2017 St Patrick’s Day 5K Ottawa

Another race in 2017 complete!

On Saturday, I ran the 5K race at the 2017 St Patrick’s Day race in downtown Ottawa. I’ve run this race before and knew what to expect – a very familiar route along the Rideau Canal, cold temps and a low-key, no frills race. The 5K is a fundraiser for some local rugby team and obviously happens close to St. Patrick’s Day. Unlike other St Paddy’s day races, there is no beer at the finish – unless you win. Because March races can be unpredictable in terms of weather, I did not sign up for the race until the very last moment. I’m finding it very hard to PB the 5K lately and I kind of need a perfect combination of route, weather and me feeling A++ to get below 24:54. Spoiler alert – it did not happen this race!

The race is held at a high school with a decent amount of free parking and a warm gym to wait in. I did not get a free race shirt as I registered too late which wasn not a big deal because the shirt was a short-sleeved tech and was honestly kind of ugly. It would have ended up at the bottom of my athletic gear pile or as a throw-away later at another race (my NYC green shirt came from the 2013 race). Vicki and Clark from Team Awesome were there and I waited for the race with them. Typical GI issues that morning – I will never learn that a spicy burrito bowl is not a good idea the night before a race. I usually don’t care about GI issues in 5K’s as it usually never poses a problem during the race.

Soon enough we were at the start. The weather was as good as it was going to get: slightly chilly at -8C, sunny and a light wind. I would have preferred it to be just a little warmer so I could ditch the full leggings and wear capris. I wore my leggings and orange fleece sweater with the usual long sleeved shirt base layer. As pictured below, I did have my hoodie up for a bit – it came off roughly 200m into the race. My layers ended up being perfect for the temps but I always feel like I cannot go super fast while wearing all the winter gear.

Thank you to Ian Hunter for taking photos of the race!

Image courtesy of Ian Hunter

Soon enough we were off. I kept an eye on my watch as I didn’t really want to go faster than 4:45/km for the first little bit. I was hoping to hold 4:50 and wanted to not go out super fast and blow out again. I ran fairly comfortably at 4:45 pace for the first KM and got a tad bit slower in the 2nd KM. I saw on Strava a runner who ran almost exactly the same splits as me – I remember her and one other female directly in front of me. We stayed in the same order for most of the entire race and according to those Strava stats, both myself and the other runner slowed right down for KM 3-5.

Image courtesy of Ian Hunter

At the halfway point I started to feel myself slow down. A couple of times I wanted to just stop and walk for a few minutes. I think my exact words to myself were “No stopping stupid” and I kept going. I hovered in the 5:05-5:10 range for the rest of the race. I developed an awful side stitch and felt like I had no gas left. Combination of not enough food and the usual GI issues meant that I was out of energy. I finished the race in 25:36 – I hit 5K a bit early in 25:14 (I hit all the KM markers about 80m early for all of them). Not bad and fairly close to my PB.

As mentioned, everything has to be ‘right’ for me to PB the 5K. I have no doubt that I can run faster, but it needs to be a bit warmer, I need to eat more before hand and I also think I need to have a small taper. I didn’t taper/rest at all for this race and I think my legs did not feel fresh. Once I get my spring half marathon completed, then I can concentrate on getting faster in the 5K. I cannot do both. However, this 5K 25:xx time felt so much better than the Richmond Road Races with maintaining a slightly faster 2nd half and no leg cramping. Although since it is now Tuesday when I’m editing this post – I have annoyed my left post tib again.

After the race we enjoyed our chocolate milks and chilled for a bit. Clark PB’d and also got 1st in his category! Vicki and I both were 4th in our categories and had fast 5K times. I’m not sure if I will run this race again. The problem with the usual Ottawa running schedule is that there is not much to choose from in March if you want to race. According to Run Guides, there isn’t another Ottawa-area race until April. Then in April, there are all the races, including three on April 30th. I would have preferred the 5K at Around the Bay, but I’m unable to run it this year. Regardless it was a fun morning and I’m very much looking forward to some spring running! On to the next race!

Image courtesy of Ian Hunter

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