Last week I had decided to run the MEC 15K Race at Fanshawe Conservation Area here in London. My Mum had already signed up for the 15K, which would be her longest run to date, and since it also happened to be Mother's Day what better way to spend a morning?
I'm always singing the praises of the MEC Race Series…$15 gets you a great race. Timed and certified courses, nice little swag bags (mine had a couple of full size Clif Builders Bars as well as a couple Nuun tabs) and well organized race. There were four distances offered for Sunday; 5K, 10K, 15K and for the first time in London, a 6K Trail Race. Something to try out in a future race!
We got up early on Sunday morning and were on our way by 7:30. The race didn't start until 9:00, but Michelle and Kennedy were both volunteering and had to be at the park for 8:00. I dropped the girls off and went over to get my Mum and leave Jackson with my Dad.
|Michelle Getting Runners Signed In|
We waited around for a little bit before the race started and I chatted with my Mum and a few other people to pass the time. It was a beautiful sunny morning and the temperatures were warming up nicely…a perfect day to run. The race started right at 9:00 and we were all off…the 5/10/15K runners all ran the same 5K loop.
It was a little bit of a mess about a quarter mile in though…we had to run up to a little turnaround area before heading out towards the dam and the leaders made some really curious lane choices. Instead of staying on the right-hand side of the road, making the loop then heading out to the dam on the other side of the road, they ran on the left-hand side of the road, made the loop then ran towards the dam on the right-hand side, which meant crossing paths with all of the oncoming runners. They did the same thing at the second turnaround just past the dam too…luckily it wasn't a big race or someone would have been hurt. Two things on this…first, the guys out front, all experienced runners, should know better. The course was NOT complicated and there was no reason for them to run on the wrong side of the road. They chose to run against traffic and in doing so put others at risk. Second point, for the organizers…looks like you could use one extra volunteer on the course in this spot for the next race to ensure that runners stay on the correct side of the road. Or even just a pylon or two. That should solve the problem.
I didn't really have any real goals for the race…I ran it last year in 1:01:59, but knew that was not a realistic goal this time around. It would be nice to keep it close to that time though. I set out a little fast for the first kilometre, but managed to dial the pace back to something a bit more manageable at 4:20/km (6:56/mile). I kept the pace steady but found it tough to push as I was pretty much running solo. There were a few runners out ahead of me and a few more back behind me, but I was on my own. I really wanted to chase down the group in front of me, but rationalized that most of them were doing either the 5K or 10K and I would just crash and burn on my 15K if I wanted to race them.
Sure enough, a bunch of the guys ahead of me dropped out after the first 5K loop. There were still some guys ahead, but nearly as many. My 5K split was 21:17, a pace that I felt was quite manageable for me, so I decided to just keep running at the same effort.
I saw my Mum out on the course a few times since it was and out and back as well as a 3 loop race. The first couple of times I saw her she was in the walk portion of her 8:1 run:walk, and she looked like she was doing good. She had a smile on her face and was moving with purpose. We cheered each other on each time we passed one another.
I had seen my parents the day before the race and decided to give my Mum her Mother's Day present that day in case she wanted to use it for the race, which she did. I got her the running shorts and top.
It was getting pretty hot out there as I hit the halfway point and I started drinking some water. As I came through the second loop for 10K (21:43 for the second 5K loop) I tried to grab a cup from the water girl…Kennedy! She got a little excited to have me getting water from her and it just kind of spilled all over the place, and on her too I think. I did grab a cup from the last guy in the line so I was able to get some at least. I also ditched my Buff headband as I was just melting hot by now. Our temperatures have been so cold lately that all of a sudden racing in 80° weather was a little much. Michelle was at the start/finish line and offered to catch my Buff…she grabbed it and was probably a little repulsed by the sweaty mess it was. Sorry Michelle!
I set out for the final 5K loop and there was no one in sight. I just pushed on trying to keep my pace, but my legs were starting to tire now. At the first turnaround the volunteer said he thought I was in first place, but I knew I wasn't. There was a group of three speedsters that were quite a ways in front of me and I knew that they were doing the 15K as well. Unless they had pulled out of the race (doubtful), I was sitting in 4th place.
On the back half of my last loop I came up behind my Mum and passed her, cheering her on as I went by. She was still looking strong and running well and I knew she was going to finish her last lop strong. She was doing great!
Once I passed her I decided it was time to give a strong finishing kick…my last kilometre clocked in as my fastest of the day at 4:03 (6:29/mile) and my final 5K loop took me 21:55. While it wasn't a negative split, my 5K's were pretty consistent and I had enough gas in the tank at the end to finish strong. My official time was 1:04:59 with a pace of 4:20/km (6:56/mile), which is just a touch faster than my last Half Marathon from a few weeks ago. I've been quite pleased with my pace lately, getting most runs in around the 7:00/mile mark, but I still need to work a little bit on my endurance as I tire out a bit after 10K.
|I'm Finishing my Race, but Michelle's Been There, Done That|
I waited around at the finish and chatted with Michelle, Kennedy and Rhoda and before too long my Mum crested the final hill and made her way to the finish!
She crossed the line with a time of 1:44:57, and she looked strong. She has her first ever Half Marathon coming up on June 1 and she looks like she is in great shape for it!
We stuck around for a bit to get some coffee, bagels etc. There were even Mother's Day cupcakes and red, white and pink carnations for any moms in the crowd (Michelle and my Mum each got one). Then they handed out the awards for the 15K race and it turns out that I had finished third overall…a bit of a surprise!
It was an awesome day to run and I got to race with my Mum on Mother's Day as well…what more can you ask for? Thanks to MEC for another great race and I look forward to the next time I get to run in the series. Most of all, congrats to my Mum on her longest ever run and for doing such a great job! You're going to do great at your Half!