1 Weekend, 2 Personal Bests…

Quick summary: Saturday morning, OPG 5km run, won it again somehow, drove to Ottawa right afterwards.  Sunday morning, Army 1/2 marathon, set new personal best for the half.  Awesome weather all around!


Not so short version:

I signed up for my company 5km run at the last minute, thinking that it was ludicrous to run both the 5km and half marathon back-to-back on the same weekend.  I had signed up for the Army run months ago, and I’d be wasting my money because my time would undoubtedly be affected.  Or would it?  My well-experienced colleague says that it’s fine to do a high intensity run beforehand, just so long as it’s not an endurance run.

This turned out to be a very busy weekend indeed.

With our team speed training in my pocket, I felt confident about running a 5km distance, especially knowing that most of the competitive runners were doing the 10km distance.  When I got to the Sunnybrook Park start line on Saturday morning, I recognized many familiar faces from the combined Hydro companies.  Especially that of the girl who came in 2nd place behind me last year, and it was a very close second.  This year I had my work cut out for me, as she was indeed older now, and still about half my age.

We were off!  I strangely managed to lead the entire pack for a good distance, short of a kilometer.  I remember that I did the exact same thing the first time I ran this race, but I quickly faded within 30 seconds.  Thank goodness it was different this time.

The 5km people turn around at a 3km checkpoint whereas the 10km runners continue on.  Yes, I was the first one to turn around!  I saw the girl when I did the complete 180 turnaround and I was probably 15-20 seconds ahead.  I had trouble downing the water from the cups, and I probably lost a few seconds there.

From the checkpoint there was only 2km to go, yet I was feeling oddly aloof.  I bee lined towards the finish line feeling strong, and as I kept checking over my shoulder, I saw that she wasn’t really gaining on me.

1km to go.  Still, she was still a fair distance from me, so I started to slow down.  In the back of my mind, I knew that I still had my run tomorrow, so I didn’t want to overdo it.  As the finish line came into sight, I simply coasted across the finish line, but strangely enough, the clock timer was showing a stuck time of precisely 20:00 minutes!  Doh!

This OPG/Hydro One Fun Run is a very well funded race, especially because they ask for absolutely no participation fees.  We had chip timing for the first time ever this year, food and prizes for everyone, medals and trophies for the winners, and even draw prizes.  I guess their timer was just bugging out.  It started to work a little while after.

The girl came from behind me soon after and we exchanged pleasantries.  She stop watched her own time and said that she came in at 19:53, so I guess that I came in a little before that.  Wow!  Under 20 minutes.  I didn’t think that was possible for me.  My legs started to feel really tired at 3.5km.

As much as I wanted to stay for the awards ceremony, I had plans for dim sum with my parents and fiance, who came to support me for the race.  Then it was off to Ottawa almost immediately.

Hints for a better 5km:

  • More high-energy tempo runs between 3-5km will help with getting the legs used to it.


Army run race time!

Awesome shirt!  The expo was reportedly very small, but we got a wicked long sleeve shirt from the SWAG.  The weather was simply amazing.  The 5km runners started at 8am while the 1/2 started at 9am.  I had two friends running the 5km.

I positioned myself in the Orange Corral (3rd highest), and the gun went off!  I was armed with two GU gels, and I recalled the article I read earlier – the key to a fast half is to start slowly.  There were lots of people for this run, and I was stuck in a good pack for a kilometer or two.  This assisted with the slow start.

Far too many negative thoughts come into my head as I run.  “Did I do enough LSD’s?”, “Why are there so many kilometers in a half marathon?”, “Will my legs fail again at 18km?”  Sucks.  Daily and Weekly practice runs help to build with the mental confidence that comes with long distance running perils.

I continued to pass people 5-6 km in, and it was time to take my first half gel.  I’m still having trouble drinking fluids at the water station.  My laboured breathing is an apparent hinderance.

I make it to 10km feeling good.  The mental halfway hump between 10-11km is a great one to overcome for  the half marathon.  Only 10.55 more km past the hump!

I managed to keep my legs moving all the way through up until now.  The memories of my legs failing out at 18km for my last half marathon careen through my brain.  Rats.  At 11km, I ready my gel pack for another hit, but then it flies out of my hands!  I refuse to stop to retrieve it, as it is already several metres behind me, and it really kills my rhythm.  I still have a fresh gel pack, so I rip into that one and keep push on.

15km!  I’m starting to feel it more mentally than physically, but I think that my legs are affected either way.  I’m start to slow a bit, but I keep visions of Peky & her friends in my head because they promised to be able to cross my path at two points near the finish line.  I could not disappoint them.  I finish the rest of my gels at 17km and hope that it’s enough.

18km!  I’m nearly there.  If my legs weren’t tiring my now, then my brain certainly was.  3km is no easy feat when you’re tired, but I managed to persevere because I just passed by my personal cheering squad!  I feel an immediate boost.

We turn around the bend along the Rideau Canal, a place that I have run countless times before.  Yet, this is it really counts.  I finally pass by the 20km mark, and there’s no stopping now.  I am utterly surprised that my legs have kept moving all the way up until this point.  Many of my fellow runners were quickly chipping away at the final km at an increased pace and I tried to stay in the game.  I knew that the finish line would be in plain view soon, and I gave it all that I had.

BEEP.  My foot crossed the electronic mat and I……..am……..done!  The clock overhead showed that I finished at a good time.  I pray that my chip time would be much better.

I grab the post race eats and quickly find my cheering squad.  My fellow 5km runners both set personal bests as well (it was their first 5km run!), and shortly after, they helped me to find my time posted on the wall to be 1:34:52.6.  Yowee!!!  Sub 1:35:00!  Boston pace!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  My legs hate me for running two races in one weekend, but my brain is firing off proverbial fireworks to celebrate.  Now can I hold this pace for an entire 42.2km distance?  Probably not.  At least…not yet.  😛

2 responses to this post.

  1. Wow congratz to you! All your efforts have paid off. Maybe set another higher goal for yourself, possibly the entire 42.2km distance…Can I count on you with this? Good luck to your next race!


    • Posted by Jason on December 23, 2010 at 6:57 pm

      Actually, I’ve bagged 2 full marathons so far! Now my goal is to either qualify for Boston, or simply finish an Ironman. Joiners? 🙂


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