Montreal Oasis 10km Run

Sacre Bleu!  Four 10km runners + one half-marathoner + Montreal Run Weekend = 5 personal bests!
The Labour day long weekend weather really threw us for a turn.  I got to Ottawa on Thursday night in the blistering heat and Friday was no better.  Peky & I went out for a last minute tune up run on Friday morning and the heat was really beating us down.  I could barely eek out a 6km tempo run, as I tried to simulate near my race pace.  Then on Saturday, the cold came.  Nice!
I had high hopes for Montreal to host a well-funded run.  It was platinum sponsored by Oasis, the fruit juice company.  When we got to the expo on Saturday, we were sorely disappointed by the number and quality of vendors.  Even the Running Room was absent!  Mon dieu!  The only saving grace was that the t-shirt co-ordinator was nice enough to let me exchange my medium t-shirt to a large size.  The tech shirts for the Montreal race are indeed nice.
10km start time: 8:45am
1/2 marathon start time: 10:15am
marathon start time: 8:15am
Interesting setup.  The course route has everyone merge along the same finish point in the Stadium de Olympique. 
Peky & I awoke bright and early and squeezed in a short warm-up jog towards the Charlevoix Metro station.  We arrived at the start line with good time, and I did my pre-race business at a nearby McDonald’s washroom.  Men in line: 2.  Women in line: 30.  😛
While waiting in line I quickly downed a GU roctane  about 15 minutes before the gun went off.  Peky did the same with a GU expresso love.  There were no corral dividers so I scurried near the front of the pack.  When 8:45am came around, it was time to allons-y!  The Sportstats chip counter recorded that my difference in gun and chip time was 1 min 17 seconds!  It really didn’t feel like that when I was revving myself up after the gun went off.  Either way, that bodes well for my chip time.  lol
My right shoe set off my chip recording time and I was off!  I purposely did not arm myself with my GPS watch as I find that checking my times either disheartens me or forces me to run at an ungodly pace.  I tired to rely on my own instincts. 
What the?!?!  There were old people using walking sticks ahead of me!  Parents pushing baby strollers!  Walkers even!!!  We need starting corrals!!!  Yargh!  When I finally reached a clearing in the masses of people, I tried to set out at a strong pace.  My breathing was already laboured but I felt as though I could hold it for a good long while.  I promised myself that if it started to feel too strenuous, then I would slow down my pace.
The first water station came at 3km, and I followed my previous advice by slowly down to a crawl to diligently down as much quality sports drink as I could.  I quickly sped up again and returned to my regular pace.  I don’t know how those elites do it, but they must have training sessions on how to drink fluids!
I passed 5km with a strong heart but so many thoughts were racing in my head.  More training.  More tempo training!  Why can’t I run faster??  I’d better beat my previous time!  The course route was not all that challenging, thank goodness.  We hit a handful of minor grade uphills, but it was compensated with some good downhills, where I let my legs flank the way. 
When I got to the 7km, I started to lose some steam with a long uphill ahead, but thank goodness I challenged myself by sticking to these two faster gents and literally drafted them the entire way.  I think that they were none too pleased having this heavy breathing asian stealing their wind away.  They were both giving each other looks as though I was not welcome to the tea party. 
When we finally reached the apex of the hill just before 8km, I felt a new surge of energy.  Hopefully it was the roctane!  I quickly passed the two gents and gave them a ‘sorry bout that’ hand wave, and they kindly returned the favour as to show good sportsmanship.  I started to pump my legs, hoping that they would carry me just 2000m more towards the finish line.  The Olympic Stadium was easily in sight. 
I downed my last water at the final water station and I gave it my best.  Our interval speed training immediately kicked in and I imagined myself chasing down the bright coloured red pylons, knocking back each interval.  Passing the 9km mark provided me with an immediate adrenalene rush as I pictured my GPS watch giving me the ‘final countdown’.  The final 800m was the best finish I ever had.  We rounded the corner into the majestic Olympic stadium and the crowds began to thicken.  There was a long massive downhill that led into the entrance of the stadium and I let my legs rip.  I’ll bet, though, that I was still not going anywhere near as fast as the elites, but I like to think that I did.  (Psh, as if.)
Once inside the stadium, the air was warm, and you could see the finish line in the distance once you finish the half lap around the outer rim of the stadium.  Burn baby burn!  I felt great.  Many in my running pack were following suit as we sped past the finish line in a great photo-like finish.  I looked up at the clock time and I was disappointed that I only finished below 44 minutes, as I was under the assumption that it only took me mere seconds to reach the start line.  Alas, the race as over!  I was happy.
The medals were very nice and so were the post-race snacks.  It was the 20th anniversary of the Montreal Marathon.  Another 20th anniversary!  Great coincidences.
I quickly booted over to the entrance of the Olympic Stadium to wait for Peky and Vi.  Surprisingly enough, it was Peky who came trotting in first!  I gave her my heartiest cheer and navigated my way back through the crowds to catch her after she crossed the finish line.  She was disheartened to report that she lost a chunk of time simply trying to get her shoe across the electronic finish line as there were so many people creating a bottleneck at the finish line.  Still, she finished with an incredible personal best, 6 minutes faster than her previous.  Leaving her former self nearly a full kilometre behind.
We both decided to wait for Vi at the finish line exit as we expected her to be coming up soon, and surely enough she did.  Her gun and chip time were 10 minutes apart!  Talk about relying on the chip time!  Her boyfriend’s time was an incredible 15 minutes apart.  The stereotypes about Montrealers may be true after all.  🙂
As we waited for Vi’s brother to come in on his first half marathon attempt, we were treated to the big full marathon finish and indeed it was!  The leading man from Columbia was overtaken at literally the last second by 0.3 seconds.  He literally collapsed near the end with dehydration.  The 10km finish seemed to be equally as riveting, as the stats show that the winner won by just 0.1 seconds!
In the end, five personal bests were set.  I walked away with a final chip time of 42:31 for my best 10km yet, Peky recorded her fastest time.  Vi and her boyfriend now have one notch under their belt, and the half marathoner…..well…..can barely walk today.  Good race weekend!

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