Monday, March 25, 2013

Run for L'Arche - Race Report

My first timed race! 

On Saturday I ran the 5 mile Run for L'Arche in Calgary.  L'arche is an international organization of communities that create homes and programs for people with developmental disabilities.  Before this, I didn't know they I do and I'm glad that the proceeds of the race went to a good cause.  Also, it seemed like a very well run race but I have nothing to compare it to so it's difficult for me to say.

Onto the race and preparation...

I basically took the week off of running, except for the little bit of speed work I did on Tuesday and it was too cold to walk outside at lunch so the legs were well rested.   I did start to feel a little nervous on Friday, which was weird, I know I can do this distance - I even did a trial run so I knew about how long it would take too.  But still interesting that I would get a little bit of the pre-race jitters.

Of course, it can't all go smoothly.  After putting together a kick-ass play list and gathering all of my gear I found out that I'd lost my running socks.  Which leads to the excellent question as to why I only have the single pair (I only wear them for "real" running and never needed a second pair).  And I could only find a single magic mini glove.  We got some gloves in the race kit, but I didn't know if they would be too much (and they didn't really fit well, but neither do the minis).  But other than those two things I was all ready to go.

Race day morning - up at 7am.  The one good thing about a March race is the start time of 10:15, I think in hopes of it being just a little bit warmer.  Got ready leisurely, breakfast of toast, peanut butter and tea.  Adam got Jet ready to go to baseball evaluations and they were off before me.


Quick and easy drive downtown, got there just before 10:00.  Parked across the street from my office building and walked the block and a bit to the start at Eau Claire Market.  

And just about froze doing it.

I'd been obsessively watching the weather network for the last week, hoping that it would get a whole lot warmer than they'd been predicting.  Once I accepted that wasn't going to happen I started hoping that it wouldn't be windy.  It wasn't windy, but it was about -10 Celsius and that's way too cold for this fair-weather runner.

Inside the market was toasty warm, with lots of places for everyone to sit and hangout.  The announcer was setup as well inside along with a couple of booths to take a look at.  I hung out until they called the half marathon runners outside and figured I should see them off.  It was getting slightly warmer in the sunshine, which was nice.

After the half marathoners were off I did a warmup run around the market - felt good.  Chatted with a very nice older fellow while waiting to be called up to the start line.  I commented it was my first timed race and he said he still remembers his first race, back in 1970!  It was nice to chat with someone, made the time go by quickly.

Soon enough we were called up to the start, the mayor said a few words (which I didn't hear, I put my headphones in, turned up the music and was ready to go!), blasted an air horn and we were off!  I lined up about 3/4's back...but it was a small race (197 people) so even at the back of the pack it was close.

Crossed the start, started my Nike+ watch and off I go.

Out and back course along the river pathways, nice and easy (if you ignore the bridge at the very start and therefore at the very end).  Off to a good, if quick, pace.  Dodged a few people at the beginning, but not too many, I think I seeded myself quite nicely.  Over the bridge - with a volunteer telling everyone to watch the center of the bridge, it was slippery - and onto the pathway.

At the first kilometer marker things spread out a bit.  There was a fellow in front of me that was going a nice pace so I tried to keep up to him and it worked for quite a while.  Kept checking my watch, still going faster than I'd like, but feeling really good.  After the first mile I started to pass people who were walking, that made me feel even better because I was sure that I'd be the only person who would need a walk break.

Over the river again, still running, pass the water station - don't need anything yet.  Caught up with the fellow I was chatting with at the start line at 2.88 km...still running, legs feel great, music is perfect, lungs feel fantastic, no need to stop yet.

Pass two mile marker, know the turnaround is coming soon.  First of the 5 mile runners are on their way back, those guys can fly!  Hit the turnaround, still running.  Now get to see everyone who was behind me.  Realize that the 3 mile marker is coming up and I still haven't taken a walk break.  That's never happened before.

Pass the three mile marker and give myself a virtual pat on the back.  Pleased as punch when I pass the 5km marker without walking.  By this time I'm participating in the age-old game of picking someone ahead of you and work on passing them.  Legs feel really good and I can accelerate without any problems when I need to.

Water station - took the cup of water and walked to drink it.  Tossed the cup in the garbage and started running again.  Back over the pedestrian bridge, along the path I walk almost every day at lunch.  Mile four my stomach growls, good thing it's almost done.  Slowed down a bit in anticipation of the "big bridge", accelerated up and over.  Can see the finish area from the top.

Downhill for the last two hundred meters, want to finish strong so pick up the speed until I cross the finish line.

51:39 clock time!

Get my medal and bottle of water (there were bananas that I didn't see) and walked around for a bit.  Checked my phone to see Adam and Jet were on their way and they just missed me finish.  Met up a couple minutes later and realized I hadn't stopped my watch :)

We got our pancake breakfast and ate inside.  Really yummy.  The chocolate milk hit the spot.
Calgary Stampede Caravan Breakfast

Then, back home to shower and relax.  I was super hyper for an hour after, but then just wanted to be left alone and sleep.  I wonder if that's normal?


I'm super happy with my times.  My A goal was to finish in an hour, my B goal was to finish in 53 minutes (same as two weeks ago) and by C goal was to finish in 50 minutes.  Considering I still had gas in the tank I feel really good about increasing the pace slightly next time.  Also, never in my wildest dreams did I think I could run 5 miles and only take on 10 second walk break.

In the end I cam in 115th overall (out of 197), 24/46 age group and 49/111 for ladies.  Chip time of 51:09

I can handle that.


1) Buy more socks

2) Good playlist is critical, I had high energy tunes for the entire thing and I'm sure it helped

3) Continue the speed training for the next 10k

4) Do another race.  It's so much easier than running on a treadmill

5) Most likely every run outside for the rest of the year will be warmer than this one

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