Sunday, May 13, 2007


6483. That was my number today in the Forzani's Mother's Day Run and Walk. I entered into the 5K run. I thought that would be a sensible way to start.

I'd heard it was a pretty big run, but I was surprised when they announced that there were 13,000 runners and walkers! I ran into Karen with her daughter at the start line. We were separated before the race even began and though I looked for them at the end, I didn't find them again. Before the race Karen said to me, "Oh, you need a purple heart!" And she reached down, undid a shoelace and took a clear purple bead off her shoelace and gave it to me. I then put it on my shoelace.

"For having the courage to start," she said. I gave her a hug and thanked her for the inspiration.

I also happened upon, and said hello to Dawn during the run, whom I met last year when I volunteered at the Calgary marathon.

Well, I think I can chalk this up to a good learning experience for a first run. All I've ever heard about races says, "Don't start too fast. Everyone gets all excited, starts out too fast and then loses steam."

I also wasn't sure where to place myself in the pack. Even though I train with a Garmin and I know my pace pretty well, my usual runs are quite a bit longer. I thought maybe I could do this one a bit faster, but I wasn't sure. So I put myself in with the folks at the 8 min / km marker.

There were hoards and hoards of people. Karen was right when she said that the first couple of km are spent weaving in and out of people. I tried to hold back, not go too fast, but even so, it was hard to actually run. There were just too many people walking and jogging slowly. I eventually stuck to the sides of the road and tried to keep a fairly even pace.

At the halfway mark I knew I could speed up. I felt like I hadn't even really begun to warm up! (It was just a few degrees above freezing here today and the day started off with rain, so you can imagine the cool, damp conditions.)

So, I thought, "Screw it! It's only 5 KM. I'm just going to go for it and see what I can do from here."

There was still lots of weaving in and out of people, but I didn't try to hold back any more. I just kept going. My paced picked up considerably in the second half of the run.

I don't know what my official chip time was, but my Garmin told me that I did it in 31:08. That's an average pace of 9:58 min mile or 6:11 min km. I guess I didn't need to be so far back in the crowd, but since I've never done a 5 km road race before, I didn't know.

I finished a little disappointed because I felt like I had not given it my all. It seemed like it was over before I even got warmed up. At the same time, there were so many people, it was hard to negotiate the foot traffic and I'm unaccustomed to moving through such a big crowd. On the other hand, I am happy because it is the first time that I've recorded averaging a sub-10 minute mile. Ever.

I'm not sure I could sustain that over a long-distance run, but it is a nice way to start off my racing endeavours.

At the finish line my friends, Loreto and Gord, were there with cameras (pictures to be posted in a few days) and some warm clothes, which I was very thankful for. We went for breakfast and talked mostly about training the entire time, which was a nice break from the academic head space I have been in these past few weeks, with my exams at hand.

And speaking of distractions from exams... I think I'm going to poke around on line and see what the next running event will be. I mean... after all, with a time like 31:08, it's just begging me to do another one and get it under half an hour. Don't you think?

Monday update - According to the newspaper, my official chip time was 31:03. I guess I was slow pressing the buttons on my Garmin. ;-) Full race results are available here.


Backofpack said...

Yes, I think so! I also think you should poke around for a 10K - I don't like 5K's for exactly the reason you stated. Too short, hardly get going and it's over. 10K is a nice distance where you can put in a solid effort. Give it a try!

You got a great time for your first time out and especially in that crowd - way to go!

RunnerGirl said...

Congrats on your first 5K completion... you did wonderfully!

Everyone likes different distances - so you may like the 10K better. Give one a try - I think that you will be pleasantly suprised!

Way to go!

Robb said...

This has been a long time coming for you. The remarkable part, as Karen suggested to you at the start, was that you had the courage to start. Good on you. Great that you've overcome so much.

5K's are intense. I'm proud of you.

Downhillnut said...

GREAT JOB SARAH! or the Run Walk n' Roll would be excellent follow-up races for you. Not too big, close to home, on familiar paved pathways, friendly & flat. You'll go much faster with less traffic, either 5k or 10k.

I personally like 10ks better (when I'm not with the kiddo) because I feel I get more race for my money, without the big training obligations of a half m or full.

ipodmomma said...

well done!!! looking forward to hearing of the next race...

Downhillnut said...

Oh, and if you do either of the above races I mentioned, let me know and I'll come cheer :)

Anvilcloud said...

Congratulations to you.

Misty said...

Congrats to you! It was a spectacular event and enormous response of people.

I was registered and attended with my two girls (9&11).

I enrolled in the 5K walk because I knew my girls and I would be at different paces if we ran and I wanted to finish together.

I saw a group of people dressed as super heros. I stopped to talk to them a bit before the race. Was speaking to Flash and asked whether or not he was running or walking. He said he was walking because he didn't think it was fair to the rest if he ran.

I crossed the start line at 9:16am (because of the enormity of the crowds - dancing my way that first block to the start line because there was no "walk" room. It was all good though, great tunes to get the muscles moving.

We were speed walkers and had to restrain ourselves a lot not to run. The clock read 1hr 5min when we crossed the finish line, but with the first 16 min spent before the start line and about 5 min to take off some of the layers we had, I suppose we speed walked it in about 40-45 minutes. The turn spot was near my old work building so I knew the terrain.

The girls liked it so much that they'll join me in future races. (This was my 3rd race as an adult. 1 in 1996 at age 19, 1 in 2005 at age 29 and now at age 30.5).

Next time, we'll run, so we'll have to put in a little training - running is definitely a lot harder than speed walking (takes more lung training).

robtherunner said...

Congratulations, Sarah! We all second guess our time if we start slow and finish fast, but sometimes the slow start is what allows us to finish fast. You already know my theory about going out as fast as possible for as long as possible until you feel sick, but you might not want to try that for awhile.

Take care.

Sarah said...

Nice job! I think you ran smashingly. : ) Its hard to get in a groove with so many people. Can't wait to hear about your next race!

angie's pink fuzzy said...

wow, way to go, that's awesome!!!

Anonymous said...

I loved 10ks once I moved up from the 5k.

panasonic massage chairs

~concrete angel~ said...

Hi Sarah -

Don't feel too bad for not pushing hard enough in a race w/ tons of people, especially your first race. Now you've finished a 5K, and can go from there. If you want to let it rip on the next one, you can...and w/ less people you can certainly get a PR. It should be exciting time; you can learn about yourself, test your limits, find how you race best, etc.

Congrats again!! joan