When you sign up for a race in the middle of May, even if it’s located in Canada, you’d expect the weather to be beautiful. It’s such a lovely time of the year, the flowers are starting to blossom and the weather warms up. After being cooped up inside for the duration of winter, come May it’s such a wonderful feeling to run in shorts and a tank top.
Last year this 5k was on such a hot day that extra water had to be ordered. Men ran with no shirts on and there was not a single person there wearing pants. This year was a different story.
The reality of living in Canada is, even if it’s May, the weather is never set in stone. That was a fact that was reiterated Saturday. I woke up to a frosty morning with north east winds blowing in temperatures below zero. By the time it was time to leave my house, the sun had peaked out and the temperatures were hovering just above zero.
It was an outdoor race where the race packet pickup and post race food was organized to be outside in the park that it was being held at. Luckily the location had a pavilion to set up everything as the skies were covered with ominous looking clouds (no rain ended up falling though); it did provide shelter from the chilly winds though.
By the time the race began, the weather had warmed up to around 7 degrees Celsius. I opted for shorts, a long sleeve, and a jacket on top to block the cold wind. It was a bit cold to be wearing that beforehand but by the first kilometre, I was warmed up.
Then the Canadian weather did something it does often and threw a curveball. About halfway through the race the clouds cleared, the sun came out, and the wind dropped. My body that was so happily clothed in a jacket all of the sudden became a hot mess. Thank goodness this was only a 5k because if it was any longer I would have had to transfer my pined bib to my shirt underneath and shed the coat.
Now as for my actual race performance, it wasn’t all that bad. Unfortunately, I woke up with the “runs” on race day (no pun intended) and didn’t want to risk eating breakfast and having a mid-race crisis to deal with. This meant that my race turned into a fasted cardio workout. Normally this isn’t a problem for me as I often workout early in the morning before breakfast. However, the race didn’t start until 10 and by the time I lined up at the start my stomach was growling. It was a good thing to experience, racing on an empty stomach, but not something I will do again. At the 3km mark I ended up focussing a lot on the ache in my stomach and by the finish I felt weak from my low blood sugar. Immediately I scarfed a banana down.
I ended up running just under a 5:00 kilometre, finishing in 24:53. This isn’t close to a personal best, but I wasn’t expecting to challenge that record for this race. Coming so close on the tail of term paper season and exams and following a one week vacation, my training was not tiptop beforehand. I came second for women 20-24, losing to the first place finisher by 12 seconds. Unfortunately, I had first place in my grasp but was unable to achieve a negative split and was passed in the last kilometre. I think it was a mix between the empty stomach, change of weather, and mental acceptance (that I was not going for a personal best) that left me flat at the end and unwilling to kick it up to maintain first place.
This race was a good learning experience and I did have fun participating in it. My mother came out to support me and that made the morning wonderful. She was adorable running from kilometre to kilometre to cheer me on and snapping pictures. Every time I saw her (at the start, 1km, 3km, and finish) I couldn’t help but smile. It does make a world of difference having a good support system at races for me!
Moving forward, my next race is a half marathon in two weeks time. More importantly is my goal race coming up at the end of June. As of next Tuesday, the 14th, my new running schedule starts in preparation for my goal race. This new plan includes tempo , hills, kilometre repeats, and progression runs. I’m excited to see if sticking to a plan that incorporates these specialty runs will make me see some improvement. Also, I will be sticking to my INSANITY plan so that could also help me see some changes in my speed.
Yours in fitness.