Monday, September 23, 2013

Oakville 10k Race Report

Oakville half marathon and 10k, Sept 2013

Saturday for kit pickup was rain, rain, rain. Unfortunately, the expo for this race is outdoors. Glad I remembered to grab an umbrella before I left - too bad the only one I could find was my 4 year old's Hello Kitty umbrella. Awesome.

Expo in the park. Hello Kitty umbrella not pictured due to embarrassment.
Picked up my kit, briefly checked out the vendors (I had been hoping to maybe get discounted registrations on some spring races, but none of the ones I wanted were there), got away from the 50% off sale rack from the one running store with my wallet intact (close call on that one, they had some nice Moving Comfort tanks).

Good kit. The coupon for free hard boiled eggs will definitely get used. I also appreciate a race that has women's specific shirts, even if the shirt is not my favourite shade of blue.

Sunday morning Amy picked me up early, and then we headed off to get Patty and Sam - The Burlington Skirt Brigade loves to carpool. Amy offered to drive, because she's way nicer than the rest of us, who tend to yell 'not me' and hope someone else offers. Finding parking at races blows. But Amy had a secret weapon, having reserved a spot in her friend's driveway, which happened to be right by the race start. SCORE.

Why don't races have a best dressed competition? C'mon, we're ADORABLE.
 The 10k started first, so Amy and I jogged an easy km or so to warm up, mostly because it was freaking cold. I was wishing for a pair of throw away gloves, but I knew once we started running I'd be fine. Listened to Oh Canada, milled around for a few minutes, and then we were off for our 10k.

Dorking out in the start corral. I gotta get a new move that isn't double thumbs up.
 Once we started I ran about 300m then glanced at my watch; 4:44/km, too fast. Slowed down and hit a few buttons to set my watch to display calories burned instead of pace, since I wanted to run this race more by feel. My watch always shows the pace briefly after each km, so I knew I could check at those points to see how I was doing.

I don't know if it was because people actually seeded themselves properly, or because of the nice wide road, but I hardly spent any time maneuvering around slower runners - a welcome change from some races! Looking in your direction, Midsummer. So the first few kms went very smoothly. I was totally in the zone, comfortable with my pace and feeling great. I kept catching glimpses of Amy's ponytail not far ahead of me - she's a bit faster than I am, but as long as I could see her, I knew I was keeping up a good pace.

km 1-3: 5:13, 5:10, 5:13

My watch beeped off km 3 at least 100m before the actual km marker. Shit. I hate when my watch is that off early in a race, it makes it hard to trust the paces. I resolved to ignore my watch until 6k, and just zoned out, one foot in front of the other. In control, not too fast.

km 4-6: 5:10, 5:13, 5:13 Hello consistency! That's a first, usually I'm all over the place.

I had set up my playlist for this race with my most motivating songs starting at around km 6. I really wanted to get a negative split on this one, and figured I'd try some musical help to power through the last 4k. (Eminem's Berzerk? Put it on your running playlist right now.) Somewhere in here there were a bunch of houses with 'SLOW DOWN' signs on their lawns, and I thought SCREW YOU I'M NOT SLOWING DOWN! Then I realized it was probably the homeowners trying to get traffic to slow down, not runners. Duh.

km 7: 5:05

Still feeling good. Picked up the pace. My watch was almost 200m off the markers so I was ignoring it and just looking at the total time as I hit each marker, doing mental calculations to figure out if I had a shot at going under 52 minutes. Math while running is never a good idea, but I was pretty sure I was going to be really, really close to 52 minutes and used that as motivation to pick up the pace a bit.

km 8: 4:55

Self doubt started to creep in. My breathing was getting harder to control, and my brain started whispering things like 'you could walk for a bit and still get under 54 minutes, you have lots of time to play with and still PB. 53 minutes would be a fine time'. SHUT UP BRAIN. Don't tempt me with your bad thoughts.

