For a few years now I have wanted to run the Pinery Road Race…it is part of one of the race series around the area (the Runpiker Series) and it takes place at the beautiful Pinery Provincial Park which is just a few miles down the road from the cottage. I was hurt a couple years ago and unable to participate and last year it was the weekend right after I ran the Chicago Marathon, but everything fell into place this year to enable me to sign up.
The race was Sunday morning and it was cold and gray. It had rained pretty steady overnight so it was just miserable all around. It was only 4°C (39°F) when we left for the race and it never really warmed up.
I was lucky that despite the frigid temperatures my cheering squad decided to tag along and lend their support.
We went to pick up my bib and then Jackson and I went for a little warm up jog. I'm a terrible runner and never really do anything before a race, I'll usually just get to the start line and go, but it was so cold this morning that I had to get a little warm. We did about a 500m jog, just enough to get a bit loose…Jackson had fun at least. When we got back to Michele it was time for them to go find a viewing spot and therefore time for me to lose the sweatshirt and winter hat…I kept my gloves though!
I got right up to the start line and the horn went off. The pack set out at a really quick pace and I was sitting about 6th or 7th. I wasn't concerned because I had my pace where I wanted it and I was pretty sure a bunch of the others would fall off. Sure enough, by about the 2K mark I had moved into 3rd place. I could see 2nd not too far ahead, but the leader was long gone (tall guy above in the white singlet, black arm sleeves and red short shorts…no surprise he was a thoroughbred).
I kept the gap from getting too big between me and second, and at one point I saw him sneak a peek back at me…I yelled at him to not worry about me, I was way back. He acknowledged with a wave and kept going. A couple minutes later a big deer went running through the bush right beside us, causing me to let out a "Whoa!"…that was a pretty cool sight in the middle of a race. I saw the leader coming back the other way and knew we must be nearing the halfway point turnaround.
I hit the turnaround right on the heels of second place at 18:49…a good time for a 5K but still plenty of work to do. I knew I would need to at least maintain this pace to get second.
It was less than 500m later and I decided to go for the pass…I got up to second and he tried to stay on my shoulder for a little bit, but he dropped after 100m or so. The rest of the race was pretty much solo…I never saw anyone ahead of me other than the other 10K runners heading out to the turnaround, and there was no way I was going to look back and see how much of a lead I had. I kept telling myself to push the pace and I think I even convinced myself that I could hear footsteps right behind me…like I said, I wasn't looking back!
After a tough solo run with nobody but myself to push me, one of the race officials said that this was the last curve. I was now coming up on the last few 5K runners and started to weave my way through them towards the finish line. I gave a real strong kick down the finish chute and heard Michelle and Jackson cheering me on…I crossed the line in second place with a new 10K PR of 37:44.
I managed to run the back half a few ticks faster than the out and ended up finishing 20 seconds ahead of third place (the winner was nearly 5 minutes ahead of me at 33:03!). My only real goal for the race was to go under 40 minutes, so to go under 38 and finish second overall was a real thrill!
We stuck around after the race to collect my prize…I got a crisp new $100 bill for my efforts! That will pay for the new shoes I just ordered, good deal
We then packed up to head home…we stopped at the cottage to say hi to my dad and also bought some fresh apples and pears from the local farm, then grabbed some lunch and settled in for the drive. A great day all around!