In case you missed it – read Part I of my Race Weekend Recaps, the 5K here
After sitting around and changing (clothes and shoes) in Ottawa City Hall, I decided to start walking about a bit so I didn’t get stiff from the 5K. I also had to go to the washroom before the 10K, but wanted to wait a bit longer. The line-ups for the washrooms were crazy despite the amount they had. I circled around City Hall and saw one of my coaching friends from the Club/School and chatted a bit. He told me I was crazy because of the “double hitter” 🙂 At this point, I wanted to head back to the corrals to hang out with my school friends. I also wanted to watch the elite runners take off and then jump in my corral. Something cool – as I was walking to the other side, I saw Eric Gillis and he said “hi”. Yay! As soon as I went to the corral-side of City Hall, I quickly changed my mind. I have never seen that many people on Laurier Street before. The total amount of runners was just over 11,000 so I shouldn’t have been too surprised, but still. I couldn’t really get past anyone at the front, so I decided to go back to the quiet section on Elgin Street to cheer on the elite women and just hop into the race whenever since it was chipped timed.
I knew where the elites were warming up and circled around there. Some of them were just sitting on the ground, and others were in the middle of warming up. A few racing changes meant that both Lanni and Tasha were probably going to go 1 and 2 (in whatever order) in the Canadian Championship. Rachel Hannah ended up running a terrific marathon-debut, winning top Canadian. Rachel Cliff was out of the race for whatever reason and Krista Duchene said she wasn’t going to be competitive and wanted to run because she loves TORW. I also knew the younger elite athlete, Shona from the club – and now wondering if she ended up following Krista in the race. Shona wanted to be around 36:00 and asked me earlier in the week if I knew anyone in that range. But the elite women (who get a head start) would be going a bit faster. Krista ended up only being 30 seconds faster than Shona. I will have to ask her this week! Anyways, I did manage to see Tasha Wodak and wish her good luck.
After that walk, it was time to hit up the bathrooms. The main “porta potty city” was super crowded, so I decided to line up in one of the secondary washroom areas around the back of City Hall. I had to wait about 10 minutes, but finally got to use the washroom. After waiting forever, it was time to run over to Elgin Street to see the Elite Women run. I made it with a few minutes to spare and found lots of empty space. Seriously – if you are going to cheer on the runners, don’t crowd at the corner of Elgin/Laurier – move down the street and there is TONS of room. I didn’t mention it in the 5K race recap, but it was super hard to get into my corral because all the spectators were crowded around the area – then giving runners really weird looks when we asked to get to the corrals.
As I was waiting, people were giving me weird looks because they could see my bib and were wondering what in the world I was doing on the wrong side of the start line. One lady started a conversation with me and asked if I was just going to jump in (with a laugh). We then talked about how crowded the other side was. Soon the elite women were off. I yelled a couple of things at Tasha and Lanni and then took off to the start area. On the broadcast of the 10K, you can totally see me in my orange tank top step off the curb a bit and yell 🙂
So, my plan was to just jump in at some point in the corrals. Since the race was chipped time and I wasn’t too concerned about my place, I didn’t care where I ended up. I also wanted to experiment with my pacing and do more of a “marathon start” aka slow first KM and get faster to negative split. This year they were sending off a corral every 2 minutes. As I turned the corner onto Laurier Street, a volunteer grabs me and says “go on right in here” at the front of the race. Not exactly where I wanted to be when I want to go slow. So I go to where she tells me to go, but the guy at the corral tells me to move a bit more back – which I do. Two seconds later, the volunteer grabs me and moves the corral barrier for me. All of a sudden I’m in the blue corral again (the fast one). I didn’t want to go with them, so I moved a few lines of people back to the orange corral rope (I was orange) and sneak in there. The blue corral was sent off and the orange group was moved to the front. Of course, this meant I was at the front of the corral – help! There was another teacher right behind me with his daughter and he said Good Luck to me. I said a couple of silent swear words to myself and soon enough we were off! The benefit of being right at the front is I knew EXACTLY the time I left the start mat – which would be beneficial at the halfway point (remember, no watch).
As soon as we took off, I knew I was going out too fast. Elgin Street was really crowded and I felt a little uneasy about slowing down and having all these people running fast around me. I tried to make it over to the side so that people were not zooming past me. I made it about 1KM before my left calf started to go again. We went under the 417 tunnel and remembered how much fun it was to hear everyone yelling (big echo effect). I kept running, but did pull over to the side on Queen Elizabeth to stretch out my calf. Everytime I stretched it out, it felt better so I just stretching it out. The only way I can explain the feeling is that it just felt like the the side of my leg was really tight. It didn’t hurt, just felt awfully tight. I’m pretty sure it would have hurt if I ran faster.
