Monday, April 23, 2012

Official Results from The Bow River Race

41:12 and in 100th place out of 109 5k runners:)

So the official time was about 6 seconds faster than what I had. Works for me!!

It was a great race. I would definitely do that one again. Next year, I will shoot to be in the top 75:)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A second race in the bag

I completed my second 5k race this morning, this one was a solo race, as my partner was unable to attend. I was pretty excited about this one, being the weather was like night and day from last weeks race, and I was feeling pretty relaxed and ready for it.

We got to the race with a few moments for me to warm up, and scan the crowd for a fellow runner and friend, Deb who was planning to shatter her own 5k personal best.

I left Deb at the front of the starting line, and I took my place near the rear of the pack, or the "Less Fast" runners.

Soon we were off and the fast runners took off. From my vantage point I was able to see just how large this group was and it was quite incredible to see how many people were racing.

It wasn't too long in before I was left in the dust by the pack. It was nice though. No one really around me, no one trying to overtake me, just me and the pavement. I just paced myself, and listened to my music as I enjoyed the scenery on the river pathway.

It was probably just after the 2km marker that the lead runners were making their way back to the finish, and boy were they flying by. It wouldn't be until they were handing out the awards that I found out the leader took the 5k with an astounding 16:56ish time. And here I thought last week's winner was fast at just over 20 minutes!!

It was about seven or eight runner passing me the other way when I saw Deb going hard for her run. Gave a little cheer to her and plugged along with my own race. It was encouraging in a way to see everyone passing me the other way. It somehow drove me to keep going and push a little harder.

When I finally reached the turnaround point, I got to see just how many people were still behind me, and just as I had suspected... very few. But I was ok with that. I had kind of figured based on the number of people running, that I would be one of the few beginners, and a slow one at that. Again, I was ok with it. I wasn't there for anyone else but myself. I was running for me and it was just another weekend run, this just happening on the river path.

Soon I finally passed the 4k mark and could see the bridge I had left to cross to make my way to the finish. As I crossed the bridge in the last 500 meters or so, I saw my mother at the foot of the bridge, waiting to see me. She was able to snap off a few action shots of me running along.

Finally heading down the last few meters

I crossed the line.. 5.07km in 41:18

My time would have been just under 41 minutes for a 5k even , and that was fine by me. I wasn't planning on setting any PB's at this point. I'm just running for fun and enjoyment:)

The nice part was winning a door prize at the end... A nice new running hat. Something I was *just* telling my husband this morning that I needed to go find. Good thing too because somewhere along the route I lost my hairband...

It was a nice race, a beautiful morning run and a prize to boot.

Good day:)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Post Race Report

 Yesterday was my first 5k race. I would have posted then but things have been a bit hectic the last 24 hours and I haven't had a chance to compose my thoughts. Now I finally have a working computer and I have figured out how to upload my photos...

First Bib Number

Yesterday morning I woke feeling good, relaxed and ready to race.

Until I opened my window and saw the snow all over the ground. Yeah, not my idea of a fun time for sure. But after a few moments of "Oh Crap" and such, I put it behind me and still knew I had a race ahead of me, and this would be still a great thing to do, even in the snow.

The kids were all packed up, extra jacket, shoes, socks, water, gloves, you name it, I had everything I could think of to make it through this race. We got to the race location and my partner arrived right behind us. Since neither of us had ever done this sort of thing before, we had no idea what to expect crowd wise, runner wise or anything. So it was a bit of a shock to see that it was not crazy busy at all. In fact there might have been a handful of spectators there, with the rest being all runners. I was worried that I would be under dressed wearing a t-shirt and my normal yoga jacket. I knew if I had anything heavier on, I would be in trouble while running. Needless to say there were runners there wearing nothing but a tank top and shorts.

I quickly got over my "fear" of not dressing appropriately.

While waiting around I just crowd watched and saw the walks of life that were participating in the race. I could only imagine those that were half naked, were seasoned pros, knowing how hot they get when running. The ones that were fully clothed, wore everything from light jackets, to running jackets, to vest and t-shirts. Some wearing toques, some wearing nothing but headphones. I started out feeling very self conscience looking at all of these runners, but after a few moments, I realized I was one of them. I blended in the crowd with everyone else. I was able to smile at other runners as they passed by, doing their warmup walks, having a chat. I was able to wear my bib proud, knowing that I was a runner and I was embarking on my first real race.

We were waiting until the last few minutes to head out and take our place behind the starting line. Since there was a 10k race going on as well. they got to take off first, with the 5k runners about 5 minutes behind. We nervously walked out and started moving around, getting our legs warm and our heart rates moving. We said goodbye to our husbands and kids, took our "before" picture and got ready to line up.

Before we set off on the race

The 10k racers were off, and now it was our turn. We watched as the clock started getting closer to the 5 minute mark and then our turn to take off. We decided to stick towards the back of the pack so we didnt have to wade through people.. or so people didn't have to wade through us more or less.

