Wednesday, December 4, 2013

MEC Race 4 Recap

Posted by CheapRunnerMike

If you remember back to my Friday post I made a last-minute decision to sign up for the final MEC race of 2013.  I love the MEC Race Series as they offer well-organized low-cost races…only $15 gets you a measured and certified route with professional timing.  What more do you need?  I held off on registering only because I wasn't sure about running in the snow and ice, but I figured I had run all week in it so I may as well give the race a go.

I woke up on Sunday morning and it was a little milder than it had been lately as temperatures were right at freezing…I decided I would wear my running jacket to the race but it would be too warm to run with it so I wore my fleece-lined Nike Dri-Fit shirt which worked great.  I had my breakfast and headed out as I still needed to pick up my bib.

There were no problems at all once I arrived at the store where the race was being held.  There is an industrial park behind the store and the roads are pretty quiet on a Sunday morning at 9:00…there was both a 5K as well as the 10K I was running and the route was laid out as a 5K loop.  The roads around the start area seemed to look pretty good…wet, but not snow and ice covered.

The race turnout wasn't bad for a cold snowy December morning, but it was still a small crowd of just over 50 runners.  We toed the start line and we were off.  I surprised myself a bit and jumped out to the front right away.  Similar to the 5K I ran in October, I had never raced a 10K before and didn't really know how to run it.  I had decided in my 5K to just sprint until I couldn't anymore and figured I would go with a similar strategy here for the 10K.


Almost one kilometre into the race and it was clear that the roads were better than I had expected.  There was definitely areas of snow and ice, but they were just wet roads for the most part.  I was still in the lead at this point but there was a group of 4 of us all running together.  I took a peek at my watch and saw my pace was around 3:30/km (5:35/mile) and I knew I couldn't go too long at that speed.  I dialed it back a notch and let two of the guys pass me, but made sure they never got too far ahead.

We made our way out to the turnaround and that stretch of road (almost a kilometre in length) was really quite bad…lots of snow and the road was really rough and uneven.  Where it wasn't snow-covered it was icy, and the ice was hard to see…lots of careful running back there.  It was at the turnaround that I saw the bibs the two guys in front of me were wearing…one 5K runner and the other a 10K.  I figured I had better keep the 10K guy as close as I could but I didn't really care about the 5K runners.

I just kept on pushing hard while trying not to kill myself and also spurred on the 5K runner that was right with me.  He was huffing and puffing a bit and I tried to give him the boost he needed to hang in there and make a go at it.  I encouraged him to make a final push on the last kilometre and let him go.  At the same time I decided to reel in the 10K runner ahead of me.  I was able to pass him about a half mile before the start/finish line (our halfway point) and saw the top 2 5K runners finish about 10 seconds in front of me.  At the halfway mark I was in the lead.

MEC Halfway
Coming through at 5K

It didn't take long before I couldn't hear the footsteps behind me anymore and I was all on my own.  This is where it got tough.  I had been running in a quick pack for the whole race but now it was up to me alone to maintain my pace.  I really wanted to break 40 minutes and get a PR (my best ever training 10K was 41:32) and to do so I had to keep pushing hard.

The volunteers out on the course were really great and supportive and I tried to be as well.  I would thank every volunteer I came across and I also made sure to encourage the other 5K and 10K runners out on the course.  Some of the other runners were really helpful and told me I had a big lead, which was nice because I didn't want to look back and trip over my own feet or anything…because that would totally happen.

By the time I got to the final turnaround the snow had started flying.  I did get to see the second-place runner and he was pretty far back, probably a half mile or so…I knew if I could maintain my pace I would have the win.  I didn't let up at all and even gave a big kick at the end to use up all the energy I still had and as I came around the last corner Emily the Race Director was out on the course yelling and cheering me on by name (an advantage of small local races).  I sprinted across the line for my first ever win and a 3-minute PR of 38:24!  Wow!  I really surprised myself with that!!  I ended up finishing almost a full minute before the second place runner.

MEC Finish
At the Finish For the Win

After the race I went a grabbed a water, banana and a coffee, then went back to the finish line to cheer on everyone else.  I hung around for a while and got to see everyone else complete their races before collecting my medal and a MEC gift card as a prize.  I grabbed another coffee for the road and was off for home.


It was a great race and I was so happy to win…I have complained that I was always the 4th place finisher, always doing well but never quite good enough to place.  Then in my last race I placed 2nd in my age group and they only awarded the age group winners…I just felt like I would never win anything!  So to take first place was really big for me, even if it was a smaller race.  I'm thrilled with my time and I now know that I can run fast if I push myself, even over the 10K distance.  All of this builds confidence for future races, and I'm looking forward to running Half- and Full Marathons next year and pushing myself towards some lofty goals.

Mile Splits


  1. you are a BEAST! Break out player of the year! Mikesanity! Great job dude!!!!!

  2. Congrats on the win!! So awesome, and speedy!!!

  3. Also- thank you for winning, since...well the bills couldn't.

  4. Thanks Declanity...I smell comeback player of the year honours coming for you soon!

  5. You're just happy because you won't hear me crying about 4th place anymore ;)

  6. Thanks Laura...I'm used to the Bills blowing it by now though

  7. katie @ fromicecreamtomarathonDecember 4, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    Woohoo!! That's so awesome!! Congrats Mike!

  8. WooHoo - great job!!! Awesome time! And I love that you turned the pictures into gifs!!!

  9. No better use of race pictures than finish line gifs! Maybe I have too much time on my hands...

  10. Thanks a lot Teresa! Now I just have to figure out what I "need" at MEC...They are a really cool outdoors store and carry lots of running and biking gear, so it shouldn't be too hard to find something :)

  11. Sorry I missed the race on Sunday. All that Disney vacationing seems to have paid off. Congratulations Mike!

  12. Cecilia @ MommiesRunDecember 6, 2013 at 5:20 PM

    Holy moly! You are a speedy thing!

  13. I was hoping to see you out there making a triumphant return to the MEC year I guess. The Disney vacations must agree with me :)

  14. Thanks Cecilia! I try to run my fastest if a large group of people decide to chase me...