Winter Running

This year I’ve decided to keep running as much as possible. Unlike other years when I stop running in the fall and then start again in the spring, having enjoyed a lovely winter rest, this year I’m running in the winter. Okay, so I wasn’t great at running in the late fall and early winter, but I did get out a few times. I even ran indoors a few times. What amazed me was that I still had some decent speed in my legs and lungs. That said, preparing to brave the cold of an Ottawa winter was a whole other issue.

In December I took part in Jayme Rae’s plank challenge. Since this worked out so well, I thought I might try to take on Run Ottawa’s running streak challenge #RORunStreak on Twitter and Instagram. At first I wasn’t sure I would be able to even do this since I don’t like to run in the cold, but then I got to thinking that I have to go out to walk the dog anyway so why not run; we could both use the exercise. Two things I had to consider:

  1. Kip is a spaz and has typically tripped me when we have tried to run before. Did I really want to risk a wipe out?
  2. I DO NOT LIKE RUNNING IN THE COLD.

The more I exercise, the more I learn that running is like trying to get little kids to eat something. On average it takes 11 attempts at a food before a child will realize it’s okay and they like it. Running is the same; you can’t just give up. If you want to succeed, then you must try more than once. This was going to be my one more time moment.

If you’ve followed me on Twitter or Instagram then you know I have in fact been running almost every day this month. Some days it’s just 1.5 km in the morning and again at night, some days it’s a bit longer. I was lucky that the first few days of January were relatively mild here so getting out was easier than I thought. By the end of the first week, though, the temperature dropped to a brisk -16C (felt like -20C). Since the dog still had to go, we ran around the block. Guess what? We both survived. In fact within a few days Kip and I seemed to have figured how to run together. After 17 days, there have only been 3 days when I wasn’t able to run, but I did walk those days.

My mother, a long time runner, told me that running in winter is simply a matter of dressing right and being careful. I have to admit she is right. I still have trouble figuring out how many layers to wear, but it’s a lesson I’m happy to keep learning. I’m not a hardcore winter runner, but I’m getting the hang of it. It doesn’t scare me like it used to, and I know I will appreciate the effort come spring. Maybe one of the nicest things to come from my efforts was a colleague telling me I have inspired her to run with her dog this winter.

Thanks to @RunOttawa and all the #RORunStreak participants for your continued encouragement and support!

Back to work food temptations!

As often happens when schools come back after the summer break there are treats for staff and students. My school is no different. We provided coffee and muffins for the staff, and our grade 9 students and student leaders were given cheese pizza for lunch.

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Muffins for staff

Even though I have been super careful this summer about what and how much I eat, and I told myself I would resist, the temptation was too great. I had two muffins this morning and a slice of pizza at lunch. And I still had the lunch I brought from home.

A small pile of the Pizza for students

Sure I had breakfast at 6:00 am, so I was hungry by mid morning and I don’t get to have lunch until 12:45, but I brought a healthy lunch with veggies and fruit that could be eaten in one sitting or grazed upon throughout the day. Sure I knew better, and I’ve lost weight through my better eating and exercising. But I AM WEAK! All I can do is remind myself that while a couple of treats is the start of a slippery slope, it is not a food mountain-slide. I just have to be mindful of what I eat, and stay away from temptation.

So with only 77 days to go to Christmas break, every day will be an interesting challenge to keep away from free food and empty calories.

unhealthy-food-meme

Truth!

Ottawa Craft Beer Run 5k Race Recap

Yesterday I took a chance and ran the 2016 Ottawa Craft Beer Run 5k. The route was a simple out and back along the Rideau Canal, beginning and ending at the newly renovated Landsowne Park with the turn around point at Dow’s Lake. If you have ever visited Ottawa, you know this a scenic and relatively flat route.

