!

    1. Rebecca (Post author)

      Yeah – I was really worried that I didn’t have enough on – but I was fine. Sometimes when I over-dress I overheat, didn’t happen on Sunday!

  3. Amy

    5 layers…are you kidding me? I was laughing each time a new layer appeared. Awesome and way to go. I can imagine the frozen face, as I had to deal with it tonight, but probably not to the same extent!

    1. Rebecca (Post author)

      haha, I know right? Normally that one pair of running tights, and a tech shirt + fleece and jacket is more than enough. I wasn’t sweating on Sunday though – so cold! I wore the 2 layer combo when it was 6C out and baked! The frozen face was not pleasant at all!

  4. Pingback: Thinking Out Loud Thursday #27 | Running.Food.Baby

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