Sunday, April 22, 2012

MEC Bow river run 5K race report

So, yesterday I did my first 5K race in almost a year and a half.  There's something about the 5K distance; it's often considered as a beginner's race, but it's really not.  Like any distance, it is what you put into it.  It's short enough that if you give it everything you've got, it can really hurt.

Yesterday morning, I arrived at the race site bright and early.  I usually do.  I find it calms my nerves, and I like to take a look around to make sure I know where everything is.  Required trip to the facilities, locate race start.  Headed back to the car.  Then, I ran about 2 km to warm up.  Mostly slow with a few faster strides thrown in. I saw a couple people from spin class while warming up.

After that, I headed back to the car, took a quick gel (it had been a while since breakfast), a sip of water, and headed to the start line.  I knew a few people doing the race, so I was looking for them.  I saw Chris, a friend's husband who is getting into triathlon (yay!) and Kelly, a friend doing her second 5K.

Kelly is a friend who has been a part of my life at many different points.  I think those are people that you're meant to stay connected with, so I've loved watching her running journey.  Can't wait to see where else it goes.
A quick picture of us pre-race
We were already lined up at the start line.  I had lined up a bit early, leaving a good chunk of room in front of me.  I expected more people to fill it then did, so ended up further forward then I really should have.  They were starting the 5k and 10k races at the same time, which is unusual, but it was a small race, so not too big a deal.

And, we were off!  I started off at what felt like a fast pace, and let the people flow around me.  Yep, I'd seeded myself a bit too far forward, but I find I often repass a lot of those people after the first kilometer, because they go out a bit too fast.

I had planned to pay very little attention to my garmin, and instead just run by feel.  I was mostly successful in that endeavor, but at one point during the first kilometer, I looked down and saw a pace over 6:00/km.  I actually think it was a fluke reading; possibly the trees messed with the satellite signal or something.  I picked it up a bit when I saw it though.  There was no way I was going to fail to run sub-30 overall.

The only hill, if you can call it that, in the race was the bridge over the river, and that was short lived enough that it was pretty insignificant.  After that the race was pretty flat.

Km 1: 5:14

Truthfully, I was going faster then I really felt I could hold, but I wanted to push myself.  I wanted to take a risk and see just how much I was capable of.  I can often do more then I think I can.

The race was an out and back, so about 10 minutes in, the first guys started coming back.  Wow, they were fast!  Just flying.

Km 2: 5:18

By now, I no longer had the adrenaline from the starting line, so it was into the stage of holding on.  And I did.  I find it incredibly motivating watching the fastest runners coming back.  It is very cool to see.  But, they were all men.

Where were the women?

Finally, the first woman came back.  I figured this was the beginning of seeing a stream of them, but as I got closer and closer to the turn around point, I still didn't see them.  Finally, as I reached the water station and turn around, I saw the second and third women.  They both stopped, and one of them laid down on the grass.  And, I passed them.

And, for the first time ever, I was doing something I never really planned to do.  I was racing against the field rather then just myself.  I had actually slowed a bit prior to the turn around, but I picked the speed up again.  Maybe, just maybe, I could hold on.

Km 3: 5:18

In picking up the speed though, I made a mistake.  I was already running as hard as I thought I could hold, and going faster was not a good choice.  I just could not hold on.  I couldn't keep it up, and I let myself walk.  I have very mixed feelings about this.  On one hand, I was pushing myself the hardest I ever had.  On the other hand, really?  Could I really not have just held on?

I only walked for about 10 seconds, but in that 10 seconds, I let a ponytail pass me.  (The men didn't matter; there were plenty of them ahead of me already.)

I made my second mistake and I tried to hold on.  She had paced herself better then I had though.  She was definitely going to negative split this race.  Always run your own race.  A lesson that I apparently haven't quite learned.

I walked again, and got passed again, this time by blue coat girl.  She wasn't going as fast though, so I decided to stay right behind her.

Kilometer 4 was my slowest overall, but had my fastest time outside of my finishing kick.  I wonder how differently it would have been if I had just paced evenly?

Km 4: 5:33

I held onto blue coat girl.  I figured I could let her pace me and then try to overtake her at the end, but then, she stopped to walk.  And, I passed her back.

At that point, it was just a matter of holding on.  Just one kilometer left right?  5 and a half minutes, max?  You can do anything for 5 minutes?

I resisted the urge to take a short cut through a playground.  It would have gotten me to the finish line faster, but probably wouldn't be considered terribly honest...

I'm often able to pick up the pace in the last kilometer, but this time, I was leaving everything out there on the course.  I didn't have much extra left in me.  I turned the final corner and kicked it into high gear.  Almost there.  I just had to hurt until I crossed that line.

Km 5: 5:24
Extra 0.06 km (as measured by my garmin): About 23 seconds*

*I actually forgot to stop my garmin when I crossed the finish line, but 27:10 was the point where my pace had definitely dropped in my garmin log, so I'm counting that.

Total time: 27:10

I think that I can safely lay to rest my sub-30 goal.  It's kind of like an era gone by in my running career.  I once considered a sub-30 5K or sub-60 10K to be the ultimate in running, and the fastest I could ever expect to go.  That's no longer a goal for me, and it's also no longer a limit.

As for that ?third? place finish?  I'm not sure what happened.  It's possible that there was another woman in front of me that I wasn't aware of.  However, I do know that it was blue coat girl that was given the third place prize.  And, I do know that I finished in front of blue coat girl.  Perhaps she was accepting it for a friend?  A bit disappointing.  Normally, I wouldn't even place in my age group, but it would have been cool to place this once.  I am curious to see what the results say when they are published.

Having said that, I did what I set out to do.  I did far more then beat the 30 minute mark.  I destroyed it.  And, in smashing that goal, I didn't just lay to rest my sub-30 goal.  I laid to rest my perception of myself as a slow runner.  Yes, speed is relative, but there's nothing holding me back from continuing to get faster.  I'm no longer the unathletic out of shape kid.  I never was.  I just didn't try.  Now, I do.  And, I'll continue to.  I'm nowhere near my limit.  I'm not even convinced there is a limit in front of me that matters.  :)


  1. WOW what an AWESOME 5k race Deb :) I am so happy for you.

  2. Wahoo!! Love that CRUSH! I hope I can write a post like this in another year or two. Still striving towards the sub-30 here.

  3. Awesome job!! You are just killing it!! I am still working on that sub 30 5K- one day! Hopefully soon!

    That really sucks about blue coat getting 3rd place!! I'm pretty sure I will never AG but whatever. Like you said I run for myself and no one else.

    Great to see Kelly out there too!

  4. You completely crushed your goal!!! Congratulations!

  5. That is awesome Deb! Such an amazing time :)

  6. Wow just wow!!!!! Great job! I will be curious to see exactly what happened with the 3rd place.

  7. Wow, great job! Definitely crushed it! Awesome race report too.

  8. Very nice! I've only been sub-30 about 3 times. Twice was in cooler weather. I just can't seem to do it here in the tropical heat though. So congrats on your race. Btw, it sounds a bit fishy that you finished before blue coat girl and she got 3rd. Whats up with that?

  9. You were great:) It gave me a boost of extra speed when you and I passed each other around kilometer 2. I was glad I got to race one with you. You never know what the next year will bring:)


  11. A little friendly advice-never take away from your accomplishments by complaining about potential irregularities in official standings. Stuff happens-don't look petty especially considering the type of race.
    Who cares where you place or could have won if you accomplished your personal goal.