Sunday, August 26, 2007

5-mile race report

Today I ran my first 5-mile race, the Robert Hamilton Memorial Road Race.

Quick overview:
Finishing time 47:23

05:53 minutes per km
10.2 km per hour
09:29 minutes per mile
6.3 miles per hour

Races that are clocked in miles are less common in Canada now. This event honours an icon of running in Calgary and that's why the distance has been kept in miles.

Even though I am comfortable thinking in miles (at least when it comes to running), I've never been in a running event measured that way, so I spent a fair amount of time fretting about strategy, pace, and well... all the usual stuff.

I started out by breaking the rules. I wore the new Pearl Izumi shoes. I'd only worn them once on the treadmill last week, but never outside. Karen, who was volunteering today took one look at them and said, "Those look too new for a race." I agreed, but since my feet had not bled in them when I wore them on Thursday, I was willing to risk it.

My room mate, Gord, generously offered to be my support for the day again. He's been a competitive cyclist and so he is extremely tolerant of athletic neurosis. I got to the race and decided that there was no possible way I could wear the commemorative racing socks that came with the race package. (Better than a T-shirt, no?) So, there I stood in the parking lot, changing my socks and worrying about blisters. It's good to have friends who are tolerant of your idiosyncrasies!

It was a small field. There were about 30 runners in the 5-mile race and about double that in the 10-mile event. I was very happy though to see both Karen and Dawn when I got there. I have decided that I very much enjoy the process of getting to know other runners and then meeting them at events - even if you do spot each other in the port-o-pottie line up!

Dawn was not feeling well and I felt for her. I've had numerous training runs that have resulted in a bad gut. For me, GI issues, along with the blisters, have marked my major challenges in this first year of running. I admired her running anyway, despite the grumpy gut.

There was no gun (that I remember?) just a verbal countdown and then someone saying "Go!"

Here's a synopsis of the run for me:


1) I placed in the bottom 1/3 - 22nd out of a total of 30 runners.

2) I did not dress properly. I am used to training in shorts and sleeveless tanks. It was chilly today (about 7 C or 45 F), so I wore a long sleeve shirt. Halfway through I felt like I was suffocating, so I tossed aside all sense of modesty and took it off. Lucky my bra is one of those that (legitimately) doubles as a top, though I'm not in the habit of using it as one. The fact that I am too much of a rookie to know how to dress properly for racing in cooler weather did not make me happy. Clearly, I need more experience...

3) A few times I found myself alone on the course, unable to see anyone in front of me. I didn't like that.

4) My Garmin acted up and didn't start tracking until about 1 km into the run. So my stats are all skewed. I used my posted race finish time to do my calculations today.


1) Great to have Gord there as support, and official photographer. Equally great to see Karen, Dawn and her hubby there, as well. Karen is not only an experienced course marshall, she is a cheerleader par excellance. She had even written messages in chalk on the pathway for Dawn and me. Now, that's what you call encouragement!

2) No bleeding! Blisters, yes. Bleeding, no. Very happy.

3) My gut decided to behave.

4) My knee felt strong the whole way through.

5) I didn't stop to walk. I stopped briefly at the halfway point for a drink of water and shirt removal, but otherwise, I ran the whole way. I was *very* pleased with that.

6) I placed first for women in my age category! I even got a special home made gingerbread runner-man "medal" for it, too! I will devour him as a snack later...

7) I had a personal best for the pace! When I started this season I maxed out my speed training at 10:00 minute/mile, and my longer training runs were averaging about 12 minute/mile. Now to be able to race at a pace of 9:29 minute/mile is a decent improvement and I am very happy about it. Of course, now the bar has been re-set and the goal is to do longer distances at the faster pace.

After I finished and caught my breath, Gord and I found Dawn's hubby and decided to walk the course for a bit to find her. We chatted with Karen for a while and then kept walking. When we found Dawn, I handed my camera to Gord and set out to run with Dawn for a while. As she got closer to the end, I pulled off and she kicked it to the finish, grumpy gut and all! Eastern women and their grit, I tell ya. You gotta admire that.

Overall, I had fun and I was happy at the end. A good run!


Alia said...

Awesome results Sarah! I'm so happy for and proud of you! Good news on the new shoes too -- that must be a relief. :)

ipm said...

wonderful! sounds like you got those shoes just in time!

and you gained great insight and experience!

like that edible medal... yum yum!

well done... :)))

psbowe said...

So cool! You did well despite your nervousness, silly girl. Great pics too.

Backofpack said...

I'm betting you and I would get along great! I would have worried about the socks and changed them as well. Glad the shoes worked out, and so cool that you got to run with Dawn. Great pace too!

Dawn - Pink Chick said...

Awesome job Sarah and congrats again. The medal was yummy. Glad the shoes worked well fo ryou. So what's your next race?

Bast said...

Hoo-rah! Another milestone race under your belt. Speaking of under your belt, how's the great water bottle hunt going???

Turtle Guy said...

Big smile here, Sarah - I'm proud of you! You always break through any road blocks, and it proves that age-old saying that if you want something bad enough, you will find a way to get it.

Sarah said...

Congrats Sarah! That's a great time and pace! And the medal...very cool!

robtherunner said...

Well done, Sarah! The shoe advice is sound, but I have run a 50k in a new pair of shoes having never worn them before. Probable best to break in a new pair of shoes before the marathon though.

Journey to a Centum said...

Nice job on the 5 mile race! Sounds like the shoes prevented bleeding anyway. Too bad the blisters were still a problem for you.

Edible awards? I've seen dinner certificates before but never gingerbread medals.