Yesterday I had the pleasure of volunteering at the Manotick Miler, 5 Mile race as a pace bunny. While debating on which April 27th race to go to, I noticed that the organizers behind Manotick Miler were looking for pace bunny volunteers – so I signed up. I tend to be a very steady runner, and always wanted to pace, so there you go. I was asked to pace for 48:00, which is about 6:00/km. I was a little nervous about this because usually my 8KM easy runs come in just over 50 minutes and I haven’t had too many opportunities to race anything longer than 5K. If you look at my Ottawa Race Weekend 10K results from 2 years ago, I hit the 6:50 pace. Army Run Half was over 7:00. But – I’ve been training better and the other day I did run a 48:00 8K.
Manotick is really close to my work location, which you all know is not close to my house. Luckily it was a later start, so we did not leave until 7:15. We got to Manotick in plenty of time and found parking quite easily. The businesses around the arena do not mind that people park in their parking lots for the race – in fact it looked like some members of the Giant Tiger store were in front of their store welcoming runners. It was also easy enough to find parking on the side streets too. After we went to grab my bunny ears, we walked around to see the fire trucks and other things outside. We went inside the arena to use the washroom (which by the way – if you went into the change rooms – no wait for a toilet). We managed to see Kristi and her boys getting ready for their races (Kristi ran the 10 miler, her oldest ran the 3 and youngest the 1). Because P is away at a robotics thing, I had to get our regular babysitter to come and watch Max while I ran. The days of running races with the chariot are WELL over. Max was all excited to see her. He was in the car saying “I’m gonna see Mawweeee, yay!”. After she arrived, I went back inside to do some dynamic drills to get my hip flexors in better shape. I’ve been finding them a bit tight lately. It seemed to work because they did not hurt one bit during the race! I also warmed up a bit because I was about to take off my comfy sweatpants and be in shorts, a cotton t-shirt and compression socks/arm warmers. Spring weather tends to cause some running wardrobe issues because I do not like being hot, but I also do not like being cold. I decided that I could suck up the cold for a few KM and run with shorts/t-shirt. I also put on some cheap 99 cent gloves. The outfit worked as I wasn’t hot or cold during the race, I was 100% comfortable.
Since I was pacin’, not racin’ – I had no goal for this race but to finishing around 48:00. I wanted to run steady and run in negative splits as that is pretty much what my training has been like for the past few months. The race was on the smaller side, so I did not have to jump in the corrals fifteen minutes early or be squished. I did chat with a few people in the corrals, as I was wearing the volunteer t-shirt and bunny ears, so therefore easily noticeable. Once the fire trucks sounded their horn, we were off. I have a very bad habit of going out too fast during a race and today I finally did the complete opposite. I kept my eye on my garmin and took it slow. I finished the first KM in 6:13. I had a younger boy follow me for the first bit, but he was huffing and puffing a bit and his Dad was telling him to try and stick with me, but to remember that I was going “fast” – that made me smile. Another group of women asked if there was a tortoise behind me for the slow folks. But pretty much I heard “hey bunny!” the entire race. I also enjoyed waving at the children who were watching from their homes.
The course had some minor hills, but was relatively flat. There were two water stations, and I only had to take small sips at each of them (thank you cooler weather!). The race was in a rural town, so there was some nice things to look at – but mostly fields and rural homes. Now times what I said in the last bit and times that by 8 – that is how the race went for me. It was a VERY steady race for me. I did not feel tired, hot, achy or out of breath. I didn’t go “into the zone” that I go into during an all-out 5K. Other than going a bit slower than I normally go – it was a perfect race. I felt strong throughout all the miles/kilometres and could have easily gone and ran some more (I would have PB’d the 10K and gone sub-60 for sure). A 6:00/km is definitely what I will be aiming for in the half marathon in a month’s time. Even the hills – normally I feel all tired, this time – completely fine. I know my training has improved, but I definitely surprised myself. The only thing that bugged me was my tummy – which is 100% typical of morning races for me.
Other than KM 5 and 6 where I just took an extra second or two – negative splits! This is also pretty huge for me as in a race situation I am a serial positive splitter. Don’t you also like how KM 7 amd 8 are essentially the same time? I stopped my Garmin at the 8KM mark according to my watch at 47:21 – but my official time was 47:49 gun time, 47:27 chip time – pretty much exactly where I needed to be. Sweet! I placed 18/56 in my category and 102 overall. Not bad!
When I finished, I saw Max and his babysitter right away and Max joined me in the finishing chute. He helped himself to my banana. There was also chips, oranges, granola bars and water available. I do not think I’ve ever seen chips before, but it was a nice surprise! The medal that was given was also quite nice!
After the race, we went to the park, walked around and waited for the food at the tailgate party to be ready. Big Rig (a brewhouse in Ottawa) prepared burgers, hotdogs and beer for the after party. Max enjoyed a hot dog while I had a beer. Yum! Soon it was time to go home as Max was tired (he actually asked to be carried to the car) and we had two other events to attend in the afternoon.
The Manotick Miler was a great race. It was well organized, staffed with very friendly people and featured a great route. Many people in Manotick help out with the race, and many also come out to enjoy the race. I even saw a couple with lawn chairs and mugs of coffee on their driveway cheering people on. The route has many turns and if you saw this recap you know I have had problems with this before. Not a problem in this race as every turn, street and corner was fully staffed by volunteers – many of whom were cheering the runners on. If you entered early enough you did receive a fantastic discount towards the race fee – so if they do that again next year, register early! I am definitely putting this race on my list for next year!
So another great race in 2014 was completed. Next up – OTTAWA RACE WEEKEND HALF MARATHON!!!! WOOHOO!