It seems like the first few years of ones running career, every race seems to provide a PB/PR to the novice runner. It is no secret that the more you run, the better you will get. Eventually one gets to the point where a PB is harder to achieve. Race conditions and your fitness have to be perfect on race day. Also, if you continue to stick to the same ol’ training plan, you will no doubt finish the race – but might find it harder to get faster. Any of the experienced runners that I follow that had big PB’s this year only achieved their PB’s because they pushed themselves to new paces and distances. But a PB isn’t everything. Sometimes the way one feels while running the race can be just as important.
This year, I ran faster and pushed myself a bit more with my workouts. Although I did PB the half marathon in the Spring – I was unable to PB at STWM because of the conditions and a lingering sinus infection. However, while running, I realized that the KM’s were going by quickly and 21.1K did not feel like such a task anymore. I had no doubt that I could easily finish the race, regardless of how I was feeling. I was even able to kick a little at the end. Normally I am down to a shuffle 🙂
This weekend I finally had the opportunity to run the Cookie Run. Cookie Run is organized by Run Ottawa (Ottawa Race Weekend group) and is held the first Saturday of November. I’ve always wanted to run this race but unfortunately OFSAA and NYC Marathon also run on the very same weekend.
Cookie Run offers both a 5K and a 10K race and is run in the NRC area of Ottawa. That means I am only 10 minutes from the race, sweet! The race was very affordable, costing only $35 ($25 if you are a Run Ottawa member). You still get a t-shirt and a medal – so $25 is a steal! Because the 10K was so cheap, I elected to run the 10K as most of the time I find the 10K costs over $50. I also had not run a 10K yet this year and wanted to complete one before the year is up. The race start is at a local high school with plenty of parking and an indoor waiting area.
Before the race, I talked to other Team Awesome members and we took a group photo. I’ve known a few of them for awhile, but glad to have met some new members! It is going to be great working with this group of enthusiastic runners throughout the Ottawa Race Weekend training sessions.
I made my way to the race start and positioned myself kind of near the front but a bit back. I only had one goal – to go sub-60. I have only run twice since STWM, a 2 miler and a 5K. I was no where near “race ready” to attempt a PB, so I planned on just running for fun. I couldn’t find my Garmin watch in the morning, so I just decided to wear a regular sports watch.
Soon we were off and ready to tackle “the hill”. The hill definitely slowed us down at the start, but it was manageable. I knew that hill would be an issue during the 2nd loop, so I made a mental note of that. The course had several turns and had a few small elevation changes. There were lots of people out cheering and lots of water stations. I hit the 1st KM in 5:40 and felt comfortable so I figured I would see if I could keep that up.
After a few more turns we met up with the 5K runners who were starting their run. I heard Andre (Team Awesome) yell my name and I tried to give a wave. The 4K featured a sweet downhill section, so I tried to make up some time. The last little bit before the finish had a really tight turn. As I was approaching the finish, I saw the first 5K runners coming in. I crossed 5K in 27:27, which was PB-pace.
Then the hill happened…..
My cardio was off the entire race, a product of not running over the past two weeks. I struggled up the hill and ended up trying to take off my headband which sent my sunglasses flying. At that point I just took a quick walking break to catch my breath and attempt to stop the side stitch. I heard Vicki from Team Awesome cheer me on as she passed me, and I attempted to keep her in my vision for the rest of the race. There were a few of us that were basically at the same pace.
Once the hill was done, I felt better and then proceeded to keep a steady pace for the rest of the race. I did take another short walking break at a water station. At 2K to go, I believe I went a bit faster. I took a note of my watch and noticed I had exactly 10 minutes at 2K to get a PB. Unfortunately I knew I did not have two 5:00 KM in me, but wanted to be under 56:00. I figured that was doable and tried to pick up my step. I have no idea what my KM were, but I’m assuming I managed to run 5:30’s for the last two KM.
Soon enough, the finish line was in sight – I saw the clock at 55:30 and ran fast to duck under the clock at 55:53. Not bad!
My PB is 54:54, so being a minute off is pretty good considering I haven’t run speed in awhile and have basically been sitting on my butt for 2 weeks. When I ran that sub-54, I felt miserable for most of the race, but this race felt comfortable. I basically ran a 10K tempo run as my tempo pace is 5:35. I remember at the start of the season when I could barely run a 3K tempo. I didn’t PB, but I had a strong race. Yes, I did not run for 2 weeks, but the bulk of my training was still in my legs. If you asked me a few years ago that I would find a sub 56 10K comfortable, I would probably laugh. Just going sub-60 seemed so hard back when I first started running.
As I reflect on this year, I am looking forward to training for my 2017 seasons. If I keep up with my training and get used to running faster and longer, who knows what next year’s races will bring.