I had spent some time before the race trying to figure out how to handle this exact situation. Closing in on the finish, when things start to hurt, the 'let's just stop' thoughts always arrive, and I've never dealt with them well. This leads to things like my epic slowdowns in the last 5k of Midsummer and the Mississauga half. This time, though, I was prepared.

I started telling myself 'you went through childbirth without drugs. Twice. That hurt a hell of a lot more than this. If you can do that, you can run another measly 10 minutes.' Over and over. 'If you did that, you can run another 8 minutes. You can run another 5 minutes. 5 minutes is nothing.'

Amazingly, it worked! With a bit of an assist from Ms. Katy Perry and the song Roar (thank you Amy for that suggestion).

km 9-10: 5:05, 4:55 extra 200m: :54 (pace 4:46)

Double thumbs up AGAIN. I'm so predictable. But look how happy! Coming up on the finish, knowing I'd run a great race.

Chip time: 51:56.2 <--YEAH!
Gun time: 52:07
Category place: 13/108 <--hey, that's not too shabby
Gender place: 36/305
Overall place: 110/541

A spectator at 7k told me she liked my socks. Hells yeah.
I am SO FREAKING HAPPY with how this went. Not just the final overall time, but the fact I ran a well paced race. I felt great through most of it, I ran even splits through the first 6k, successfully picked up the pace for the last 4k, and I did not give in to the suck during the tough last two km.This is huge for me - usually with races I go out too fast, and the last quarter of the race is spent just trying to stay upright, nevermind actually speeding up and running my fastest km at the end. The fact I ran the last km at a 4:55 pace is a major breakthrough. I can run a sub 5 minute km on tired legs. *mind blown*

Amy had a terrific race too - I kept catching glimpses of her ahead of me. She finished just over 51 minutes (and 12th for our age group, bumping me to lucky 13), which made her easy to find right after we were done, since she was still catching her breath when I crossed the finish. Clearly the real reason I ran this race fast was so my ride home couldn't get away!
I hope the Mississauga Marathon can handle our awesomeness.
We had some time before Sam was due to finish the half marathon, so after grabbing our water, bananas, and protein bars we headed back to the car to change into less sweaty clothes, then cheered for the winners of the half and waited for Sam. You can read about her race on her blog when she writes her recap (spoiler alert: she killed it. right here! Sam is amazing. Plus we unexpectedly got to see Nicole! Who was even wearing a skirt! You can't resist the skirt. You will be assimilated. And Patty totally nailed her pacing gig (even if the finish line announcer was kind of douchy about her gun time), so a successful day all around.

Oooooooh, sparkly.
I would definitely run one of the Oakville races again. The 10k is fast, pretty much flat, and NOT the dreaded double loop (which is getting to be unusual for 10ks. stupid double loops). Definitely a great choice for a fast fall 10k or half marathon. Well organized, lots of porta potties (important) and close to home. Thumbs up to Oakville! It's going to be hard to choose between Milton and Oakville next year for an early fall half, assuming I want to run one.

And now, of course, the big question looms: what goal time to aim for at the Scotia half. Hmmmmmmmm.

Bonus picture: FINE. I know this is what everyone really wants to see.
This is what happens when I can't find my rain jacket.


  1. Great job Emma! I knew you had an awesome race but had no idea how well you did. Major breakthrough holding on and speeding up until the end. While I had two c-sections (with drugs, ha), I do use my 12 hours of drug free labour as a harden-the-f&*k-up technique as well. Now, the key for Scotia is to replay this in the final two KM. Who knows, maybe we'll all be able to kick like Speedy Sam one day... Congrats again!

  2. LOL love your umbrella! Marina was trying to convince me to get Hello Kitty socks for throw away armwarmers (which I forgot to buy!). Congrats again on such an amazing race. Way to break through the mental barrier of wanting to slow down. That's a tough thing to do. Woohoo!

  3. Congratulations, well run rce! Great recap as well.

  4. I was about to ask where was your Hello Kitty umbrella... and there it is right at the end :)

    Nothing wrong with being dorky!

    Congratulations! The Burlington Skirt Brigade strikes again!!