This weekend I got to take part in my first 9 Run Run, a fantastic race in Stittsville (west-end Ottawa), which is conveniently only 10 minutes away from where I live. Usually this race is on the same weekend as STWM, so for the last two years I’ve missed the race. Figuring that I was staying in-town for my races this year, I had 9 Run Run on the race calendar for awhile. The race is reasonably priced and offers a 2K, 10K and Half Marathon. It is a fairly popular race with about 860 people taking part in the 10K. The half was on my mind for a bit as it basically goes to my house and back, but I wanted to concentrate on the 5K/10K for the fall season. The 9 Run Run race is in support of Ottawa’s emergency services (hence the name 9 Run Run).
Race morning, I woke up fairly early and had my Nuun Boost and chilled on the couch. I’ve been completely avoiding coffee in the race morning but like how Nuun Boost has a small hit of caffeine to get me going in the morning. But because the race was so close, I was able to sleep in anyways. Unfortunately, all week my calves had not felt 100% and when I woke up race morning, both sides were very tight. I elected to just run by feel and see how it would go. We left the house just before 8am and I was dropped off and walking to the race start just after 8:20am. I saw a few people I knew (including one person who said they read the blog, hi!!!) and ended up walking up to the start with Vicki. The race organizers said to part at the local high school which is a little bit of a walk away, but that just served as part of the warm up! We were able to hit up the porta-potties in no time and soon I said goodbye to Vicki (she was running the half) so I could warm up. I ran up to the race start (about 500m away) and did all my usual warm-up things. The weather was pretty perfect. Although it was spitting-rain, the temperature was at an ideal 14C and there was little wind. I had on a long sleeved throw-away layer with my usual shorts/tank underneath.
Soon it was time to start the race and I positioned myself in between the 50:00 and 55:00 pace bunnies. I did not want to stick near either of them, so I felt it was safe to not pass the 50:00 pace bunny in the beginning and stay ahead of the 55:00 pace bunny (more on that later). After Oh Canada, we were off. I kept a very close eye on my watch as I knew that I would probably go out fast and did not want to run any faster than 5:15 for the first few KM. I did want a little in the bank, but not run 5:00’s right off the bat. My goal was to run around a 5:25 pace and maybe be just under 54:00. Because I have STWM 5K this upcoming weekend, I did not want to go totally all out and risk not being good for next weekend. I wanted a controlled race where I kept a specific pace and wanted a specific time.
The first few KM are in suburban Stittsville. There were a few people out and the route was fairly flat. A few little hills but honestly they were nothing. Soon we were heading onto the Great Canadian Trail – which is where I did most of my long runs for Ottawa Race Weekend. I had not ventured to this part of the trail yet, but knew it would be gravel and flat. I noticed that some people said they were not used to that kind of terrain – but luckily for me, I run on it all the time now. We hit a water station – which unfortunately was pretty much the only water station for the 10K route. We would pass it again, but it would be after doing an out-and-back on the trail and with only 400m to go before the race finish. That is one of the very few criticisms I have of the race – so next time I will remember to bring my own water. Thankfully it was not hot out!
The trail section was peaceful but a little boring. The fun part about a smaller race and being in the top 20% is that you form a line and it tends to be a game of catching people/not letting people catch you. It was a little difficult to pass people once we turned around and ran into the rest of the race. But, at the 5K part I wasn’t feeling all that good. I was starting to slow down a bit and eventually had to walk for a few seconds (in all honestly – I also had to answer a text asking me where the race start was for Max – but also, very honestly I was tired). Eventually the 55:00 pace bunny caught up to me and I ended up running with him a bit – but he was running a bit fast for me (around 5:20) which confused me as I knew I was still on pace for around 54:00. He ended up finishing the race in under 54:00, lol.At the turn around I saw Dan and his daughter, who were volunteering and gave them a wave.
I knew how much time I had left and started to pick up the pace. I’m not sure what sparked a fire in my feet but at 7K, I was able to easily sustain a 5:20 pace. I have to admit that I wasn’t comfortable for most of the race – I kept an eye on the clock and really tried to not slow down. Instead of being passed, I started passing other people and picking up speed. I ran the 8th and 9th KM in 5:18 and 5:19. My splits chart looks like a middle finger:
With 1 KM to go, I really started to pick up the pace. I got to the water station and quickly drank a Nuun while running at 5:00 pace – which meant I got Nuun all over me. Thankfully I was wearing a buff and could wipe some of it off – but in the photos you can clearly see I spilt my Nuun on my shirt. I thought that I had 1K to go at the water station but right after the station I saw the finish and realized I only have 300m to go. It was go-time and I booked it to the finish. I thought my previous PB was 54:10 and I sprinted towards the clock, thinking I just missed a PB. A quick look at my PB list started that my PB was actually 54:20 (and on a short course), so a new PB was made! My official time was 54:15, but 54:09 chip time. I placed 10th in my category, 58th/579 women and 150th overall.
After the race I collected my sweet Canada medal and went to what I thought was the finish of the 2K to watch out for P and Max. I even asked a volunteer and was told that the finish was the same. It wasn’t, and I realized this too late, so I missed Max’s race, oops! He had fun though and really liked his medal. Apparently there was food/chocolate milk somewhere, but because we had to go back to P’s school, we left almost immediately after. I don’t even know where the chocolate milk was – where was it? I should have looked for it though because I did not eat or drink anything after and that meant I had stomach pain for hours after. The good news is that this is the 4th race in a row where I’ve had zero stomach problems AND the first race where I’ve not taken Imodium. Bonus! (and tmi…).
A few things about my race:
- I could easily go under 54:00. I’m thinking that a 53:30 is the next goal. If my legs are feeling better and I don’t pull over to send a text – I can easily get under 54:00.
- My form was absolutely horrible. It appears that my hip drop has improved greatly, but my cross-over gait was out of control and I knew it (I can feel myself twisting). The result of that was neck pain and a strained soleus (again..).
- I’m starting to get used to the not feeling comfortable feeling. Something I need to overcome to get good at the 5K/10K
- Apparently I don’t need to see while running a race:
The 9 Run Run was a great, local race and I am sure I will be back next year. The course is very PB/PR friendly and from what I’ve seen, many people achieved PB’s on the course. Also – all race photos were free of charge, courtesy of Zoom Photo (thank you!). Check out the race next year if you are in town!