the long story:
last july was the first year that i organized an extended family run while cousin joel was home in canada for his summer break.
file photo: crew + runners before the toronto carnival run, july 22, 2017
our time together was SUCH fun that this year, back about march, i started emailing with joel to figure out when he’d be available this summer so that we could repeat the running + family time.
once i had his dates, i started researching race options and presented them to the family. the consensus was that MEC kitchener race number 3, offering 5 and 10 k distances, would be awesome.
five of us ended up running: cousin joel, dad, the brother, panda and me. i was sure the brother would be in for 10k [when in fact he opted for 5k] so i registered for the longer distance [i really prefer not 5ks!] – and ended up being the only one as the others all ran 5k.
the five of us, pre-races
dad and i left the condos at 7:45 a.m. and arrived onsite at laurel creek at 7:54 a.m. how’s that for “choosing local!” we nabbed a prime parking spot and made our way up the hill to the open grassy area where registration etc was taking place. within minutes, we had our chip devices for our shoes. shortly thereafter, joel, the brother and panda all arrived.
dad + me!
since MEC kitchener is only in the second year of hosting these runs, the field of participants was small and the atmosphere was super laidback. i talked with a few runners i know, the five of us took pics and chatted, and then it was time to get ready for the 10k! [the 10k started at 9 a.m. and the 5k at 9:15 a.m.].
me + the brother -> wearing our *team* jersey that makes us laugh!
panda + me!
the funniest laugh of the day was that cousin joel had not run a step since our family event last july!! luckily, he teaches phys ed and is in good sporty shape; we did all enjoy a good chuckle over his 51 week gap between run outings, though!
me + joel!
at 8:45 a.m., i did a 5 minute warm-up walk then sucked back a GU espresso gel, my tried n true pre-race routine.
looking around at the start line for my 10k, i guesstimated that there were less than 50 runners lining up. [in actuality, there were 52 finishers as noted in the online race results].
i had three goals going into this run: 1) don’t fall 2) keep smiling 3) finish in more than one hour [i wanted to run conservatively to ensure i met goal #1; for the june half ‘thon on the paved path, my 10k split was 61 minutes, so i thought on trail, i’d be even slower]. i ended up meeting two of these goals. 😉
i started well back in the pack. the last time i ran on a trail was about 12 years ago, no joke. i wasn’t too sure what type of terrain to expect as laurel creek could offer up a very mixed bag of footing. happily, the ground was super dry and packed as we haven’t had rain in a couple of weeks. the 5 k loop [that we did twice] ended up being a lovely mix of single track dirt, gravel road/path, grass, and pine needle forest path [any pine needle section was my favourite] with a few up and downhills but nothing too major.
since the starting field was so small, there was no jockeying for position or having to jump over people/endure back ups. i was happy to run quite easily and enjoy the surroundings and watch my step. from about 2-4 k, i passed a few people and stayed just behind a young couple. not knowing how well marked the route would be, i didn’t want to chance running off-course and risk
getting lost a DQ [i’m still psychologically scarred and wary from the father’s day 10k DQ, june 2016, a story for another day].
i have neglected to mention the weather! one word -> HOT!!! when i got up at 6 a.m., it was already 19 degrees with a “feels like” 26 C temp. by this hour, after 9 a.m., it was quite toasty! just my kind o’ day!! i love hot weather running and felt confident that i would be able to pick up my pace for loop #2.
with half the race over at the 5k mark, i was really sweaty and also really warmed up. i was still going back and forth with a guy [in long sleeves! seriously!] and i dropped him on an uphill around this time. from this point until the end, i had no one running in front of me within sight at all.
at 7k, i took another gel, again, my usual 10k race strategy. at the water station at 7.5 k, i took a sip and dumped the rest of the cup down my back. that felt awesomely refreshing! at 8k, a very favourite song, “work it,” came up on my ipod shuffle. i know this song is about 5 minutes, so i decided to push a little more just for this song [while still being mindful of my feet and roots, branches, etc].
trail running is so very scenic! i did look around from time to time, and really enjoyed the variety of greenery along the course. thanks to all the trees, i’d say about half the course was well-shaded, too.
9k mark, 1km to go! i was feeling really good! i kept running at a good clip and really enjoyed the footing, twists and turns. coming out of the final turn, i saw the end line in view and ran strong, spying my family just past the finish line.
i glanced down at my watch, and saw it was 9:54 a.m. say what? that’s…way under one hour of running! wow!
i joined up with the family 5k-ers and was super happy to hear that they all had enjoyable and good races, too. we got water, bananas, cookies, skratch electrolyte mix, clif bars, and iced coffee [not for me, the others enjoyed that cold beverage].
they started the 10k awards about 10 a.m., and i literally had my mouth full of banana when i heard my name called as second place female. whaaaat??! haha! i almost choked on that banana! MEC only gives medals for 1st, 2nd, 3rd OA [no AG] so i was super thrilled to come home with a piece of commemorative hardware.
genuinely, i was shocked to see my chiptime finish time as 53:17 and to get 2nd place female – not sure which of those two results surprised me more. my road 10k time has been 51-52-ish minutes over the last while, so 53 was very unexpected. also, i felt good today but not, like, dynamite or like the runs where all the stars are in alignment and you fly effortlessly. true to form, i did feel better and better with each passing km.
the very best result was that i felt 100% in body both while running and afterwards. i am so grateful for any day/race where i can do this sport that gives me so much joy.
it ended up being an auspicious day of running for the whole family! in the 5k, the brother took 1st place in his AG; panda was 2nd place in her AG, joel placed 3rd in his AG, and dad was 1st in his AG. big laugh #2 of the day was that dad’s AG was age 70-99 -> dad will be in the same AG for the next 23 years! 😀
my family is such good sports -> i MADE them take a normal post-races photo…
…and a cheesy one! 😀
i give MEC kitchener race director rob and his team A+ for every aspect of this run. from the pre-race FYI email, to the course marking [no way could you run off course or get lost] to the race photographer who captured a ton of photos, to plentiful post-race refreshments, this race was as well organized as the MEC runs we do in TO. i would highly recommend this race and location to anyone who is interested in beginning trail running. maybe we’ll come back next for the 2019 edition of our family summer running festival!
just the facts:
race: MEC kitchener race #3, 10k
date: sunday, july 15, 2018
bib #: 7398
weather: hot, clear, calm, sunny, no breeze [and no bugs!]
official time: 53:25 gun time, 53:17 chip time
average pace: 5:20/km
overall rank: 19/52 females + males
gender rank: 2/19 females
age group placing: 1/3, 40-49 age group
shoes: nike pegasus 33, pink II [my oldest still-runnable shoes as i was not sure how dirty they would get]
apparel: “runs of anarchy” tech singlet [so that the brother and i could match]; nike jog bra; lululemon fitted short shorts; wigwam socks
i might be interested in getting back into more trail running?? we’ll see. maybe only if it’s hot and sunny and dry. 🙂