The race was part of/connected to the Ottawa Craft Beer Festival, a three day event held at the Aberdeen Pavilion on the Landsowne grounds.  Race registration included a weekend festival pass, a festival beer glass, a shirt, a useful bottle opener finisher’s medal, and a delicious beer from local craft brewer Beau’s. Four Beau’s beers were on offer — the classic Lug Tread, a German Lager styled Marzen, a lighter Belgian style Patersbier, and a tart Danish styled Old Skal. I opted for the strong Marzen as my morning race reward, but returned later during the festival for the Old Skal and I’m glad I waited. Amazing beer, with a unique taste. But I digress. In addition to these race day goodies, there was also samples from gluten free Stoked Oats and giveaways from Yelp.

Racers had the option to pick up their bibs either Friday evening or Saturday morning. I opted for the morning pickup as I didn’t really want to head into downtown traffic on a Friday during my holidays. This decision doesn’t always pay off, but the race organizers had a decent system in place to get bibs in our hands quickly.  Also, prior to the race, there was warm-up yoga on the Great Lawn. Fortunately, the weather was fantastic so this all worked out.

After a quick warm-up run around the lawn and a little yoga, we headed over to the start line set up on Queen Elizabeth Drive along side the UNESCO World Heritage Site Rideau Canal. This year the race worked with local race experts SportStats and Somersault Events to coordinate the race logistics and  provide a chip-timed event. As the Ottawa Craft Beer Run is relatively new (this is only its 3rd year), this move should help cement the event on the local running scene.

Because the race is such a new event, there are still a few growing pains to be worked out. Most notably, the connection with the Ottawa Craft Beer Festival seems a little unclear. Although racers are told they get to enjoy a Beau’s beer following the race, the beer festival organizers and workers did not seem to know this or what the protocol was for getting us our reward. Most likely this was a result of too may moving parts for two connected events; the issues would be easy to resolve with better communication between the festival and the race organizers, followed by clearer instructions to the racers. In the end we did get our drinks, but some people were frustrated by the confusion. Also noted as an issue was the lack of water at the end of the race, as well as the absence of washrooms. I suspect the organizers assumed the location would have public access washrooms, but these were not accessible during the event. Again, this seems like a growth area for a new event, and they are things that they can easily resolve next year.

With a flat, fast course, great weather, and a wonderful atmosphere this is a race I will definitely head back to next year. Besides, who doesn’t love a useful finisher’s medal?

 

Early Bird Triathlon Review

A few weeks ago I participated in my first triathlon, the Early Bird Triathlon organized by Somersault Events, a local company whose events “are organized primarily for the recreational enjoyment of participants of all ages and stages.”  This sentence from their mission statement perfectly describes me and my focus as an athlete.  I enter races not for prize money, but for the enjoyment.

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2016 Early Bird Tri & Du Race shirt

In terms of a simple goal for the day, score one for the Early Bird Sprint Tri.  I had a great day, as I usually do at Somersault events.  In an earlier post, “I am a Triathlete!”,  I described my somewhat spotty/sketchy/non-existent training plan for the day.

strava calendar 2016

Not much training done for a late May event. Oops!

With such a weak lead up to the day, I wasn’t really sure how things were going to turn out.  I needn’t have worried.

The night before race day, I organized all of my gear, making sure I had my bag packed with bike shoes, helmet, towels, food, water, and race bib. I made sure the tires had air, and that the bike computer worked. And it was good that I checked both of those things, because they both needed work. The air int he tires wasn’t a big deal, but imagine my surprise at 11 pm to discover my bike computer had stopped working. Fortunately my workbench has a drawer full of mysteries. Imagine Mr. Dressup’s Tickle Trunk and you have a good idea of the remarkable things I have hidden away “just in case”. That’s right, I had the exact right battery. So I got that sorted out and headed off to bed.

