Waking up to howling winds and rain pounding the walls is not the best way to start race morning. I knew we were in for some miserable conditions as we drove north to Barrie for the Spring Thaw 5K.
We arrived at Heritage Park to find severe winds and horizontal rain on the waterfront. Tents and signs were blowing all over the place and the poor volunteers were freezing half to death and desperately trying not to let the bibs fly away at race kit pick-up.
Miserable morning on the lake.
We stayed warm and dry in the car for a while before convincing ourselves that it was time to warm-up. We ran a little out and back on the race route and confirmed just how miserable it was. The wind was insane (40 kph/24 mph +) and the rain was just making me cold and grumpy! I was not looking forward to racing!
Yesterday hubs came down with my cold [I’m still coughing/stuffy] and did the warm-up as a test run, but ultimately decided to sit out the race.
After swapping my jacket, I made a quick stop at the washroom and hubs walked me over to the starting area.
Whose idea was this???
It was a really small event (130 runners) and I lined up pretty close to the front. In 3-2-1 the air horn sounded and we were off.
I took off pretty quick and tried to settle into my pace without tripping on the pint-size runners who seemed to be all around me. Damn, those kids are fast! I glanced at my Garmin after a few hundred metres to see an average under 4:00/KM (6:26/mi) – oops! I reeled it in and continued along the waterfront trail, dodging some puddles but mostly just splashing through them since I was already drenched.
KM 1: 4:18
We turned directly into the wind after the first marker and it was horrible all the way to the half-way turn-around. Seeing my pace was discouraging so I tried not to look at it and just kept the effort going. I caught up to a guy from my training group, Marc, and we chatted briefly.
me: “this sucks”
KM 2: 4:37
I just concentrated on getting to the turn-around, knowing I would have somewhat of a reprieve from the wind at that point. I was slowly able to get my pace closer to where I wanted it, but I was working hard. I was hanging with Marc and it helped having a bit of
company competition. Finally, we hit the turn-around, where we hung a quick 180 and headed down a short hill onto an adjoining path. There was immediate relief from the wind. Phew.
KM 3: 4:22
I got into a groove here, staying beside or slightly behind Marc. I was busting a$$ on the pace and it certainly didn’t feel “comfortable”, but at this point I knew a PR was well within reach despite earlier doubts. We were still getting hit with the occasional gust of wind from the side and of course the relentless rain. I wanted to thank the volunteers profusely for standing out there for us, but the best I could do was a quick smile and wave.
KM 4: 4:15
Everything was familiar now, from our warm-up and the first part of the race. I was picking off landmarks and knew exactly where the finish line was. Marc had pulled slightly ahead but I worked on chasing him down. During the second half of this kilometre, I was running like I never have. I stopped looking at my watch and just pushed as hard as I could. Finally I could hear and then see the finish line and it was an all out sprint. I caught and passed Marc just steps before the line. [his chip time was 2 seconds faster, so technically I didn’t “beat” him – but who’s counting? ;)]
KM 5: 4:01 (!!!)
Chip time: 21:34
Pace: 4:19/KM (6:56/mi)
My 5K time was stuck in the 22:30s for two years, so needless to say I was ecstatic with this PR of 1 minute and 1 second. I can’t help but wonder what I could have done on a good day…