Suddenly they were counting us down, and then we were off. We crossed that starting line and began our run. It took a few minutes to get out of the crowd of people, even though there wasn't a ton of us running. Soon we had an open area to run in, with a few people in front of us. We found our stride and plugged along. To be honest it was the first time I had started a run and I didn't once think about trying to push through that first 5 minutes until I found my groove. It took a minute to get my breathing in line, and my heart rate under control, but I didn't feel like it was a "hard start" so to speak.

Soon we were just running along, with the snow and slight wind blowing in our face. I had to remove my gloves and sunglasses pretty early on. I was thankful for my light jacket, even if there were a few wet patches developing from the snow.

Our race took us down the river path, underneath a bridge, over top the bridge, across to the other side, back down, around the bottom and back on top to cross back over again, then back on the same straight path to the finish. There were a few race coordinators along the route to guide us the right way and give encouragement. Having never run with people around, it was a different experience to have these people yell "You can do it! You are getting there!!" One of the coolest things was seeing an older couple pull their car over to the side of the road, get out and stand at the pathway cheering us on. They don't know us from Adam, yet they took the time to cheer for complete strangers. That was probably one of the coolest things I had ever got the experience.

We came up to the bridge portion and had to slow pace down a bit to go up the hill to the roadway, and then cross over, directly running into the snow and wind. We just kept saying that at least on the other side, it would be behind us! As we were coming up the other side and ready to cross back over one last time, the race lady shouted " You are halfway done!! Good job!!"

Finally we were back on the river path, making our way to the finish line. It was then we noticed the race markers showing how many km had passed. Funny for us we noticed the 8km marker for the 10 runners. Least we knew we had 2 km left to go.

My partner keeps a bit faster of a pace than I do. We work really well together because I slow her down, and she pushes me faster. She was running a few paces ahead of me, keeping her own stride while still urging me to push further and keep going. I finally yelled to her to run ahead, get her own personal best and do a fabulous time, but she refused.

So together we run.

In the last 1.5 km we were getting passed by the 10km runners making their way back to the finish line. We had a little smile, knowing that was kind of cool to see them running by. Most of them part of the half naked crowd of runners we saw at the beginning. They are doing 10k faster than we can do a 5k.. Crazy, but still so awe-inspiring.

Finally we were zoning in on the last kilometer. I had to remind myself to "just keep swimming" and keep my breathing long and deep. I knew I could do this. I knew I could cross that finish and have a good time. My partner asked what I thought our time would be. I estimated 41ish. She said she would be thrilled with anything under 42. So on we ran, waiting to see what the clock would say.

Finally we were in the last hundred yards. We turned the final corner and could see the finish in front of us. My partner yelled to go for it, push for the end, so we picked up or speed and sprinted for it.. My partner yelling at me " now is the time, push for it! you can do it" We noticed the race clock as we got closer showing 44:xx. I yelled at her, 44 minutes??? holy crap we are slow!! All the while sprinting to cross over. It was then I noticed my partner was not beside me.

She was behind me.

My partner, who could easily run faster than me, had been 3 or more paces ahead of me the entire race, had deliberately pulled back and allowed me to cross the finish line first. A second ahead of her.

Crossing the finish line

The officials were pulling off our tickets from our bibs, and our husbands and kids were there waiting for us. We unfortunately let the thrill of the run take over, and neither one of us "remembered" to have a proper cool down (definitely noticed later that night)
Oh well.
Then we talked about the time. 44 minutes?? how is that possible?? We were way faster than that I was sure. I hadn't run 44 minutes since my very first 5k about 5 weeks ago.

Then it hit me. We started at the 5 minute mark. That meant we were under a 40 minute run!

I had done it. I had run an official race. From start to finish, no walk breaks, no nothing.
And ...


The "After" Pic. Our nice red faces

We walked back inside to wait for the official results to be posted and was amazed to see a slew of sponsors handing out their products to the race participants.
We loaded up on free vitamin water, "Holy Crap" granola cereal, yogurt tubes, yop drinks, applesauce pouches and cookies. This was definitely worth my $30 entry fee!! We had no idea there would be such great things at the end. But we realized after, because it was a "Whole Health" challenge, it made sense to show off healthy products to everyone. We were both pretty happy with the granola alone, since that stuff is like $12 a bag (we both scored two):)

Since neither of us had done this before, we had no idea what to expect when it came to waiting for results. After about 20 minutes we could see runners starting to leave, but had no idea where the  results were posted.
Finally I found the paper on a pole outside of the Running Room.. I anxiously scanned for our names, and finally found mine:


I was in shock! I had taken about 2 minutes off of my time, and pace was under 8 minutes a km.
Ho-ly Crap.

Our Official results!!

