Monday, May 25, 2009

Ottawa 5K Race Report

I've been so tired and busy since the race that I'm having real problems coming up with a proper race report. Rather than delay it any further I am going to take a quick stab at it and apologize in advance for the brevity.

The weekend started with us piling in the car and sitting in traffic for a while as we tried to get out of Toronto on Friday night. After what proved to be a relatively easy drive we arrived in Ottawa a little after 10pm with two very tired kids and their parents not much better. By the time I got to bed it was very late and I had trouble falling asleep having missed that "window of opportunity".

Saturday leading up to race time was a blur. After waking up I ate breakfast and headed off to the Expo to get my, Monica's, and Owen's race packets. The place was way too crowded to enjoy and we got the hell out of there. Upon returning to my in-law's place I crashed and slept for a couple of hours in the afternoon, waking up about an hour and a half before my scheduled 5pm start to the 5K race. A quick coffee, get dressed, and then Monica and I piled in the car while her Dad dropped us off a couple kilometres from the Start.

We walked through the crowds and eventually found a port-a-let where I ended up jumping the line. I didn't realize there even was a line up and simply stumbled into this long corridor of port-a-potties. I felt bad later, but the fact that I jumped the line didn't occur to me until the next day when we arrived for Owen's race and I saw the line up.

Anyway, as Monica took my post-race stuff we settled on a meeting spot and I went off to warm up. I ran up and down the street leading up to the Start Line a few times and was not very pleased with either my energy level or the pain in my left knee. As I attempted to pick up the pace the pain became more severe so I stopped doing that and just stretched a bit then headed off to find the Blue Corral (under 25 minutes). The crowds were massive and it took me a long time to get through to the right spot. The weather was perfect but a bit hot if you hadn't trained in those kind of conditions. On top of that, as I stood there like a sardine, I really began to overheat. Then it was announced that the start would be delayed by 10 minutes to let late arrivals get sorted out (Say WHAT!?!?!?!). I had a nice chat with a lady for the entire time we were waiting, but could not stretch or relax due to the close quarters.

Then the countdown started and the rush to the front squished me and all the rest. It was very uncomfortable. The Start Line was a funnel and this made things even worse. On top of that, within 20 metres of the start the course took a sharp right turn and of course everyone tried to take the shortest route. I had lined up on the right side and pretty much had to get through the first section at a near walking pace. Here's a picture Monica snapped at that sharp right turn directly after the start, with me visible under the arrow:

Then the fun really started as I navigated in and around tonnes of slower people who lined up in the wrong corral. I even saw 5K Walker bibs! What a joke.

I had turned off the auto-lap option on my Garmin and hoped to hit the lap button when I crossed each kilometre marker, but that plan went down the drain since these markers were not in existence. Therefore I had no idea how fast I was running and cannot give you any splits! I really felt lost and it was not a good thing. Also, after about a kilometre I was totally overheating and took off my hat. This proved to be a bit of an issue for Monica's family, the boys, as well as Monica since I suddenly became invisible. They were watching out for my trusty old ratty Cleveland Indians hat, the first baseball hat I ever bought, and it was nowhere to be seen.

The race is a blur for me. It hurt like hell, my heart rate was up near 100% of max for a long time (175bpm average, and crossing into the 180s all over the place) and I had real trouble breathing. Not knowing how fast I was going really disoriented me and I will never turn the autolap off again. I didn't even have the Avg Pace displayed because I thought that this would be too distracting and may have forced me to go out too fast or something. Won't do that again... The Garmin did measure the run to exactly 5k at least, which was totally surprising given how far off it was on my last race.

In the end I am not terribly disappointed in my final time (21:20.8) though I think a lot of things went wrong on this day. If the start wasn't such a clusterf@#$ I think a sub 21 minute finish would not have been a problem. And on a good day, without the lethargy that comes with fighting a sore throat and the knee pain, I think I'd even have a shot at going into the teens (BTW: this may be my next big running goal beyond the marathon). That being said, I could NOT have run any harder so that means this was a true test and an appropriate result on the day. I did exactly one speed workout leading up to this race and paid for it dearly. Next time, when attempting a fast result, I will be better prepared and enter a much smaller race to avoid the crowd navigation that is required of such a big event. The stats are on my last post in case you are interested to know just how many people were involved.

Wish I had more pictures, but I don't. Hopefully there will be something from the race photographers that I can post, but with so many runners who knows. I will endeavor to post a report on Owen's Kids Marathon when I catch my breath. He did awesome!

Garmin don't lie.



Blogger Ace said...

Excellent race report. Seems like an awfully good time, all things considered. Those crazy 5-ks always make things interesting!

May 25, 2009 at 1:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great race report. I hate it when I screw around with the Garmin. Weird they didn't have markersou really ran well.

May 25, 2009 at 3:55 PM  
Blogger Marlene said...

5Ks are impossible with crowds - I had a similar experience in Boston. Sorry to hear it didn't go exactly as planned, but that is still a killer time. Congrats!

May 25, 2009 at 7:38 PM  
Blogger Nitmos said...

Solid. 20 Minutes is probably looking over these numbers and shaking in his/her knees.

May 26, 2009 at 3:22 PM  

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