Ottawa Race Weekend is a race that is close to my running heart. In 2010, I ran my first race ever (the 5K) and since then, I’ve taken part in every race weekend and have run every race at least once. The 2019 plan was to run the marathon again, but training just did not happen so I ended up switching to the half marathon. Then that training did not happen, so I ended up switching one more time to the 10K. The running that I had been doing up to the race was shorter and faster, so I felt that I had a better chance at running a personal best in the 10K than the half marathon.
Race Weekend arrived and I started the festivities by spending an afternoon hanging out at the Army Run booth with the Army Run people and some members of Team Frontline. It was nice to see many running friends. This year’s race t-shirt is one of my favourites. This time the 5K and 10K runners received the same shirt. I love the design and the colour. I had my traditional sushi for dinner and then went home to relax.
The 10K race is an evening race, which isn’t really ideal for me. It basically means I have to restrict eating a bit, but eat enough so that I won’t be hungry during the race. The weather forecast kept changing – but when I arrived downtown there were some light rain sprinkles and it wasn’t too hot. I started warming up by running 2K and then doing some strides. I wanted to be in a specific spot at the start line, so I ended up going down to the start a bit earlier than I normally would. This year, the start lines had to be moved because of the construction on Elgin. We started on Colonel By Drive, which made for a very tight and congested start. I ended up finding teachers and students from my school and started the race with them. As we were waiting for the start, someone mentioned that a downpour was going to happen in about 45 minutes. So the plan for most of us was make it to the finish as fast as possible to not have to be stuck in the rain. Also, right before the race a RCAF plane did a fly by which was really cool!
At 6:30pm, the race started and the large crowd of over 7000 runners was off. The race organizers warned everyone that the race start would be congested and to be careful. They were not kidding – it was very crowded and I definitely clipped a few heels. My original race plan was to run 5:20/KM for the first 5K and then increase the pace for the last 5K. I did that for the first KM and then ended up feeling comfortable in the 5:10 range. I ran 5:24/5:07/5:14/5:11/5:09 for the first half. This year’s race was a reversal of the usual route, so the route was familiar but felt like you were running backwards in a way. But because of the change, the big hill in the Glebe was no longer a climb but a downhill. I was definitely flying in that KM, running 5:00 in that section.
Around 6K I did start feeling a little tired but I just concentrated on running steady. I knew I had a personal best – but I wanted to get as close to 50:00 as possible. At the 8K mark, the downpour hit – which honestly wasn’t too bad as it definitely cooled me. KM 6-10 were run faster, meaning I ran a negative split. I ran 5:00/5:09/5:05/5:00/4:48. That last KM was a bit of a blur. I ended up crossing the finish line at 51:46, a new PB by almost three minutes.
After the race, I did the long walk to the medals/recovery area. During the race I was feeling hot, after the race I started feeling very cold. I quickly got through the recovery area to begin another long walk to the baggage area where I could get some dry clothes. I even saw a student from my school who was looking a little blue. I changed and felt better than went to the beer tent where there was a free beverage waiting for me.
Another Race Weekend came to a close. As usual, Run Ottawa put on a fantastic event and I will be back next year. But for what race, I do not know!