Flat SeeHaleRun Tri version

Flat SeeHaleRun

On the day of the race, I was up before the alarm clock, earlier than I usually get up for work. I even woke up before the coffee machine started. Seriously, who gets up on a Saturday before the alarm clock? Okay, maybe I was a little anxious. One of the great things about Somersault events is the number of people you run into there. The events draw all sorts of people to them, from recreational athletes (me!) to elite athletes, and everybody in between. As I was loading my bike into the van my neighbours came out and started loading their car. Of course they were also headed to the race to cheer on family members (including the 72 year old mother) who were going to compete in the Try-a-Tri and the Sprint Tri distances. After the event another neighbour stopped by to say she had seen me finish as her kids were competing in the Kids race. Ottawa is a small town, but we’re pretty active.

Once I arrived at the race, which was centered around the Carleton University campus, I found a parking spot not too far from the setup area. One of the benefits of using Carleton is the abundance of parking, and a good path system for people to travel between the swim area and bike/run transition zone. Because the race is in late May, there is no open water swim; instead the swim is held in the Carleton 50m pool. Of course the downside is that it is 500+ meters between the pool and the transition zone so you have to accept the time loss (if you choose to walk rather than run back to the T-zone).  Once I found a good spot for my bike and gear that provided good landmarks so I would remember where to go, and gave me a good path to the bike and run routes, I went to get marked up. Fortunately, there was space beside my bike for my brother-in-law so when he arrived a few minutes later he was able to set up quickly.

While I had taken part in the pre-race orientation session the evening before during packet pick-up, I was not really prepared for the mass that is the self-seeding wave start. The pool area was very well organized, but there were a lot of people waiting to get into the water. Thankfully my brother-in-law settled me down and explained that there will be a wait before we needed to worry about our place in line. Each swimmer is sent out at 15 second intervals so the line did take a while to get to us.  He also encouraged me to join the 12 minute line for the swim instead of the 15 minute group. As I mentioned, I hadn’t really prepared for the race, and had not done any real swimming so I was going to take it easy and take a slower pace.  Am I ever glad I didn’t do that! As it was, I could have passed my brother-in-law; we finished the 500m together under 12 minutes. Once out of the pool, we headed back outside to our shoes and started to walk/run back to the T-zone for the 21 km bike ride.

Unlike last year’s duathlon, my bike did not have any mechanical issues during the tri.  I’m sure that has a lot to do with the tune-up it received from Mobivelo as an early Father’s Day gift.  The gears worked great this time. I wasn’t trying to kill myself as I had not been on the bike at all. In fact the first time I rode it this year was race day — not a recommended strategy — and I’m pretty happy with my 46 minute time. Sure I’m not winning any prizes with that time, but it was good and my legs were strong the entire ride. The route itself went north from Carleton U along the Rideau Canal and then back to Hog’s Back Falls and back to to Carleton; the Sprint Distance did this loop twice. The segment to Hog’s Back is slightly uphill so it was a good challenge for my untested legs.

https://www.strava.com/activities/583161907/embed/c7025ef98e7b1bffe66fedc22a32b82fecfbcb4d

The return to the T-zone was slower than I planned. I still have to work on switching from my bike shoes to my running shoes.  Even though I have speed laces, I still find the move to running gear is my slowest. Oh well, if it was easy it wouldn’t be worth doing again and again. Regardless, the run was also okay except that it was along the uneven edge of the road. Because I was worried about injuring myself, I ran on the road until the path evened out a bit.  I had practiced this out-and-back loop route the week before so i wasn’t totally unfamiliar with it and I was ready for the hill in the middle.  It was great to see my neighbours along the route as they cheered me on, especially on the way back.  As I often do, I fell in with a runner whose pace I liked and stuck with her.  She was finishing the Long Tri and she looked like she could run forever.  I kept up with her, though, and finished strong (I think). Even with a slow transition, I managed to come in just under 30 minutes. When I crossed the line I raised my hands triumphantly, knowing that I am a triathlete.

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Brothers & Triathletes in arms!

Having now completed a tri, even a Sprint distance, I know I will do another. I may even challenge myself to a longer distance, just not yet. For those looking to give multi-sport a try, consider one of the Somersault Events. They’re fun, but challenging, and they have distances to fit most abilities from beginner to elite.

