Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Running and racing 5k with Dad

Training and touring
My Mum and Dad were here the past week for a visit. Among other things, Dad and I ran together a couple of times and also lined up for one of the MEC races on the final day of their visit. 
First run was on a Sunday, and the altitude in Calgary, 1,000 metres, was a little tough for him, though he finished up ok. On their last visit here in 2007, I was the old me and huffed and puffed to keep up. 
Tuesday, I took the bus to the gym, did my core stuff then ran 10k home. It's the first time I've done this "duathlon" since May, before the marathon. 
A drive down to Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump later on. 
Wednesday was speed intervals, so I went back and forth in front of Dad to correct any wrong turns - there was one ("the wrong fork"). 10.5 k total for me. Although shorter than me, this photo makes Dad look about 4 foot (which he isn't). 
A trip to Fort Calgary for some history and Benny Hill-ing after that.
Thursday was weights and no run (/no fun) day, and Friday was a short 4k, including one at race pace. We had a drive around Kananaskis country later on.

Running roots
During their visit, Mum told me about the time I got my sports badge as an 8 year-old in the cubs (Boy Scouts). For the 50 metre sprint, I was last. For the 400 metre "distance race", I went almost the same pace as the 50 and passed everyone with just over 100 metres to go. A shock result at the time, so Mum says. An early sign of my modest level of talent? 

Race day
Saturday, 9am race. Arrived nice and early to get a parking space, which I thought would be tight (spot the Calgary race veteran). 
PB was 19:25 up to that point. During speed sessions for marathon training I had thought that this was beatable, although I had only been 2 weeks back into training after light running on holiday in Asia, not to mention eating like an Emperor's entourage. 
Dad does a local 5 miler each year (he's wearing the shirt), a 10 miler and has done several half marathons. 
Today was his first 5k however. He predicted he'd manage about 27 minutes and change for a guaranteed PB. 
The plan for me was to go with the flow for the first km knowing that it would likely be too fast, then keep it in the low 3:50s and speed up in the last k if possible. The course is an out and back next to the Bow River, slightly downhill for the first half. There's usually a north westerly headwind for the return direction too. 
10k started at 9, with the 5k due to start at 9:10, which was changed to 9:05. Some kids (10+ I think) lined up in the front row, which they probably shouldn't, however this race series is not overly serious. 

A busy start, and there was a runner with a shoulder bag/ purse (!) to get around. 
The trip hazards/ kids tried to stay at the front, lasting about 2 minutes. 
I settled down to 3:50/km picking a lady in front as a pacemaker. 
Counting those in front, which is a struggle for me even standing still, I guessed I was about 15th. At 2k there were 10k runners to pass. 
The 5 minute gap between races would have best been left at 10 minutes for both 5 and 10k-ers. Frequent trips to the grass, and I overtook my first pacemaker. 
The turnaround was tight, and the pathway full of the rest of the field coming the other way. This might have led to me and the 3 in front running on an adjacent pathway for a while and going a bit further than the 5k.
At race pace, the change to slight uphill was noticeable as well as a head wind of about 10 kmh. 3 runners in front slowed as a result, and I passed them within 2 minutes of the turnaround. I did quite a bit of satisfying overtaking for most of the race, not just kids and ladies with handbags.
Dad passed by in the other direction, thankfully 30 seconds before a glitch with my gopro stopped it recording. 

Catching up the next lady (lots of quick girls in this race), she found a little speed when I got to her shoulder to overtake. The same thing happened about 30 seconds later, but the 3rd time there was no response. I felt like staying behind, though I knew this would involve settling for missing a PB. 
At the 4k sign I had trouble breathing quickly enough, and now used the guy ahead as a target to stop myself slowing down. Blessed are the pacemakers. "There's the car park, almost there." "PB up ahead." "No more 5ks ever again." 
My target man casually looked round to check on me, having me covered if I were to find the extra speed, which I didn't. My time was the priority, although the cap on backwards is on the list of fashion choices I prefer to finish behind me. All I would need for the PB was to override the urge to coast. 
I crossed the line in 19:18, a PB by 7 seconds. In another 7 seconds I was lying down getting my breath back along with 3 or 4 others. I shook hands with a few of the "leave it all out there" club after finding my feet. That's the thing with the 5k: lung-busting, but ready for action again after a few minutes.
The official time was 19:20, though I think the clock (started for the 10k and minus 5 minutes) was slightly off, so I'll go with my watch. It says I did 5.05k, so could perhaps subtract 11 seconds but will stick to 19:18. 
Dad managed a 27:30, his predicted time. This race series doesn't do age categories (yet), nevertheless I declare him AG winner.
I was 6th overall, and 4th male. I have quite a collection of near podiums, but a PB beats a podium every time. Still, it's a good placing, not to mention I can't remember overtaking that many people. 

Post race, we headed to Bow Valley Ranche for brunch. Bambi was superbly cooked, and it was a beautiful summer's day in Alberta. A great day overall before Mum and Dad headed home the next morning. 


  1. A great story, brilliant pictures and a memorable day. Thanks.

  2. Ha ha a lady with a purse????? That's so funny! Great recap! I love reading your recaps. Cute family! Sounds like you had a great visit with the parents.

    1. Thanks! I grew up watching Dad do an annual 5 miler, so it was great to race together.