Sometimes it is fun to sign up for a race at the last moment. The way the next few weekends are shaping up, I really wanted to race a 5K or 10K, but all the races that were available were on weekends I cannot make it to a race. I knew I heading to Mississauga for the Family Day long weekend and would miss Winterman in Ottawa once again. Luckily, I found a race in Grimsby (near Hamilton) that would work. The only thing was that the race options were 3K, 10K and the Half. I did not really feel like sprinting a 3K, so I signed up for the 10K last week. I knew I could easily run 10K at a decent pace, but because my long runs have been at 7K, I figured the last 3K would be a struggle fest. But, I needed to get a long run in anyways!
I did not head down to Grimsby for early race kit pickup, and elected to just be ‘early’ for the race instead. I arrived at 8:15 and there was already a ton of people there. I figured that I wouldn’t know a single person racing, but the first person I saw warming up was Rachel Hannah, whom I am guessing was using the race as a good 10K practice race for Boston? I quickly grabbed my bib and got ready to go. The race was held at Grimsby Secondary school, so we had the entire gym to get ready. They also had a bouncy castle and crafts table for the kids.
The weather on race day was perfect. It was about 5C, a bit of a wind and partly cloudy. That is about as good as it gets! Because it was above 0C, I wore shorts! On top, I wore a tank and a long sleeved top, along with a hat and gloves. There were several other people in shorts as well, but some in full winter gear. I did a short little warm up and noticed my legs felt heavy. I had a bit of a GI problem related to a pizza lunch yesterday, so my guess is that I didn’t have enough energy in me.
The race started at 9am, but I thought it was at 9:15. The beauty of smaller races is that even though I was running into the gym to grab my forgotten sunglasses at 8:58, I still was at the race start on time. They did delay the start of the 10K for a bit as the half marathon was starting at the same time, but about 100m ahead. I lined up close to the front – there was only about 120 people signed up for the race. Probably the only time I will ever start right behind Rachel Hannah 😀
I started off the race a bit too quick, running that first KM in 5:13. I slowed down and tried to hover in the 5:25ish range. Soon after the first KM, I turned onto the main road and luckily saw my parents and Max so I could toss my hat/gloves at them. I have no idea how people raced in long pants and jackets that day. I would have baked! The route took us through ‘downtown Grimsby’ and then into the residential area. We had to go overtop the QEW expressway, so there was a slight hill before getting into the neighbourhoods. Knowing I wanted to stay at least at the 5:35 pace, I tried to maintain a steady pace as much as I could. I slowed down just a bit in the 4th KM to grab some water.
Because the race was so small, we ran in a single line for the entire race. A few people passed me right in the beginning, but once we all settled into our paces, we pretty much remained in the same order. One person did pass me around 5K, and I concentrated on not letting him get too far ahead of me. Some sections of the course featured a bit of a wind, but nothing too strong. At the 5K mark, they had a timer going and I crossed the 5K mark at about 26:40ish (to PB, I had to be under 27:30). At around 6K, a lady cheering on everyone on a side street noticed my shorts and said “who would have thought shorts in February!”. I answered back that I was wishing I was just in my tank top as I was too hot 😉 (true, I was!).
At the 7K, what I predicted would happen did, struggle fest! KM 1-7 were all under 5:35. KM 8, 9 and 10 were in the 5:40s. I knew I had enough time in the bank to keep a relaxed pace of 5:40ish for the last three KM. Unfortunately the last KM was up a slight hill. We had to go back up and down the expressway ramp and then up a slight hill at the last 300m of the course. It wasn’t a big hill, but at the end of the race, it seemed like a mountain! But at least after that hill, it was a couple of turns and there was the finish. I crossed the finish line at 54:20, which is a new PB for me!
I’m not sure if the course was actually short or not – but my Garmin measured 9.86KM. According to Strava, a few people also measured the same. It could have been that the start line was too far ahead (we were kind of in the middle of the street), or we ran on the wrong side of the pylons. Doesn’t matter – I would have PB’d anyways as I can totally run 100m in 35 seconds (and I was running at 4:30ish pace at the end). That and if I remember correctly, my previous PB at Sporting Life 10K was a slightly short course too. Regardless, I never go with my Garmin (remember when I was running on buildings in Toronto), I go by official results.
After the race, I went back to the gym and looked at the results. I placed 3rd in my category (Rachel Hannah was 1st, lol) which meant I was going to get another mug and a medal (medals were only being handed out to top 3 in the age groups). We had to wait a long time for the awards ceremony, thankfully the bouncy castle kept Max entertained. I also scored a race shirt too – because I registered late I wasn’t guaranteed one.
I actually was award 1st in my category since the top 2 were actually top 2 overall. Sweet! Overall I was 51/118 and 14/67 for females.
I had a great time at the race. I know that with a bit more training, I can easily run under 54:00 for the 10K. Once I start running 5-8KM tempos, running at 5:20 pace for 10K should be easier. Now if I can hold 5:40 paces for 11.1 more KM, I will finally get that sub-2:00. Let’s hope that happens 🙂
Have a great Wednesday!