I knew that at any moment the elite runners would be coming by on the side. At around the 2 or 3KM mark, I hoped to see Lanni and Tasha, running in pink, on the Colonel By side. Not exactly sure at what KM I saw them at, but there they were. The 1st and 2nd runners were a bit ahead of them, but Lanni and Tasha were not far behind. Lanni had about a 50m lead on Tasha and wow were they ever running. I knew that they were approaching the 8K mark which is where Lanni wanted to be before the guys caught up to her (she usually gets caught at 7). Good news, is that after watching the broadcast – she made it to 9K before getting caught!
Also – if you were wondering. Yes, I was that runner who totally ran to the side of the canal to jump up and down and cheer them on. I was also stretching too….
As I rounded the corner to the Bank Street bridge area, I again, wished that the darn water station was not 4K into the race. I wasn’t thirsty, but I wanted to walk for a bit. I saw Jane over around that area and waved hi. I forgot that there is a little hill in that section. I had to make sure my form was good. I wasn’t wearing my race flats, but my supportive shoes which mask a few of the form errors. I finally got to the water station, took a cup of water and went right to another street light post to stretch out my muscles again.
Soon we were rounding the corner underneath the Bronson Bridge and heading up the small hill that gets us onto Bronson. In 2012, I struggled up the hill – this time I ran right up and even passed people. The 5K mark was on Bronson and I saw on the clock that I was right on pace for a sub-60. I crossed the mat at 32:06 on the clock, but knew that I had to subtract 2 minutes from that time. Therefore, I finished that first 5K in 30:06 despite the three stops that I made. Pace wise, I was probably very close to my 10KPB pace of 27:30 for the 5K split.
Anyways, I then got to the fun on-ramp part where runners drop back down onto Colonel By Drive to finish up the second part of the race. I definitely gave out lots of high fives to the kids on the street. I made one stop just past Bank Street to stretch out again. I kept going after this, promising myself another break at what I thought was the 7K water station. Actually, the water station came closer to the 8K mark. Other than my calf muscles, everything else felt great, so I started to push the pace just a little bit. I looked over to the left and noticed how many runners were still on the other side. I’m betting that when the elites were finishing up, we had runners at some point all along the course.
I finally hit the water station and grabbed a water and went to another post to stretch out one more time before the finish. I didn’t stick around too long and kept running. With 2K to go, I started to run a bit faster to try and make up some time. Up and over the Pretoria bridge and onto the last Km of the course. I noticed the 55:00 pace bunnies at this point and decided to stick with him. Since he was the 55:00 run/walk pace, I knew that his pace would be very close to 5:10/km. We got to another water station where I did take one last short walking break. I then ran the last KM at a quick pace. The 55:00 Pace bunny was slightly ahead of me. The crowds were once again, HUGE. As I approached the finish area, another runner and myself were totally doing the “raise the roof” sign to get the crowd to cheer us on. I then could see the clock and knew that I had a sub-60 10K in the bag. I crossed the line in 59:33.
My last 5K split was 29:28 – which did give me the negative split I was looking for. I still stopped at least 3x during the second half to stretch and walked two water stations. I’m pretty sure that if I didn’t have all these walking/stretching breaks I would have been in the 57:00 or so range. Despite all the calf/soleus muscle issues, I felt SO much better in this 10K. Cooler temps + no humidity really makes a difference. I didn’t need to make stops because of the rest of my muscles/breathing issues – so I know that when my leg is feeling better, I can run at this pace again. Even talking to my friends after (who ran the Sporting Life 10K), we stated how much better this race felt – crowds and all! Not a top 30 finish for me this time – 347/996, but better than the 500+ place I had in 2012. Progress!
I ran over to grab my bags from the bag check and then texted P to come pick me up. I also managed to bump into Mary and her family. Since I figured I had 30 minutes or so, I went to the Beau’s Beer Garden to have a beer with a few of my friends. Beer was well deserved!
Of course, what I thought was 30 minutes to get into the city was actually only 20 and P texted to say he was at the University and Max needed to go to the bathroom. So, I finished my beer and ran the 800m from City Hall to Ottawa U. I almost hurled….
Although I didn’t PB my races on Saturday, I am still proud of my results. I had two strong races despite the side cramps and my left leg giving me problems. A couple of years ago – a 26:xx 5K and a sub-60 10K would have me on the ground after. This time, I managed to run two races in 3 hours and then run afterwards.
Now – the time is here to relax and rest up. STWM training starts soon! For the next week, I’m doing absolutely nothing. I have a massage booked and going to take the week off from all forms of training. Next week, we will start upper body strength again and perhaps some biking.
Have a great Tuesday!
Tomorrow: WATER STATION!