I am a Triathlete!

Last weekend I did something I never thought I would/could actually do. I completed a triathlon. To be fair to all you hard core triathletes, it was a Sprint Tri, but it was still a Tri! 500 m swim, 23km bike, 5k run. When I started running a few years ago it was for 1 race, a 5k. I swore I would never go further, a comment that made a runner friend laugh. She knew all too well that a little running success leads to the pursuit of longer distances and more challenges. So now I’ve completed my first Tri. 

In another post I will review the race day itself, but let me explain, but let me explain a bit about my training. When my brother-in-law Krishna signed me up for the race I researched various training plans, going back to the excellent resources provided by the British Heart Foundation since their plan had worked so well for last summer’s duathalon. Of course life being what it is, and my lack of commitment to anything other than my family, I didn’t actually follow the plan. Sure I swam a few hundred meters four times over the winter, the last being in March. Yeah, I rode my bike a few (um 3?) times on the trainer. At least I started running again. At the end of April. With all that planning negated by the lack of training my goal was pretty simple: just finish. But every runner has a time goal too, and mine was 1 hr 30 mins to 1 hr 40 mins. That seemed reasonable given what I knew about my self. Turns out that was bang on as I finished in 1 hr 38 mins. 


So there it is. I’ve gone from a guy who thought running sucks to a triathlete. I wonder what else I can accomplish?

Keeping Things In Perspective

Recently I wrote about the extra weight I gained following a few days of poor eating, which lead to me to consider if I’m dealing with a habit or a behaviour. There is a distinction between these words in that one suggests an ongoing issue that is hard to stop or curb because a new attitude or response has yet to be learned or mastered. The other suggests poor choices made occasionally even though the perpetrator knows the difference between right and wrong. I know that I make poor food and exercise choices occasionally, but for the most part I am make pretty good choices. But at what point is it a habit or just behaviour? Or is it really such a simplistic binary choice? Knowing that I had to be more diligent to lose the wieght I gained, I cut back on portion sizes, ate better snacks, and drank more water. The result was an appropriate drop in wieght. Within a few days, I was back to where I was before exams. Yesterday I had pizza and my lunch. Clearly this is an example of poor eating behaviour. Today, I was back to healthier meals — and only one lunch. As a whole, though, I believe healthy eating is a habit in our home. It’s just that we make poor choices occasionally.

My family has pretty good food and nutrition behaviour. We eat healthy food and we do not eat junk food. As a whole we also have good active living behaviours. But does that mean exercise is a habit in our household? This is harder to determine. We walk the dog. My wife and I go for regular walks in the community. Our children are all involved in a variety of sports. I feel like this means we have good behaviours with regard to , but it isn’t a habit. We all like to sit down and read or watch a movie. We don’t belong to a gym. I still feel like I have to force fit exercise into my day; it just isn’t a natural decision for me. I feel guilty when I chose to go to the basement to exercise or go for a run (when it’s nice out) instead of spending time with my family even though they don’t mind when I make the time for me. Yes I do encourage my kids to run with me, to sign up for races together, and coach their teams, so I know they understand that my wife and I value being healthy and active.

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Random things I collect through the day. Appropriate message.

We are a busy family of five. My wife and I have jobs that do not allow us to take time off whenever we want, but we are rewarded with the majority of our summer off. While we do have evening events are various points in the year, we rarely have to bring home work in the evenings or weekends. Given the demands of work and getting kids to their various activities, we are slowly making our healthy active living behaviours into habits. At the very least we encourage our children to be active and we model this behaviour where possible. As much as I try to fully embrace what my sister-in-law says about the simplicity of making time to exercise, I have to remember that it has taken me over 40 years to get where I am and I’m not going to change everything quickly. Changing the mindset of my behaviour will be a gradual process. What is most important now is that I am committed to making the changes so my new behaviour becomes a habit.

