Monday, November 07, 2011

an unexpected PR- the Oka 10 K

So this trail race that I talked about last week? Turns out that it was mostly on bike paths. There were a couple of kilometres on trails but for the most part it was on paved paths. Which turned out to be not such a bad thing. But I'll start at the beginning.

All week I was a little concerned that I'd get lost on the way to the race. I'd never been to Oka and I still haven't mastered the highways around Montreal. So I google mapped it, checked the directions on the race website, made sure the highways were all open, and finally just decided to trust my GPS. It got me where I needed to go fairly well. Until I got into the park. Then it decided to tell me this:
thank goodness I was on the road
Luckily, at that point there were already signs pointing me toward the race and really, all I had to do was follow the car in front of me.

Package pick up was easy and I was also fantastically excited to see a bag check in the same place. It meant I didn't have to hoof it back to the car before the race...I just got to stay in the warm, warm building. And use a real bathroom. This made me happy. It was -4°C. 

Originally, I had planned on running in a short sleeved shirt and arm warmers. I was VERY glad that I packed a long sleeved shirt just in case...I needed it and ran in the short sleeved shirt plus the long sleeved shirt...and gloves, and a headband to keep my ears warm. 
As I headed to the start line, I laughed as I saw this guy:
I had no idea how to pace myself. I didn't know what the course was like and it was hard to know how I'd feel. I didn't run as much in October as I had planned. My longest run was just under 9 miles right near the beginning of the month, I had run a few 5 milers, but mostly 3 and 4 milers throughout the month. So I was well rested for this race :)

So I just ran. I worked hard. I checked my pace if it felt to easy or hard- just to keep myself honest- but for the most part, I just ran. The course was gorgeous, the sun was out, and it was a beautiful day for a run.

As I reached the top of the biggest hill, I came up to a guy in BRIGHT orange and said something like "well that was fun" and passed him. A few minutes later, he came up behind me and I felt like he wanted to pass me. So I pushed the pace a little and we ended up running side by side for a long time. As I did some math, I didn't think I was on pace for a big finish, so as I powered up what turned out to be the last hill, my sunglasses completely fogged, and I got a little bit of a stitch, I stopped and walked for a few seconds to wipe my glasses and tame the stitch.  

Start and Finish line
It wasn't for long, but it did help a lot (seeing is a wonderful thing when the ground is full of potholes and other hazards). But then I hit the 8km mark, did some more math, and realized that my previous math had been terrible and that I was on pace for a PR. I just thought "ok, two sub-5 minute kilometres is nothing" but I kind of wanted to smack myself because had I done the math better BEFORE I stopped to wipe my glasses I probably would have just taken them off and kept running to save time, to stay with the guy in orange, and to stay on pace for a potential sub 52 finish. (my previous PR was 52:55). But of course, hindsight is 20/20.

At 51:38 I looked at my watch and looked at the distance I still had and thought that maybe...just maybe I could finish in the next 21 I ran as hard as I could. How hard you ask? So hard that when I got to the finish line, I genuinely thought I was going to throw up. I leaned over to catch my breath and was 90% sure I was going to see the contents of my stomach on the ground soon. I did not. And I was happy about that. My Garmin tells me that at the end I was running a 6:08 mile. Which is kind of crazy.

Unfortunately, I didn't manage the sub 52 finish...but I did run a 52:11. A totally unexpected PR. But I'm shaking my head and thinking that Orange and I could have raced each other to a 51:59 finish if we had stuck together. He finished in 52 minutes on the dot...oh what could have been :)

Regardless though- I'm not disappointed at all (except for with my math skills) and really pleasantly surprised with how much fun I had and how I ran. My body seems to like these fall, cold weather, 10 km races. That run in Canmore last year was an unexpected PR as well. I think I just like the 10 km race distance. I should do more!

The race was well organized and I would definitely do it again. Thanks Oka!
Hope you all had a great weekend! I know some of you were racing- so tell me how it went!


Heather said...

Yay! Nicely done! One day you'll beat my 10 km time. I'm just waitimg for it to happen!

Anonymous said...

Awesome report Kristen. Glad you had a good race and the weather was perfect. It's also nice to see I'm not the only one that trains and runs in miles. :)
Bill in Cornwall

Vanessa @ Gourmet Runner said...

Great job! Nothing like an unexpected PR - it's the best!

Anonymous said...

WooHoo. I think PR's come in unexpected packages. At leat for me. When I put all that pressure on myself I get inside my head instead of just trusting my capabilites. Good for you girl. Congratulations!

And the 10k is my leas favorite distance. 5k pain for twice as long. No thank you!

Nicole @ "Haute Runner" said...

Awesome job on your PR!! I am not very good at doing math while running/biking either!

Love GPS but don't appreciate when it tells us we are going off road! Like it does every day...

kristen said...

Heather- I guess I'll actually have to train for a 10K and see what happens :)

Bill- thank you! it really was perfect weather. Yeah- it is weird to run in miles in Canada but somehow it just works.

Vanessa- thank you! and good luck on the weekend with the Marathon.

Kristen- I think 10K might be my favourite distance...long enough to not feel like you're just getting into the run when it is over (like a 5K) but not so long that you find it hard to focus for that long (like a half marathon. But yeah- they are hard work.

Nicole- thank you! One day maybe we'll be better at math :)

Marlene said...

You can never trust your math during the race - LOL! Congrats on a solid effort and way to nail the PR!

Leana said...

My math skills suck while running! Congratulations on the PR!!!