After getting back from holidays last week I decided that I felt like doing a race…maybe it was the fact that we were able to get in so many runs while away where I got to wear shorts and short sleeves, but I just had that bug.
Luckily the Really Chilly Road Race was on Sunday, so I jumped online and registered for the 10K (there was a 5K offered as well). This is the first race in the London Honda Series, which is the local circuit here in town consisting of 6 races throughout the year. I think that I'll try to do as many as I can as you are eligible for series awards if you run in at least 4 of them.
Sunday morning came around and despite the beautiful sunshine we had, it was still pretty cold. It was a few degrees below freezing and the wind was really howling from the West. I bundled up, but know that the last thing you want in a cold-weather race like this is to wear too much clothing. I opted for a great fleece-lined Nike pullover I have that has a nice mock neck to keep you warm at the start, but it also has lots of venting and a half-zip to cool you down once you're going. No jacket for me today.
We started at 10:10 (for the 10K…clever) and since the race was located at the Fairgrounds, what better way to start than with a complete lap of the half-mile horse track before heading out the tunnel and onto the surrounding streets.
Once out on the road, we did two laps before heading back through the tunnel to finish on the track in front of the Grandstand.
Michelle and the kids came out to cheer me on, so I gave them kisses and went to the start line to get ready. My last 10K race I finished in a little over 38 minutes, and I had decided that my goal for today was just to try and break 40. I haven't been running anywhere near as much as I was the last little while as I've taken it down a notch since the Disney Marathon. I really just wanted to run this race to see where my fitness was and a 10K is a pretty decent test.
The horn sounded and we were off. I went with my new (probably severely-flawed) strategy in 5K/10K races of just going fast from the start and I was just behind the leaders as we completed our lap of the half-mile track.
Then it was down (and up) through the tunnel and out onto the roads. I was through my first mile in 5'54" (3'40"/km) which I knew was a pretty unsustainable pace for me. I dialed it back a little and "let" some people pass me. I settled into a 6'30"-ish mile pace (4'00"/km) and by the time the second mile was complete, nobody else passed me the rest of the day.
Every time we turned to head West, there was a nasty, cold headwind blasting in our faces…it was the worst wind I've had to deal with in a race. My body was warm, but the fingers on my left hand were completely numb -- no feeling there at all. That was one of the tough parts of this race, the other being all of the bloody turns. On the map I count 10 turns out on the streets, and we did two laps, so double that. It seemed that you would get up to speed and then have to slow for a turn (most of which featured ice and/or slush), and then start back up again. I know that the course had been certified just days before the race, and the guy that does it is a real pro and doesn't mess them up EVER…but with all those corners and my best efforts at running the tangents, I still logged 10.25km on my GPS for the 10K, a 2.5% increase.
Almost all of the intersections were Police-controlled as well, but that didn't stop me from having to slam on the brakes to avoid an old man in a giant Cadillac blowing through the Cop's stop sign. I stopped in time, but I had to come to a complete stop from full speed, and do it FAST. There was a crowd of onlookers there too and they were all in disbelief, raising there arms and saying things to the guy. I just shrugged my shoulders and set off again (unlike my reaction to almost being run over at the Bluewater Duathlon last summer).
I managed to keep my pace nice and steady the rest of the race and was also able to shed layers as we went, losing my hat (wrapped it around my numb hand to warm it up) and unzipping my top all the way to expose my manly chest. I reeled in the one runner I could see in front of me around the 9K mark and then came up through the tunnel and gave a big kick to finish strong. Michelle snapped a few picks from the Grandstand and I've gotta say, I looked fast! That's some Usain Bolt-like form there at the end!
I ended up finishing with a time of 40:49, which was good enough for me to take 17th place overall and 2nd in my Age Group. I went inside for some water, bagels and bananas before grabbing a coffee and heading back outside to cheer on the other runners.
We stuck around for the awards so that I could experience getting my picture taken on the podium. Unfortunately, the Age Groupers were too cool for that and we just went up to collect our awards and shake some hands. I still think I should have posed on my own standing on the number 2 spot!
I ended up getting a New Balance backpack as my prize along with 22 points in the London Honda Series. Just prior to the awards, I also won a door prize…a black and pink New Balance gym bag. I ended up giving that one to Kennedy.
All in all I had a good time and ran a strong race. My split at 5K was under 20 minutes and I can remember that there used to be a time when all I wanted to do was run a sub-20 5K. Now I can do that when I'm not even feeling fit…I have come a long way the last two years (this weekend was actually my two-year runiversary, with my first run being on the beach in Mexico) and I really feel blessed to have discovered the ability that I had for this great sport.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention that I fuelled for this race on Saturday night with a great pre-race combination of homemade pizza and margaritas…had to celebrate National Margarita Day! Fins Up!
Do you know when your Runiversary is?
Ever been (almost) run over by a car during a race?