It was one of the best feelings in the world to cross that finish line. 4 months ago when I began my C25K journey, this was the lofty goal, something to shoot for and hope to actually achieve. Not only did I achieve it, I cut a huge portion of time out of my run, something I hadn't expected to do.

I began back in January barely able to run 45 seconds at a time, and here I was approximately 16 weeks later completing my first 5k race. Not only that, I completed it with a wonderful friend, who pushed me from the very beginning, knowing I could do it, knowing I had it in me to do it, and never once left me in the dust.

I have had a ton of support from friends, family and my online "family" but April was my support every run. And for that, I am thankful for her.

I have officially signed up for two more races so far this season, with my next one being next weekend. I will be running that one alone, so it will be very interesting to see how my time will be without my partner pushing me to go faster. I look forward to racing my two races, with the possibility of maybe one or two more after that.

But for now I will relish in my first race, my post race glow and the knowledge that I am in fact, a runner.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Day before the race.

It is Friday morning, the day before my first official 5k race. There is an inch of snow on the ground in my backyard, and the weather for tomorrow is showing rain mixed with snow.

Let me tell you how excited I am about it.

I am still really looking forward to tomorrow, but my excitement is clouded with aprehension about running in snow or pouring rain. I am not a seasoned runner. In fact I don't own any sort of clothing that will prepare me for either condition. I have a light cotton yoga jacket that i have been using for all my runs. This has served me well, but it will definitely chill me to the bone if I run in it while all wet. I have a winter toque. I don't own a ballcap. I am a little concerned in what I am going to run in if its horribly wet out tomorrow. My last 5 or so races have helped me work a bit on my time, and pace myself properly. My partner and I have had some really good runs, and a few really crappy ones. If tomorrow is crappy, at least we will have a crappy run together.
Our time has been coming in right around the 41-42 minute range, so if we can run under 42 minutes, I will call it a huge success. In all honesty, I will be thrilled just to cross the finish line knowing I didn't stop for a walk break.

I pick up my race kit tonight, and I have no idea what is supposed to be in it. It's like getting a present I suppose. Maybe there is some free goodies in there? I like free shit:)

The funny thing is even with the shitty weather, the thought of not running tomorrow never crossed my mind. Ok.. maybe for a split second I thought "I think I would rather be in bed" but the thought quickly passed and regardless, I am excited for tomorrow. In the end, its about 45 minutes for me. While definitely not the greatest of conditions, It will be a story at the end. And that is what it is all about.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Hills are my Bitch!

It's Sunday, so that means a nice morning run with my Partner. This was the first time in a while that we got to run in her community. My area is more or less flat, which makes it perfect for a beginner like me, or for someone hoping to work on increasing their speed. But my partner's area is all challenge. She lives at the top of a hill.. A nice steep hill.

But we wanted to challenge ourselves to do it. We started this morning off hoping that we could just finish a single loop of her community, which was 2.5km. For myself, I had no expectations of completing a full 5k here, just because the hills are brutal and I have never run her loop solid before. And we both really wanted to just run, no walks, no breaks. So if that meant only half of our normal run, then that was fine.

We started off with our warmup walk and started our way downhill. Halfway down, I turned on the GPS and off we ran. Within the last half of the first kilometer, uphill we began. This was by far the hardest run I had ever done. I know that isn't saying much since Ive only been running a short time, and I only have about 10 full 5k's under my belt, but it was difficult. I made sure to slow my pace down, breath deeply and just concentrate on keeping my feet moving and my breath even.

To help add a bit more distance to our short loop, my partner swung us in an out of a few cul-de-sacs and then into a little community loop, going downhill and then circled back uphill. Little did we know just how much more this detour was adding into our distance.

I will admit, I had two points along our run where my feet were barely moving after than a fast walk. I almost stopped the running motion twice.


We pushed through, both of us exhausted from the hill climbs, but knowing the last third of our run was all downhill. We passed by my partner's house and I think both of us had a very slight pause in our head, wanting to stop right then and there. But we didn't.

Downhill we went to finish out on a high note. For our last 150 feet or so, we both just broke into a sprint. Both of us squealing in delight in how great it felt to let our legs stretch out fully. It felt wonderful!!
We got to the path marking the entrance to the ravine.. our end point, and I grabbed my phone to see how far we came.
I asked my partner what she thought, and her guess was barely 3km. I thought between 3.5-4km.

4.67km ... 38.51mins.

Holy shit!

Had we known just how close we were to 5k, we would have just ran into the ravine to finish it off, but by then we had both hit our level of exhaustion, and it won out.

I know our time is a little skewed due to our all out sprint at the end, but still. It was a pace 4 seconds/km faster than our last run together.. 12 seconds faster than my run on Wednesday.

While I was cursing her name all through our run this morning, I was definitely glad we did it and pushed through it together. It was by far the best run I had done.

Thanks A