 

 

Where did THAT number come from?

Have you ever had one of those days when you stepped on the scale, looked at the flashing light, and then stifled a slight gasp when the numbers stop flashing? That was my experience this morning. I knew my weight was creeping up ever so slightly because I’m not running right now, but I did not expect what was presented to me today. How could this happen? I’ve been so careful; even though I’m not running, I am exercising. Sure I wasn’t being careful at Christmas, but hey it’s hard to completely abstain when there was so much awesome cooking happening, which of courses required the appropriate libations. But that was a month ago and I had recovered from those indulgences.

One of the things I’ve learned in my job as a Vice Principal is that you have 15 seconds to think before reacting. Instead of beating myself up about gaining back a bit more weight than I thought, I paused and took sometime to think about my eating habits in the last few weeks. A little reflection is a powerful thing, and here’s what I discovered. We had a retirement party for our Office Administrator — snack food and drinks. Last week was exam week which means we order lunch one or two times — chinese food, shwarma with a side of potatoes and garlic (I NEVER get the side but a colleague bought it for me), a can of ginger ale. Those two lunches alone would have been enough to kill any efforts to keep my wieght in check, but when you’re on a roll why stop.  That’s right, I also realized I consumed of few more treats last week: dessert squares, cinnamon loaf/sticky bun from the Rideau Bakery (if you’re from Ottawa you may know why it is hard to resist this awesomeness), and guys night out beer and wings. But heck, with things going so well, why stop there. This weekend my daughter had a ringette tournament in Kingston. We usually eat healthy food when we hit the road, but there are few things that aren’t so good. In addition to the three visits to Minos where we had a couple very tasty Greek salad with sliced chicken breast — she ate a medium all by herself and I had some chicken souvlaki pita wraps — we had a visit to Woodenheads for gourmet pizzas. I also had an excellent 8 Man English Pale Ale from local brewery MacKinnon Brothers.  Add to that the oversized hotel breakfast, pizza dinner with the team, Lone Star fajitas, and beverages, and I know I had way too many calories coming in. Running 5k on the treadmill and doing my regular workouts while away couldn’t keep the weight at bay. I finished everything off with a potluck lunch at work yesterday. Even taking small portions, I still managed to eat too much. Again, even though I worked out last night, the little numbers on the scale continued to go up.

All of this brings me to today. It’s the beginning of a new month and a new semester. This is an opportunity for a new start, a new resolve, and a new direction. Interestingly, on one of the blogs I regularly read, Andrew Richter’s Fitness for the Regular Guy was a motivating post that reminds people to Keep It Simple, Stupid when it comes to getting back on track. Timely for sure and pretty basic, but good to remember. I’m keeping track of my exercise in a journal, I’m going to get back to more blogging, and I’m focusing on eating healthy food in appropriate portion sizes. I know where the number came from, and I’m working hard to get away from there.

A Tale of Two Seasons

Usually my autumn and winter running is much like the start of Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

Surprisingly, I  have enjoyed running and the the feelings associated with it. Although I have often said I do not exercise and I am not a runner, that isn’t really true. That said, once winter comes along, I stop running. Because where I live it is usually cold and snowy in December. Look at the forecast from this week in 2014:

YOWWeatherDec2014

Do you notice the temperatures? Most days the thermometer registered a number around 0C, but check the fine print. In Canada we use this little thing called wind chill to indicate what it really feels like. That means on most days it wasn’t really sitting just above or below the freezing matr; no is really felt much colder, like -15C (5F for any readers south of the border). And if that’s not bad enough, take a look at snowfall? On December 10, there was 15 cm of snow. That is NOT running weather.

