Ottawa Race Weekend 2015 – 5K Race Recap

The first race of the evening was the 5K. They changed the time a few years back from a 5pm start to a 4pm one, which made it very easy for me to manage to run two races in one day. I had signed up for the 10K awhile back, just before it sold out. When I started back at my school in second semester, I signed up for the 5K as well since many students run the race. Ottawa Race Weekend is a great time to run with several people that you know and have a great time (both entertaining and fast).

I went to the expo on Friday and spent over an hour there. I bumped into so many people: Doug, Bridget, one of my students, some Ottawa Lions people, Regan, Ben, Kristi and her family and even Krista Duchene. The expo was BUSY. I remember going on the Friday last year and it was not as busy. I could barely look at anything on display because it was just that crowded. They changed the layout of the expo too – the Running Room booth (which is the biggest) was put into the main part, rather than just outside.  I was also disappointed that there was no Saucony booth – they are the ones who made those great Run Strong shirts last year. I did not buy anything this year – but I did score some samples from this giant pile of chips…..



I took the bus into the city on Saturday and arrived in plenty of time. I talked to Alan from Canada Running Series and took another look around. After, I walked to the start and found some students and chatted with them for a bit. At 3:50 we went into the corrals. For the 5K, I was in the first corral aka the fast one. I lined up a bit behind the start and noticed several people who did not have blue corral labels on their bibs. But, I know that if I have a fast first KM, I can usually beat the crowds. I had no big goal for this race. I knew my leg was bothering me and wasn’t sure how it would go. I wore my racing flats and no Garmin/watch, decided to totally run by feel. We had a bit of a delay at the start because the police had to secure a few more streets but soon we were off!

I have no idea how fast I was running when I took off. Maybe a 4:50ish KM? No idea! The first KM has a few incline sections and really – you just want to get out of the downtown core and onto Colonel By Drive as fast as you can. I did not experience any walkers, but I heard that people in the next corral back had lots of walkers present which apparently made it difficult to run fast. What I didn’t like was all the potholes around the city streets. Holes and cracks are not fun in racing flats! I turned on Parliament Hill and managed to keep whatever pace it was going. I then turned onto Colonel By Drive (which has a fun little downhill section) where I saw a few staff members cheering us on.

Then the side cramp started. I get a side cramp every once and awhile, but this one was awful! I was stuck running next to a runner who had louder and quicker breathing pattern and found it difficult to try to regulate my own breathing. Soon the side cramp turned into a whole belly cramp and I felt worse. Also, by that time, my left leg started to cramp up as well. So for the first time in a very long time – I stopped running in a 5K race and pulled over to the side. I used a street Light post to stretch out my calf and got my breathing under control. I started running again and saw a twitter friend, Daniel at Pretoria Bridge. He called out my name and I thought “Hey, I know him!”. I also wished the water station was at 3K, not 4K. I still had a cramp at the water station, so I walked the station so I could drink my water. After that, it was 1K to go and I booked it to the finish. No idea on my pacing, but I’m pretty sure it was again, below 5:00 at this point. Also, I totally hated the water cups – more on that when I write about my water station volunteering time.

In all other Ottawa Race Weekend Race race, I had run with music. This time, I left the music in my bag and went without. Since last year, I’ve pretty much stopped running with music and now quite used to it. I don’t know if the crowds were bigger this year, but WOW the finishing chute was packed with people cheering. That helped speed things up at the end 😉

I crossed the finish line in 26:15

Not bad! I stopped 2x, once for at least 30 seconds- so I’m pretty sure I was at my sub 25:00 pace for most of the race, or at least really close. Although it isn’t a PB, I wasn’t expecting it to be and I’m happy with my time. I was also surprised with my category place – 31st out of over 300 runners (it was 29th at first but it was revised on Sunday). Not bad for a big race with over 10,000 participants. I was also 385/6470 female runners. Back in 2010 when I started this whole running thing, I was in 200+ place for my category. A bit of an improvement! At the finish, I talked to Kristi’s husband and son, who both ran really fast races. I was also surprised to see Kristen (the race is big and it is easy to get lost) who had a great 5K time as well. Kristen has been “twitter friends” with me for years (since 2010!) and we have never actually met. It was great to finally meet her – I even bumped into her husband and baby when I left the park.

The finish line snacks included bagels, bananas (that were ripe, hooray!), Kashi granola bars and chocolate milk with added protein. I got excited about the protein milk! Because I was running the 10K in two hours, I made sure to eat this time. I went and talked to my school friends and iced my leg a bit. I then went to City Hall to change outfits (inside washroom). People were looking at me funny as I was sprawled out with all my stuff spread around me. I will also say that the baggage check was the one part of race weekend that was really quick, easy and not crowded. I got my bag checked 2x and didn’t have to wait at all. I spend the next hour and a half relaxing as race number 2 was about to start!


Stay tuned for my 10K recap and my volunteering day!



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  1. Renee

    Congrats on a great time!

    I’ve also recently ditched music while running. I find it helps me listen to my breathing and focus on getting into that rhythm.

    Also, what is it with green bananas?? 🙂

    1. ~Rebecca~ (Post author)

      ugh, green bananas! Had a race once where they were all green. Sure, I will eat that *sideways glance*

  2. Kristen @CountryFitFamily

    That is a great time especially with having to stop. Good for you. I’ve never actually run a timed 5k race, I went right to 10k, half marathon and then marathon. Weird, I know. I would really like to do one soon to see how fast I could actually go when not saving myself for the longer distances.
    Kristen @CountryFitFamily recently posted…Weekly Run Report {25/05/15}My Profile

    1. ~Rebecca~ (Post author)

      You should definitely try one! I do have to say that this time, the 5K seemed super short!

  3. Lisa

    Ugh, cramps are the WORST. Great time, though!
    Lisa recently posted…Highlights from ChileMy Profile

  4. Crystal

    Congrats! That’s a great time!
    Crystal recently posted…“A fresh wind is blowing” in AlbertaMy Profile

  5. Pingback: Ottawa Race Weekend 2015 – 10K Race Recap |

  6. Kelly

    Super fast – love it!!! When you first started back in 2010, what kind of pace did you have?


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