Monday, 9 July 2012

Stampede Road Race 5k report

It doesn't get hot in Calgary. At the height of summer, it gets warm in the afternoon at the most. Not today. Thankfully given the heat, my world salt-shortage inducing levels of sweating were only going to be on display for the 5k.
Good thing too, as determined to wear a Canada top, the only one I'd been able to find was a cotton one. While Athletics Canada does sell very nice singlets, they are constantly out of stock. To complete my fashion inventory, I was wearing new Lululemon running shorts. Extremely light and airy, they are almost worth the hefty price. I digress, though "fashion consultant" is one of my wife's roles in my racing.
Lining up, I got talking to  a high school student visiting from Kingston Ontario (I think with his Dad). Asking me my backstory and age, as soon as I got to the losing weight, and running for 3 years part, he said "oh, high five!"
Having known what the weather would be - day high of 31, and already 17 and rising with a strong sun at 8am, I'd set my aim for this race a week ago. A sub-20 was my mission, and I considered a PB (19:25) unlikely.
Before that though was the entertainment provided by a half- marathoner who had arrived late - it started half an hour earlier. He came tearing down, vaulted some equipment like a showjump horse, ducked under the cordon and went over the timing mat to start his day.
A bit of banter at the startline - "start with your left foot first so you don't set off the timing mat..."
A nice bump-free start and a left turn. The air felt very warm, little cooling effect. More like opening a fan-assisted oven.
There was an incline from 0.5k to 1k, which felt tough without cooler air, despite not having been going long enough to start sweating.
I had half a bottle of gatorade with me, placebo effect mostly for this distance, though I really felt I needed it. There was a water station before the 2k mark (doubling as last water station for the 10k). Shortly after this I could feel my breath getting heavier, so would stick within the pace parameters set on my watch. My form seems to have suffered here too, with the headcam picture getting noticeably shakier. The distance markers and my watch were not in sync - last year I had wondered about the measurements too. More on that in a bit, there's a race to finish :)
A-Chang spotted me coming down the long straight from km2 to km3 from a long way off. "My distinctive attire?" I asked afterwards. "No, the way you run."
Form check! My running style had become a flail already.
Thanks to Kristy for the shot below. It's both flattering and shows how fatigued I was getting. Kristy was filling in the time waiting for the never-knowingly unenthusiastic Rich who was braving the 1/2 marathon.
Taking my mind of that was the F-18 which flew overhead a couple of times.
After that I backed off a touch to try to recover slightly. It worked to an extent, though I did get passed by a couple of people. The only change to this year's course was the extra loop went in a different direction. It was quite a bit tighter than the one last year. In an effort to make the course 5k, it was probably over-extended. Picking up the pace again was a struggle, my watch beeping to tell me I was at the right speed only after about 20 seconds.
To my surprise and delight, Kristy was in a great spot to capture me as the course joins the last 300 metres of the Glenmore track. Rich would be along later, defying the weather and clocking just under 1 hour 31 min.
I am panting like a dog in this shot, feeling quite close to exhaustion.
Half way around the final bend, my watch said I'd done 5k already. While it's easy to claim the course is long, for the Calgary marathon it was only slightly more off. I'll be checking my watch at the track soon to find out either way.
5k or 5.14k, I still wanted to have a sub-20 on the official results. The home straight revealed the official clock giving me a chance of beating last year's time. I managed to up the pace a little and close the gap to a couple of guys who'd overtaken me previously. Not a huge kick as can be seen below, but it got me a 19:46, 2 seconds inside last year's effort.
That final straight had me looking up quite a bit, trying to suck in just a little more oxygen.
12th overall out of 304. I was 4th in my age group - for the sceond year running. No matter really, having medalled my first 2 races this year anyway.
My splits as can be seen below, show me at 19:13 after 5k, which would be a PB by 12 seconds. I'll believe it when I double-check my watch. If it turns out to be true, I'm still likely to enter next year, just assuming it to be a long course worthy of the challenge.

At the end as always was A-Chang, indulging this passion of mine. We had the pancake breakfast, and now have the Mud Hero obstacle race in 2 weeks to look forward to - we'll be doing this one together. Fun will be had.

Here's the headcam vid, thought I'd go with a marriage concept - enjoy!


  1. So brave of you to run in cotton! Another great race Peter!

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Adam, just glad I survived.