Saturday, 16 January 2016

The year truly begins - MEC Race #1 5k

Welcome to 2016
It's only January, but without this race I'd be waiting until March to start the season. That would make for a long, unhinging winter. 
Time then for a little 5k, MEC race 1. It was the kind of cold in which you can feel your skin freeze within 30 seconds of removing your gloves. 
Out to the start, with all jiggling about dressed like multicoloured astronauts. 
Group warmup, more necessary than usual as it was -15, and -21 with windchill. As someone who didn't grow up with Canadian winters, I need more head insulation than most. 

The Question 
Aim for this race was mostly to answer the question- what sort of shape was I in? I'd been in base training since the start of December, slowly rebuilding after injury in October. 
I'm at my heaviest at this time of year also, so what time could I expect on such a day? 22 minutes perhaps. 

Traction Control 
I was a little swamped at the start...
...which went round in a semicircle before  straightening out. 
A loop along the river turning around at 14th street, I was mildly disappointed that the course would go the slightly slower anti-clockwise direction. 
Making my way past some slowing fast starters, the foot bridge over the river blunted my progress. The surface was so slippery that extra effort ended up being lost at toe-off. The harder I tried, the closer I got to kicking my own bottom.

Overtake On The Left
Once off the bridge, I put effort into picking off more runners. 
Up onto 14th Street bridge, my breath was getting a little ahead of me, so I backed off slightly before joining the pathway south of the river. 
I was overtaken by the leading lady as I got onto the path. That's your pacemaker I decided. The gap widened at the 10th street bridge underpass, which I took very cautiously. I caught up again, gradually finding stronger pace.

Finishing Frisson 
With 800 or so metres left, I decided to continue slowly accelerating and see what speed I'd top out at. As I re-passed the leading lady, I heard quickened breathing and increased cadence behind me. It seemed to fade as I continued to find unexpected end of race speed. 
My camera stopped just as I rounded the last corner. Noooo. What it missed was my slowly tackling the semicircle finish. 20:59 was my chip time, 5th overall and AG 3rd although there's no prize for that. 

The answer to the question?
A fairly strong performance at this stage given the un-traction, cold and volume of clothing I had to wear. There's plenty of work to do, so stay alert for any possible injury. In other words, it's all on the right track. 
Next race is in 2 months, so keep on running. The next phase is called "sharpening", starting Feb 1. 


  1. Peace brother. Yes that will be my question when I do the hypo half in a couple weeks. Yikes! Love your winter look.

    1. The jacket was an xmas gift. I'm sure you'll have a great answer when the time comes.

  2. That's a pretty impressive run, given the conditions. I did not know that you were injured; great comeback race!

    1. Thanks! I dropped out of MEC race 7 last October before I did real damage.