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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Race Recap: 2010 Halloween Haunting 5km

Well, what a weekend this has been. I'm lying on our bed, still in my running gear (yuck!) and I'm sipping a fine '07 Syrah from France as I try and recap the whirlwind that was this weekend.

Saturday saw me judge the Halloween Costume Competition at the London Runner Distance Club annual Halloween practice. There were some creative costumes (the entre women's squad dressed as elements from the periodic table), some funny ones (a few clowns stood out) and a truly amazing display of human strength. Dylan, a runner and hockey player, decided to wear his hockey equipment to the practice, and ran the whole workout with the equipment. Helmet, shoulder pads, gloves and a hockey stick. Simply amazing! I got in an easy 12km run, some strides and stretching as I was slated to race the Halloween Haunting 5km the next day...

Saturday night was full of spooky halloween fun with friends and then I got to shoot the debauchery at a local club. It was fun being the photographer when everyone wanted their pictures taken.

Halloween Haunting 5km Race Recap

And now, the piece de resistance. I ran my first 5km road race in at least 7 years. I ran a fun run 5km in the summer of 2008, clocking in at 22:30. A far cry from my speedy days, but I was also just getting back into this running business. I was really curious to see what I could crank out today as I've been training steadily for the past 4 months and I have been getting stronger and faster at our recent workouts.

I arrived at Springbank park with the very best cheerleader I could ever ask for, Melanie. Wes, another amazing cheerleader showed up well before the race to cheer me on too! How blessed am I? VERY! I quickly picked up my race package and timing chip, but I went and forget to pick up my long sleeve shirt that came with the package. I blame the person who was tending to me. Unless 5km runners don't get a shirt? Hmmm...

Regardless I got myself ready and went out for an easy 4km run. My legs didn't particularly feel sharp, or dull, but I was a little worried I wouldn't have the speed I needed to crack my goal time of 20:00 over 5km. I logged in 4 easy strides, some stretching and spent a few seconds being star struck by the sight of Matt Brunsting doing some strides just ahead of me. *Swoon*.

I met up with some teammates of mine and the announcers call the 5km/10km runners to the line for the race. I stuck around the front, not toeing the line just yet as they told us 'elite' (hah) runners that we should wait here if we're planning on going sub 20:00 for 5km (or sub 35:00 for 10km). I felt so special, but as I was just planning on hitting 20:00, wondering if I really belonged with the bigger boys.

I toed the lined and tried to activate my nike+ pedometer, but the darn thing wouldn't work. I look down at my shoe and I realize what happened. I forgot to put my chip on my racing flats after my warmup. DAMN IT. So I quickly realize that I'm just going to have to go with my gut on this one and quickly come to terms with it and calm myself down.  Then a few seconds later the starter asks the timing guys for a 30 second warming prior to the gun going off, and I jumped on that. 30 seconds? I can run and get my chip from Melanie in plenty time. And I did, but not after scaring my team mates. I made it back with 15 seconds to spare and we were off!

0km to 2km

I know this course so well and I knew the first 1km would be fast as most of it was downhill and I used this to my advantage to unfurl a little more without any fear of digging too deep. There were tons of runners around me at this point and I had to pay special attention to not get boxed in just before the long downhill section at the 800m mark.

I crossed the 1km marker at 3:33 and thought to myself, dayum, that is fast. Actually, I said it out loud too. I still felt great, and I should have, it was my first km, and I wanted to see what I could do coming up to the 2km marker and use that to gauge where I'd take the pace from here on in. The 2nd km marker was just atop the first uphill and when I crossed it feeling great and seeing that my split was at 7:05 I knew I had managed to keep my pace from the 1st km into the second.

2km to 4km

These were actually fun kms to run, and this surprised me. At this point another runner latched on to me and we chatted about the race, the fact the 3rd marker said 9km and his goal for the 10km race. The fact I was able to chat while racing says quite a few things about the effort I was exerting at the time.

I came by 3km in about 10:40 and was still feeling amazingly good. Light on my feet. Tall through my head. In great spirits. The turn around mark was at about the 2mile mark and I got to cheer on every team mate that I ran past. Nate, Matt, Tim, Ian, Leslie, David and cheered them all on as best as I could. It actually helped boost my energy levels as when we turned around, we'd be heading up a 300m hill we had just descended. This would be the last killer hill, and frankly, the only 'real' hill on the loop, so I attacked it with gusto. I felt a little spent coming off of it, but knowing I would only have about 1.2km left I was ready to attack every step I took.

4km to 5km

At this point, I didn't even check my 4km split. I wasn't trying to balance effort with capacity, it was time to throw down and leave it all behind me. The runner I was running with for the first 4km gave me a few words of encouragement which I took and ran away with. The last 400m are fun, except for the short and steep uphill you get to negotiate with a 90 degree right turn into the last 150m straight. I caught a glimpse of the clock as I neared it and I couldn't believe it.

I finished with a time of 18:02 for 5km. Absolutely astounding. If you recall, I was aiming to crack 20:00 for the race and well, to say I cracked it would be quite an understatement. I smashed it to pieces. Not only that, but my best 5km of all time is just below 17 minutes, I'm within reach already!

I ended up finishing with an average pace of 3:36/km, and with an overall placing of 7th. I was 3rd in my age group, with the top 2 being other London Runner Distance Club teammates.

I'm ecstatic to say the least and I rewarded myself with a lovely bottle of wine and some homemade pesto pasta. Now I'm relaxing and trying not to fall asleep. And now I get to update my About Page with a new, recent PB (aka post-post-collegiate PB).

For full event details, click here:


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