***S with my mom who was visiting from Montreal that weekend - she took all the photos:)
So I’ve been running with Marie for the last year and this year we’re a little more organized for the season and decided we’d do the Harry Spring Run-Off at High Park. There is a 5k and 8k version of the course – and since you get a medal for the 8k we figured “okay – bring on the 8k”.
Winter training has been treadmill and soccer and where 5k is pretty comfortable, I have run 8-10k outdoors last year, but in a random hap-hazard (getting lost on a trail) kind-of-way. Now it was time to play with the slightly bigger boys…
The race was on Saturday so on Thursday night I did a treadmill run – found my pace and ran a really comfortable 6k with a half kilometer sprint at the end (I really like end sprints).
Friday – feeling good – not much soreness from the run the day before so I wasn’t worried about soreness.
10am race time – 2700 runners in the 8k course with corral starts. I respect the runners who are runners and stay out of the first two corals. Since I like to pass people I figure I might as well start in the last coral – plus it gives me a chance to make sure my iPod-do-hickey is working before the start. Marie and I pretty much start at around 2400th place which will take us 3-4 minutes to cross the start line. A quick shot of power-gel should help me work out any sore muscles early on.
***S and I at the start...
So in case you’ve never been to High Park – this course is hilly – like death-march hilly. Paired with some pretty narrow parts – it makes it fun to pass! (sarcasm).
Start: iPod working – nice pace – and I find a side where I can slip by people. 1.5 kilometers – find a pace buddy and we’re running well. See a bunch of people pull off to go to the first set of port-o-johns (note to self: don’t have coffee before a race). The hills are pretty moderate to start – long and gradual – so no major problems – my knees are a little sore, but I think that’s just from not stretching completely – plus switching back and forth from running on grass (to pass people) and on pavement.
2.5km: nice big downhill with lots of pace and lots of passing, followed by a very long gradual up-hill – too long in fact. This hill took about 1.5km – enough to feel a couple chest cramps and the delightful feeling of lethargy in my hips.
4km: Water station – Gatorade to drink and a water to dump on my head – LIFE!! After walking through the water station I had momentum again and started passing. Sometimes I’m motivated to go faster just to get away from all the people spitting on my legs (by accident of course!). This was supposed to be the only water station – so I made sure I was well hydrated to the end (no water packs on me for this race).
4-6km: Friggin’ downhill of death. The amount of people flailing their arms and running out of control down this hill was nuts – not to mention I was still in a pack so if anyone stopped – there would be about 30 people on top of them. Stay to the outside and jump into the bushes if things got out of hand. Hips definitely hurting now. I presume from the steepness of the hills. Normally I get some soreness the day after a race – but never on the day of. Need to focus and find a running pattern.
6km Surprise water station! This wasn’t supposed to be there – and judging by the randomness of water being handed out – I don’t think the organizers knew it would be there either. Anyways, it was a nice find with 2km left to go – so the slight wait to get water was worth it.
6-6.5km: Nice moderate run through the south end of the park. Tight trails though so there was a bit of jostling. By the end of it the hills started and mid-way up the hill there’s a damned French-Fry truck smelling like a deep fryer – mmmm lovely fries – I wonder if I could eat fries and run?? Sorry no money on me (thanks running shorts) so I had to continue up the hill. A long km of rolling hills finally gave a little space to pass people. Knees, blisters on the right foot, shoulder cramp and of course sore hips was making this arduous – but not as arduous as this…
7.5km Hill of death climb: Who the hell puts a giant friggin’ hill on the last stretch of the course!?! Forget sprinting – most people were walking up this hill. I had moments of passing people, but it was like night of the living dead on that hill with everyone moaning and expressionless.
Eventually I made it to the top and finished with a time of around 50min. Slower than my 5km pace and a lot sorer. I was never really out of breath on the course – just sore.
***That's S in the Blue Shirt at the finish line! :)
A few things I would change for next time: Take a Tylenol/Aspirin before the race- to thin the blood and get more oxygen to my muscles. Stretch my back and shoulders – they were stiff at the end of this race. Run in short-shorts – based on the temp – I was too warm and needed to cool off a bit on the long hill climbs. I need to find something for my iPod that tells me my pace – when I race I get too aggressive at times and need to avoid burn out.
All-in-all, I would do this race again. The competition in the 8k is a lot harder than the 5k, but the scenic nature of the run made it enjoyable. It’s not a spectator race though – since about half the course is run through the south end of the park – it’s hard to access.
Need to run tonight and try to stretch out the muscles – I’m not usually this sore after a few days (though it’s all in the hips).
***Cinemarie: I will add photos to this post tonight and post my own race recap with my thoughts on how it felt to be pregnant and run a race, tomorrow! :)***