Thursday, November 14, 2013

Race report: Downsview 5k 2013

(I knew as soon as I hit post yesterday the photos would finally show up for this race!)

One last race this year, this time with my husband. Since we both tend to be pathologically early for everything, we arrived way early at the race site and had a lot of time to kill. That did mean we got a sweet parking space only minutes from the start line.

Start line. Grim weather. Note how very very empty and wide open it is. With nothing to block the wind. That's important.

We'd picked up our kits the day before (lots of samples, hooray! especially the Sports Suds, I'm a big fan), so we wandered around for a bit, checking out the start area. We quickly realized that the wind was going to be a huge problem. It was strong and cold, so after finding the indoor bathrooms (which had a way shorter line than the porta potties, score!) we retreated back to our car to keep warm until it was time to go to the start.

The lipstick sample was exciting. The colour is... something. If I'm ever playing the Tin Woodsman in a production of The Wizard of Oz it'll come in handy.
After a short warm up, we made our way to the corrals - yes, corrals! At kit pick up we were asked our planned finish time, and since we both planned to be under 26 minutes we got placed in the first corral. I loved that they did this; people self-seeded really well and I barely had to do any weaving or passing in the first km of the race.

Waiting for the start. Freezing my ass off. So glad I grabbed my vest on the way out the door.

After the start my husband ran with me for about 400m, then pulled ahead, as I expected him to (he's faster than I am). Once I'd confirmed I had managed to start my watch correctly (didn't want a repeat of the scotia screw up ), I hid it up my sleeve so I couldn't see my pace.

My thoughts through each km:

1k: 4:43
Ugh, gravel. Hope this doesn't last long. Onto a paved path, excellent. This is going well. Feel strong. Hey a photographer! Smile! No idea how fast I'm going but I feel pretty good.

I know it's the beginning of the race because the gloves haven't come off yet. The literal gloves, not the metaphorical ones. I actually like this photo but $30! Holy crap! I'll wait and hope for a discount code or something, because damn.
 2k: 4:47
There's the wind. This sucks. Gotta find someone to run behind. No one close. Oh good someone is coming up behind me, I'll tuck in behind them. 

And it's a nine year old boy. How is that helpful?? Gah. And he's stopping to walk. Even less helpful!

(much of the 2nd km was run into a headwind, so maintaining that 4:47 took a lot out of me. I'm impressed I ran it that fast)

3k: 5:03
Oh yay, uphill with the wind coming across the path instead of a headwind. That's a fun change. We must be getting close to the turnaround. Ugh it's uphill too. Surely at some point all this uphill will translate to downhill? No? This is one of those races where it all feels uphill even when it isn't? Delightful.

There go the leaders. Huh, haven't seen that many women ahead of me. Pace must be OK. Oh there's my husband! He looks strong. I feel like I'm going to die. One foot in front of the other, just keep going. I hate my music. Shut up Britney, I don't want to work. Bitch.

4k: 5:05
Another photographer. And another one? 10 feet behind the first one? Ok. In theory this means I'll get at least one decent photo. Or maybe just a huge number of terrible photos. 

The answer was none of the above. I got a small number of mostly terrible photos. I do love that vest, though, and damn it looks good in pictures. How'd my watch sneak out of my sleeve?

This sucks. I hate 5ks. Why do I keep running 5ks? I am so stupid. Oh there's that crosswind again. I can't believe I pay money for this. Still no one to draft off. And there's the 9 year old boy again blowing right past me. I hate kids. Oh, he's stopping to walk again. Loser. I'm better than a 9 year old! Yay me!

WTF another photographer? How many photographers are there on this course? Oh look, the guy in front of me is pulling a total Nicole, I should do something more than grimace at the camera. Watch, this will be a random guy with a DSLR and not a race photographer at all.

He was a race photographer. I'm...getting arrested?
 5k: 5:02
More uphill. There's the finish. Fucking gravel path, screw you. Ugh. God I hate races where you can see the finish from like 500m away. It's SO FAR. Try and speed up. Except there's that damn headwind. And there goes the 9 year old again. Damn it. He is totally useless for blocking the wind. And why is he sprinting so fast? Enough of this. I hate 5ks so much. 

Chip time: 24:58 (I didn't catch the 9 year old. You never catch the 9 year old, don't even bother to try)
Gun time: 25:06
Age group place (30-39): 6/78 nothing wrong with a top 10 finish; plus it was a 10 year age group instead of the more usual 5. I'm going to assume that everyone ahead of me was 30-34 and I totally won the 35-39 category. HOORAY!
Gender place: 24/331
Overall place: 102/579

Not a bad way to round out the fall season. There was a lot working against me this race - only a week after Road 2 Hope, I developed a cold the day before that gave me a super sore throat and had me light headed and feeling generally shitty the morning of the race, the nasty nasty wind, and the unfamiliar course that turned out to be hillier than I expected. Even with all that I got under 25 minutes and I'm pretty confident without the wind I'd have come close to my Canada Day time.

No skirt! I know! But I'm pretty sure those purdy tights made me faster.

As curious as I am to know how fast I could run a 5k properly rested, not sick, etc, NO MORE 5ks until spring. Or summer. Worst distance ever. So much pain for so little reward.

Race Review

Would I run this race again? Absolutely. Great kit, nice fitting t shirt (women's sizes, yay!), extremely well organized start area. I found it an enjoyable course, and admittedly the race director can't do anything about the wind. Probably. I mean, he's not a wizard. I assume.

The 5k is entirely within Downsview park, so no worries about traffic, and the route was set up nicely so that although it was sort of a double loop, it didn't have the soul-crushing horror of running through the finish halfway through the race. Since the park is so new it's a bit barren, but it's going to be really nice in a few years when the trees start to mature. The hills aren't really that big, and I would love a chance to run that same route on a less windy day.

Bow before my epic Paint skills. That wind coming across the side really sucked.

My only complaint is that the Running Room location where the kit pick up was held was kind of a pain in the ass to get to via car, but we could have picked up our kits on race day so really that was our own fault. And they ran out of men's medium shirts so my husband got stuck with a large shirt he can't use.

(Oh, and speaking of my husband, he finished in 24:19 - he was a bit disappointed, he wanted to be under 24. Pretty good for his first ever race, though, and later in the afternoon it became clear he had some sort of stomach bug going on, so he also ran that not feeling well. I'm betting the next time he runs a 5k he crushes that time by a minute or more.)

All in all, a pretty satisfactory end to 2013 racing. Now, a few weeks of easy running and lots of core/strength training before training for spring race season starts!


  1. LMAO at you calling that kid a loser. Kids at races are the worst! Wait until your kid joins you at a race and then takes off on you. We all know who the loser is in that sitch! :oP Too bad about the wind. Hopefully your hubby can get to another race where weather isn't a factor!

  2. Great and funny report, Emma, nice photos too! Congratulations on your fantastic time! And yes, my older son is 9, and I couldn't catch him if my life depended on it in a 5K, but us chicks kick a** in endurance:)

  3. Blue lipstick in a race kit?? Okaaaaay. Another awesome race report Emma! Please keep racing 5Ks so we can keep reading the hilarious dialogue going on in your head :)

  4. Great result on a rough day. That wind was brutal. I hear it hit 55 KM/h. The half is great too, running on airstrip is fun (minus the wind). Congrats on a great race, both of you. Those are impressive times for those conditions (oh I got green eye shadow in my race kit lol)

  5. Congrats on a great race! It sounds like a fun course. Love the "wind" map

  6. This report is amazing. LOL. So fun. You really sell the 5k distance.