On Sunday, I participated in my 7th Army Run. I’ve run both the half marathon and 5K a number of times and this year decided to run the 5K as I have STWM in a month. Army Run is a fantastic race. If you haven’t participated in Army Run yet – make it a plan for next year.
On Saturday we went to the race kit pick up which has the usual expo as well as a number of other activities. Max loves the Army Run expo as he gets to check out the cool military vehicles, jump in bouncey castles, have his face painted and eat popcorn. This year they even had free Tim Hortons to keep the parental units happy. I picked up my kit in less than 2 minutes and walked around the expo. I didn’t really need anything so I just looked around, while P bought a few Canadian Military shirts. Max went in all the tanks and even got to turn one on.
The weather forecast was calling for humid conditions. I know I don’t run well when it is muggy out. I have trouble breathing and feel awful. I left my house at 6:20am to catch my bus downtown. I was sticky just walking to the bus stop. Not good. When I arrived downtown, I quickly used the washrooms, dropped off my bag and got going on a warm up jog. I was already too hot and was wearing my “hot weather” outfit. At 15 minutes to go, I decided to head into the corrals. I don’t like waiting in the corrals, but I also like to get a good spot. Last year, I simply walked into the Blue Corral (fastest corral) where only Blue bibs were present. The start line was in front of the Lord Elgin Hotel and it was quite easy to separate the corrals. I really enjoyed the Blue Corral this year. Unfortunately this year, I did not.
When I approached the start area – I noticed that there was a big gap between the start line and the thousands of people lined up in the blue corral. There was no easy way getting into the corral as there were people everywhere. This is something that happens with these big Ottawa races that start on Elgin. It honestly annoys me greatly. Because the corrals could not easily be separated, what happened is that everyone decided to line up in the Blue Corral as it is the first thing you hit when you walk down Laurier (which is the location of the washrooms, bag drop, etc.). People were ignoring the flags and just ending up in the front. If you walked a bit farther, it would have been easier to jump in the proper corral. So all around me were people of different coloured bibs. I was fairly close to the front but not close enough. I couldn’t move any more as we were very squished at the front. I had a feeling the first part of the race was going to be busy!
Soon enough the gun went off (no cannon this year….) and we were off. The first part of the course is up a slight hill and instantly I felt awful. I also was zipping around everyone to get out of the crowd. By the time I turned onto Wellington, I had moved past the bulk of people and had some room. I glanced at my watch and noticed I was running at about 4:45/km pace, which is where I wanted to be. However, I still felt like I couldn’t breathe. I also had no idea that this picture was taken
After you pass Parliament hill, you go down a slight hill. I anticipated this and moved quickly through this section. I managed to hit KM 1 and KM 2 at 4:51 pace, which isn’t terrible but I wanted to be slightly faster. Once I started to run through Colonel By, I felt myself get slower. I was a little shocked to see 5:30/km pace start flashing as I felt like I was running faster than that. But I just couldn’t get going. When I saw 5:14 flash for the 3rd KM, I knew I wouldn’t PB so I met my new goal to finish in the 25:xx range and just run at a tempo pace.
The 4th KM had the water station and I took a quick sip and dumped the rest on my head. It wasn’t cold enough to help with the muggy feeling. KM 4 was run at 5:30 pace. Not great and I definitely did not feel good. However, I was passing a few people. I had a few people in front of me that I aimed to pass and for the most part I was. A little kid that was maybe a few inches taller than Max passed me!
The last KM wasn’t bad. I was struggling but there was a military band and lots of crowd support. I honestly do not remember much of that last KM but just focusing on finishing the darn race. I saw the clock heading towards 26:00, but knew I had a bit of a window as I didn’t start right on the timing mat. I ran through the finish in 26:09 with a chip time of 25:54. Not bad, but not a PB. Just like last year, I finished 24th in my Category according to Gun Time. My other stats were:
43/681 Category in Official Time
I will note that I hit 5K a bit early – but that was because of the weaving through the start. I consistently hit each KM about 10 metres early. So it appears they fixed the course from last year.
I went through the medal area and grabbed my dog tags and went to the recovery zone. It was nice to see some uOttawa GeeGee and Carleton athletes there, including one of my former track students who was there with his brother (who placed 2nd overall last year). It was great to get a high five from them. When I was going through the finish area, I heard the horn go off at the start and realized that there were still waves going through! Shocking! I guess I could have gone for another round if I felt like it 😉
After the race, I bumped into my twitter friend Dan and one of my school friends. I wanted to see the start of the half marathon, so I quickly ran up Elgin to where it was clear. Maybe a little bit of a PSA – but spectators, if you walk a bit up the route you can totally see everyone without being in a crowd of people at the start. Watching the half marathon start was lots of fun. I managed to see a number of runners including Kristi and Ann-Marie! I also saw one runner totally smiling away and I called him out on it and made him laugh. It was lots of fun!
After watching for 30 minutes, I went to Starbucks and loaded up on PSL and water. I had about an hour to wait for P and Max, so I went to the finish to see the fastest half marathoners come in. I ended up taking one Mom to the finish line so she could see her son finish. Unlike Ottawa Race Weekend, the finish line had minimal crowd support. I was in the exact spot where the VIP tent was for Ottawa Race Weekend and there were just a handful of people there. I saw the top finishers come in and was really, really happy to see Tommy Des Brisay come in first. If you don’t know who he is, Google him! I’ve known about him for quite some time and it was great seeing him win the Army Run! I had zero clue that Rachel Hannah was running and was surprised to see her there. Lots of other runners that I knew started coming in. Unfortunately I had to go and missed seeing Jayme and Ashley finish. I honestly think I had more fun cheering than actually racing.
Army Run was another fun race. A few minor hiccups, but I will be back next year. I think I will be trying the Commanders challenge next year as I believe it is time to give up on racing the Army Run 5K. I think I need to focus on smaller 5K’s! The only other disappointing item from Army Run was the photos. It is hard to be upset about race photos that are free, but they went with another company who just don’t take good photos. You are lucky to get one clear photo unless you are kind of on your own. I made sure to get a finish area photo though!
Have a great Tuesday!