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!