It was another race weekend here in CheapRunner Land with the second MEC Race of the season on tap. Both Rhoda and I ran the 10K this time around. I'm always singing the praises of the MEC Race Series as they offer a well run event at an awesome price (only $15!). For the money you get a certified and professionally timed race, water stations on course, water/Nuun/coffee/hot chocolate and bananas & bagels at the finish line, plus medals and prizes for the top 3 men and women. My swag bag also included a full size Clif bar, a couple of sample Clif bars and a single-serve Nuun tablet. Like I said, you get a lot for your money with this series!
We experienced some really nice weather last week, with a couple of days getting up to about 10°C (50°F) and melting a bunch of the snow away. Like I posted last week, I even got out to run in shorts one day. That said, the days between those warm-weather teases were down to about -20°C (-4°F)…so we really didn't know what we were going to get. It was one of those really nice days on the Friday when I went to pick up my bib at the store (and received 10% off any purchases I made, yet another MEC Series perk!) but when I got up for the race on Saturday morning the temperature had dropped to around freezing. It was cloudy and cool, but there was no snow to worry about. I left the house and before I was even to the end of my street it started to drizzle…great. By the time I got to the park the temperature had dropped a couple more degrees and the rain was now snow, and lots of it. It was still too warm for accumulation at least, so the paths weren't too bad.
Oh ya, did I mention I had decided to wear shorts? Seemed like a decent idea when I left the house, and in truth my legs never did get cold…more than anything I just wanted to show off my green Pro Compression socks for St Patrick's Day ;) I also wore my Celtic soccer jersey and even mixed in my green Brooks Pure Connects…I got all kinds of compliments on my attire.
The race started promptly at 9:00 and we were off. There was both a 5K and 10K offered and the 10K was a double-loop. I hung with the front pack for the first couple kilometers before I realized I really couldn't maintain a sub 4:00/km pace (that's about 6:20/mile). I haven't been running a whole lot lately compared to what I had been doing last year for marathon training and I can see the difference. While I can still crank it up and run a sub-6 minute mile (3:30km) if I have to, I can't maintain that pace for as long as I used to be able to. This is fine with me right now as I'm focusing on other disciplines (swimming and cycling), but I need to make sure I stay on top of the running as well.
The paths were pretty decent to run on, but there were a few spots that you had to tiptoe through the puddles…I ended up getting a soaker a little over a mile in. We got to the turnaround point and I could see all the guys ahead of me…looked like there were maybe 10 or so guys ahead of me, mostly 5K runners.
I made the turn and headed back towards the start…I saw Rhoda out on the course and gave her a high five and cheered her on. At this point there wasn't really anyone around me, other than one pair of footsteps. I didn't bother looking back, knowing I still had another loop to go. Eventually the footsteps caught up and it was a guy I've seen and talked with plenty of times before, and I knew he would be running the 5K. I gave him a quick word of encouragement and told him to get going. I said that if he gave a good push to the finish I wouldn't photobomb his finish line photo :)
After that I was on my own on the course, other than the steady stream of runners going the other way. I settled into a pace that was comfortable for me and started to offer encouragement to all of the other runners I saw going by on the other side of the path…there were lots of high fives out there!
I made it to the turnaround for the second time and saw that I was 5th overall and there was little hope of catching the guys ahead of me or of being caught by the guys behind. I just enjoyed the rest of the race and even got to have myself some finish line fun…my first ever airplane!
I ended up in 5th place and my official time was 41:18, about 30 seconds slower than my last 10K race but still the 3rd fastest 10K I've ever run.
I went to grab a coffee and banana then waited at the finish line for Rhoda. Once she crossed the line (she'll fill you in on her race in her post I'm sure) we had our picture taken together and then I headed for home. Since I was in the neighbourhood I made a pit stop on the way home at the Starbucks with the Clover machine…one of the best parts of races at Springbank Park! I had a nice Ethiopian brew to enjoy as I relaxed in my chair and just chilled the rest of the morning…it was perfect.
How did your weekend races go? Did you "green up"?
Any St Paddy's plans today?I'll have to mix in a Guinness at some point…any excuse for a pint!