This past Sunday I competed in my first ever 10 km race.
I guess now is as good a time as any to let you know (my few loyal readers) that I’m training for the Ottawa Half Marathon on May 27th.
I will have a full post up next week with details about why I decided to do this, training, meals, etc.
My mom and I are both going to be running the half (we’re loosely following Hal Higdon’s Novice 2 plan), and it’s suggested that you run a 5km and/or a 10km race at some point during your training. Neither my mom nor I are big fans of 5km races, so we decided to race the 10km instead.
The Alive to Strive 10km race fit perfectly into our training schedule, so we decided to give it a go.
Now let’s get to that recap!
The day before:
I had big plans to go to the gym early Saturday morning, but changed my plans once I woke up and realized I was having a hard time walking around the house. I may have slightly overdone it on my training, which resulted in extreme soreness of my lower body, and a nagging pain in my right calf muscle. I decided to lay low for the rest of the day and only did some light yoga at home to help loosen my legs up.
Properly fuelling the day before a race is always important, so I made sure dinner was packed with carbs, protein, and lots of veggies. I barbecued marinated tofu and mixed veggies, and cooked an abundance of quinoa on the stove. I didn’t take a picture of my bowl, but it was a layer of quinoa, veggies, and a lot of delicious tofu. Here are a few pictures I took with my iPhone while I was cooking.
Enough veggies to feed an army!
Remember how I said cheesy tofu was my favourite tofu of all time? Well I have a new favourite. I marinated this batch of tofu for an hour and then grilled them on the barbecue for about 15 minutes. It’s out of this world good. Don’t worry, the recipe will be coming your way shortly.
After dinner I did some more stretching and then it was off to bed.
I woke up shortly after 8, had my daily mug of lemon water, then started eating my breakfast…overnight oats of course!
Fun fact: I always eat my oats in a reusable plastic container. It doesn’t matter if I’m eating at home or on the go, I rarely ever use a bowl. I find it so much easier to mix the oats in a container. Weird right?
After breakfast I changed into my running clothes, grabbed my water bottle, iPod, and bib and headed out the door. The race was held at a local track that only has one relatively small parking lot, so we parked in a mall parking lot and walked the kilometre to the start of the race.
We arrived at the start line with 20 minutes to spare before the scheduled 10 o’clock start, and it was clear that they were running a little bit behind schedule. I really didn’t mind because in typical Maddie fashion I wasn’t really ready. (I didn’t have my bib on, my hair wasn’t up in a ponytail, I hadn’t changed out of my warm up pants, and I had yet to tie up my running shoes). And I was a bundle of nerves. Apparently I was very fidgety and hyper because my mom had to tell me to relax and calm down. It doesn’t matter how small or big the race is, I ALWAYS get extremely nervous. I was kind of glad that the start had been pushed back a bit; it gave me time to calm down and settle my nerves.
At around 10:20 all the 10km runners were called to the start for a light stretching session. I remember looking around and thinking, “This is it? Where is everyone?” If I had to guess, I would say that there were probably less than 100 of us running. I was expecting a huge mass of people, but as this was my first 10k, it was the perfect size race for a newbie like me.
My mom and I started out near the back of the pack (I’m in white, she’s in red). Our plan was to run together at the start and then if either one of us wanted to pull ahead we could. In all the running races I’ve completed (not very many) I always tend to get caught up in the moment and go out faster than I really should. I pulled ahead of my mom after about 400 metres and didn’t see her until the turn around point. Ooops!
I asked my sister to take a picture of us just after the start because I told her that was the only time she was going to see me smiling. Go us!
I don’t really have much to say about the first 8km of the race. I was in a great deal of pain, but that’s nothing new. For the past 4 or five years I’ve experienced pain and numbness whenever I walk quickly or run. The pain occurs only in my lower legs, and it feels like there is a ton of pressure building up, and like my legs are going to explode. I’ve had a few tests and MRIs done over the past few years, and all signs point to Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome. There is still one more extremely invasive test that I need to have done before I can know for sure that that’s what the problem really is. That being said, after about 7-8 km of running, the pain, for whatever reason, usually goes away. So the whole race I kept thinking to myself, “The pain will go away eventually. You’re almost at the 8 km mark. It will get better.” And sure enough, just after the 8 km mark, the pain went away. Which meant that I could pick up my pace for the last 2 km of the race.
There was also a 5 km race that started shortly after we did, so when I reached their turn around point, there was a huge mass of people to weave through. Surprisingly though, that didn’t affect me at all. If anything I was motivated to go faster and pass a whole bunch of them! The last 2 km had two rather long inclines, but I’m one of those runners that speeds up on inclines or hills; the less time I have to spend on them the better! For the majority of the race I had been following closely behind a lady and a guy who looked to be about my age, and I passed them both on the first incline and didn’t see them the rest of the race! (It’s all about the small victories). After the second incline we had 500 metres to go, which led us off the main road and onto a grass trail for 100 metres, and then we (finally) finished with 200 metres to go on the track. After running on the road for so long, the track felt spongy as soon as I got onto it. It was definitely a nice feeling on my legs! As I made my way onto the track I felt like I was had reached my limit and a quick look at my heart rate monitor told me that my heart rate was at 208! I attempted to sprint to the finish line, but I’m not really sure I was actually sprinting. I pretty much had nothing left in me.
I wore my heart rate monitor for the run, and here are my stats (my monitor is programmed to my age, height, and weight):
Average heart rate: 182 bpm (beats per minute)
Maximum heart rate: 208 bpm
Calories burned: 987
I’d say that’s a pretty good workout!
The final stretch to the finish! The guy in front and all the people behind me were in the 5 km race, but I was not about to let that little girl beside me beat me!
I did it! If you look closely at the time on the left, it says I finished in 27 minutes. Not bad eh?! Well, to keep an extremely long and frustrating story short, my mom and I (and a whole bunch of other people), never received a timing chip. We went to pick up our race kits on Saturday (the day before), and we were never told that we had to pick the chips up the morning of the race. We just assumed there were no chips because our bibs had a tear off on them which said they were for timing. So, I ran my first 10 k and I didn’t get an official time. While this might not be a big deal to some people, it certainly was to me. I don’t get to compete in many races anymore (the last time I competed at a swim meet was over three years ago), and it just would have been nice to have an official time. However, I was able to figure out using my iPod and Nike+ that my time was somewhere between 51-52 minutes. My goal was to finish in the 52 minute mark, so I’m pretty happy with my time. My mom was roughly two-three minutes behind me so we figure that she finished in the 54 to 55 range.
After checking the results we realized that had we had a time, we both would’ve placed first in our age categories. Double bummer!
On the drive home I replenished with a bottle of water mixed with Vega’s chocolate Performance Protein powder. I used to really dislike Vega protein powders, but I gave them another try after they changed their formula and packaging, and I love the new formula!
My mom and I ‘celebrated’ with a late brunch of homemade chocolate chip pancakes, and vanilla soy lattes from our local coffee shop.
I put on my CW-X compression socks and took a long nap for the rest of the afternoon.
Although I didn’t get an ‘official’ time, I still had a great race and am pleased with my result. And I still do have a time, or a rough idea of one. I guess I’ll just have to beat it next time to really make it official!