Let’s jump ahead a year. Back in late October, as the weather started to get colder, I stopped running. I managed to time my break perfectly with a case of shin splints which wasn’t fun but it did help add to me excuses reasons for not running. I assumed that we were headed to another cold, wet, snowy autumn and early winter. Oops, I didn’t see the El Nïño effect coming into play quite so early. Look at the weather for this week:

YOWWeatherDec2015

What a difference a year makes! Nice early fall running weather in the middle of December. Of course this doesn’t mean I have actually been running. However, as I was walking my dog and thinking about a comment my daughter made regarding a Green Christmas, it occurred to me that perhaps I had missed an opportunity to log some additional kilometers before the real impact of winter hits. I could have built up some credit before the worst of the winter eating really sets in. Of course hindsight has 20/20 vision; I haven’t taken advantage of this awesome weather, and I’m regretting it. Of course in any year, there are some ups and downs so maybe this is the down for me; when I had the chance to push myself, I didn’t do it.  But next year holds great promise. I’ve already started working out at home with bodyweight exercise and my bike.  I’ve been down this path before, but I’m getting further ahead, and not falling so far behind, as I have other times. As always, there has to be hope.

IT WAS the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way — in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

A Tale of Two Cities Charles Dickens

Improvements Made, Lessons Learned

The first time I ran a race, the 2009 Army Run, I had never run any long distance.  My training was inconsistent and uninformed.  Yes, I tried to follow the 10 & 1 rule recommended by various experts.  I ran around the neighbourhood and the school track a few times, much to the amusement of my family.  I knew I wasn’t going to finish anywhere near the front of the group, but I knew I was going to finish, I just wasn’t sure how long it was going to take me.  The route takes runners past Parliament Hill, the Canadian War Memorial, and along the World Heritage Site Rideau Canal. It is also the route many students from Lisgar Collegiate Institute have run for years as part of their Canal run in gym class.  As my father was a teacher and Head of Phys. Ed. at Lisgar for 33 years, he knew exactly how long it should take somebody to run that 5k loop.

2009 Army Run Result

When I finished my first race, I proclaimed my success to any and all who would listen. My dad’s response he has stuck with me more than anybody else’s. He was pleased that I had completed the race, but my time of 36 minutes received a less than enthusiastic response: “It should’ve taken you 25 minutes.”  That’s it. At the time I was impressed that I finished at all. Sure I knew I could go faster, like maybe as fast as 30 minutes, but 25 minutes was just plain crazy. That’s the kind of pace/time super-fit, lean, long-legged true runners achieve. Not 220 lb, stocky, thick calved coach potatoes lumber to.

The idea that I could run 5k faster than I did, let alone in 25 minutes, has stuck with me since. As a result, I’ve been more aware of my pace, my form, and my effort. When I did finally run 5k in 30 minutes (last year), my daughter’s wise assessment was “That’s what happens when you run more.” Not bad for a then 11 year old. Typically, though, I do not spend enough time each year running to get much faster. Last year I was averaging about 7:15/km while still holding to the 10:1 pattern. This time held regardless of the distance; sometimes I was a bit faster and sometimes I was bit slower. While I was pretty pleased with that time, I knew I was getting faster and stronger. I started running a couple of times a week in April of 2015, and fairly quickly (no pun intended) I was getting under 7:00/km. Sure enough those times started dropping below 6:00/km and I wasn’t stopping for walk breaks anymore. Imagine my surprise when I finally ran 5k in 5:05/km — that’s a time of 25:22. I had finally achieved what my father said I could do, something I didn’t think I would ever be able to do. What changed? Quite simply, I did. I exercised more this year than any other year. I made better food choices. I worked at it.

I weigh less and I move more; that’s a simple equation for success. But there’s more to than that. I value each accomplishment I’ve made, and I recognize that while those accomplishments will come and go like the tide, I have to keep at it. Here’s hoping I stick with into the winter and beyond.

Fall Colours 10k Recap

Sunday morning was most likely my last race of the season. After hemming an hawing for a few weeks, the week before the race I threw my hat in to the ring and signed up for the Somersault Events Fall Colours 10k, one of the many races they held that day. As a first time participant of the event, I was really impressed by the organization of the day and the great family atmosphere. The race distances ranged from the kids’ Turkey Trott through to the marathon.

