Monday, April 29, 2013

CheapRunnerMike's Forest City Road Race Recap

Posted by CheapRunnerMike

All 3 Cheap Runners took part in the Forest City Road Races this past weekend, with CheapRunnerMichelle running the 10K while CheapRunnerRhoda and I ran the Half Marathon. The FCRR is the largest run in the city of London (around 2400 registered participants by my count) and this was the 31st year of the race. It winds through the streets and parks of downtown London, Old North London and the University of Western Ontario. It starts and finishes on the streets bordering Victoria Park.


Forest City Road Race Half Marathon Course Map

The morning of the race I woke up early, before my alarm. I always sleep lightly before a race, I just can't wait to be out there. I had already laid out my race clothes and breakfast, and had the coffee maker ready to go...yes, I know, I'm such a loser very prepared. CRM and I got ourselves ready to go, then packed up the kids and went to pick up CRR. The Half started at 8:00 and we were out the door by 7:20...plenty of time in London Ontario :)

We really had nice weather for the race, it was sunny for the most part and warmed up nicely from the 10 degrees C at race start. I was very comfortable in shorts and a short sleeve technical shirt, though I was shivering while we waited to get going.


Brrrr....trying to stay warm

We got started and I settled into a nice 4:25ish pace for the first 4K...I had just run my first half marathon 2 weeks earlier and felt that I started that one out a bit slower than needed so I was going to go a little quicker this time. By the 5K mark we were entering the university and I picked up my pace a bit. Time to start moving up through the field. This seemed to be the point in the run that the crowd that sped off at the beginning were beginning to lose steam while my legs were just getting loosened up...all my training with negative splits has really paid off on my longer runs.

The 7th and 8th kilometres were through Gibbons Park, which is part of my usual routes I run during the week...the park stretch was immediately followed by a long, steady incline heading back into the Old North neighbourhoods. I swear that climb went on for almost 3K and my legs were starting to feel it, so I took a Gu gel at the 10K mark. It was at this point that I came up behind a runner wearing a Muskoka 70.3 shirt (Half Ironman)...as I came up beside him I said that this must be nothing to him since he's used to running a half after swimming and riding the bike for nearly 60 miles. He told me it would be a tough race for him since he had just run Boston 2 weeks ago...I asked him how it was and he said it was just an awesome experience until everything went down. Definitely interesting to hear someone's firsthand account of being there.

I have to say that the support for this race was really good...there were lots of people out cheering us on along the way, lining he streets or hanging out in their front yards in lawn chairs. Also there were plenty of volunteers making sure everything went smoothly out on the course, along with the Police Officers at all of the intersections and the numerous bike medics riding along the route. Thanks to all of you for helping the race be a success!

We made our way back towards the university and then through Gibbons Park once again and I knew we were in the homestretch. My goal was to break 1:30, and I was right on pace to do it. Unfortunately I was starting to fade...I had a couple runners pass me, which hadn't happened since the starting gun. Then as I came up out of the park trails for the last time and made the turn up Central Ave, I saw the Starbucks up at the corner...my inspiration! No, not the coffee (though I love that too)...my awesome family was there at the corner in front of SB's to cheer me on and give me the boost I needed to make my final push. Michelle and the kids were there along with my sister Emily and her two kids...thanks so much guys! My daughter Kennedy even shot a video of me on her iPhone...

That was just the boost I needed...seeing my family, my amazing wife even counting out runners for me and letting me know I was the 15th male (I had no idea!)...I ended up finishing from that point with my quickest kilometre of the race, a 4:06! I was able to pass the guy in front of me and sprint through the finish line (something I couldn't do at the race two weeks earlier). I nailed the pace I wanted, a 4:17...but I just missed out on breaking 1:30 (turns out you need to run a 4:16 to break 1:30...I guess my math skills are lacking). I ended up finishing with a time of 1:30:18, which was good enough for 16th place overall out of 748 runners. Wowza!!

There was plenty of food at the finish line (yogurt, bananas, Rice Krispie squares, flatbread bagels) and the medals were really nice too...


FCRR 2013 Finisher's Medal

All in all it was a really great day...the weather was just about perfect for running (the rain held off until the afternoon), the course was a lot of fun to run on and a rare opportunity to run uninterrupted through the streets of London, and I had another PR in the half marathon. I guess my next half in September I will need to try to crack that elusive 1:30 and see if I can make my way into the top 3 in my age group (I've finished 4th in both my HM's). As much as a little break might be in order, it is getting to be time to switch gears to Triathlon. The bike is ready to go!

 

16 comments:

  1. Way to go guys! You all did great:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks...looking forward to racing with you in 2 weeks!

      Delete
  2. Whoa fantastic job!! Holy smokes you guys rock! Wish I lived closer so we could race, eat cupcakes & drink coffee together. P.S I don't agree with math either. ;)

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