Like all Somersault events, this day was very well planned. There was the pre-race emails from organizer Terry McKinty reminding participants about the start-times, facilities and amenities, and parking costs. They even setup a Facebook page for ride sharing. There was updates to the marathon route maps, and explanation about the colour coded markers for distances and directions. The water stations were manned by members of a local basketball club who were also beneficiaries of fundraising efforts form the day. The route was very well marked, and made its way from the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum and into a the community. Residents come out a cheer on the runners. All in all, it was a wonderful day. It helped that the weather was great; a bit of sun and not too warm. I chose a long sleeve technical shirt, but would have been fine in a t-shirt. Of course all of this was with a backdrop of trees that were nearly at the peak of colours change — hence the event name Fall Colours.

Backdrop for Fall Colours 10K 2015

Backdrop for Fall Colours 10K 2015

My training for this event was somewhat sporadic. I had been running a fair bit this year as I trained for the duathlon in August. Also, I have been experiencing some real gains (losses?) in my struggle to reach my weight goals. Fortunately, iRun magazine partnered with SportChek and presented a series of 10 week training plans geared for October events — mybestrunningrace.com — and I was able to focus my training. Although I started out following the half-marathon plan, I soon realized that with the return to school and accepted that 10k was going to be a more manageable distance. As my training went on, my 5k times were getting pretty quick, and the one night I ran 10k, I was under 60 minutes for the first time ever. All that to say I was feeling pretty good about race day.

The Fall Colours itself was a great run and experience. Learning from other races, I did not head to the back of the pack. Instead I went to the front of the pack to start the race. I knew I wasn’t going to be the fastest, but I also knew I wasn’t going to be the slowest. When the horn sounded, I headed out faster than knew I should running the first km in 5:10. Knowing that I couldn’t sustain that, and because I planned to finish around 60 minutes, I deliberately slowed down so that by the end of the third km I was hovering at the 6 minute/km mark. This was fine for me as I was trying to stick to my plan. What I hadn’t understood, though, was how hilly the course is — in both directions. I managed to hold my pace, however, to the end of the 5km mark, and then I slowly started to pick up my pace, eventually getting back to 5:24/km, and running a negative split. Like I do in most races I pick another runner who seems to be about my pace and try to stick with him or her. This worked well again, and I managed to keep tabs on a few runners. However, because I was picking up the pace in the second half, I was slowly overtaking them. Nothing aggressive, but steady moves past various runners. As we headed into the final kick, I did overtake a few runners quite quickly. At the finishing chute, I picked up the pace even more — the last split time had me back at 5:10/km. My finishing time was 61 minutes, exactly 4 minutes faster than than my previous 10k race. I’m super happy with the race PB! But that’s not the entire story.

Interestingly, throughout the race I noticed that the km indicators and my Strava app were not in sync. I wrote about this earlier, and my thoughts/concerns have since been validated. As he usually does following races, Terry sent out a post-race email in which he addressed various aspects of the event. Chief among them, was their awareness that the race was in fact longer than 10k:

The 10K – actually, the 10.7K. With a new member to the race crew this year (it’s not his fault), our ‘course coner) was given the actual 5K turn point, without being given the .7K grounds measurement so it’s our fault – not his! Sportstats will amend the results to reflect 10.7K

You really have to admire and respect event organizers who recognize a mistake was made. More so, they own it; they didn’t blame the new guy.

So what does this mean for my race and my PB? Well it means I got two PB’s that day. In addition to getting an official race time PB, even for a slightly longer distance, my actual 10k time was also a PB for me — 56:41! That is way faster (almost 9 minutes!) than than my previous 10k race PB, and it is faster than any other 10k I’ve run in training. For a race on Thanksgiving Weekend, I couldn’t really ask for more.

Obligatory post-race selfie. These are rarely good!

Obligatory post-race selfie. These are rarely good!