So many races, so little time to blog…
I decided not to bring a laptop home with me because I hate lugging one around the airport. Plus my parents don’t have Internet access at home anyway. But now I’m limited to one hour of Internet per day at the local library. So I’m trying to type super fast. It’s probably a good thing though because I tend to spend way longer than I really should on these blog posts.
Photos will come later (Edit: go here for photos from the race), but for now I figured I’d do a quick write-up on today’s 10k while it’s still fresh in my mind.
I forgot how much daylight there is up north. It was easy to get out of bed this morning because the sun was already shining through my bedroom windows at 5:45am. The race was about 30 minutes away, just across the border in White Rock, British Columbia. At 7am there was pretty much no wait at the border. Just one car in front of me.
The race today was the inagural ROCK 10k and was being held in celebration of Canada Day. For an inagural event, it was extremely well organized. Most people had already picked up their race packets earlier in the week, so there was no wait this morning. I got my race number, timing chip, goody bag, and a pair of Canada Day socks. The socks are quite nice and I probably would have actually worn them, except that of course they were out of smalls. Oh, well. I kind of figured as much since I didn’t make it to an earlier packet pick-up.
After the usual race preparations, I wandered around a bit and took some photos until it was about time to start. A local boy sang the Canadian national anthem, then a member of the Semiahmoo First Nation sang their anthem. Someone led the crowd in a warm-up, and I took the opportunity to duck into the bathroom. No lines!
The race started a little late, just after 8am. I lined up near the back of the crowd, knowing that I’d be taking this race nice and easy. I started off at a slow run. The entire race was on the road, which was not closed to traffic, but there were a ton of volunteers out to direct traffic and keep us safe. All the volunteers were incredibly nice and cheered us along. I suspect everyone was in a good mood because they had the day off for Canada Day. Or maybe Canadians are just friendlier in general.
I ran most of the first kilometer, then slowed to a walk to take some photos. Also, that was right before the first hill so the timing was good. Originally I was thinking about taking a walk break every kilometer, but I changed the plan to walking the hills instead. And there were A LOT of hills. The first half of the course just seemed to be up, up, up. There was one stretch that was about a mile of uphill. One of these days I need to figure out how to read elevation maps. It didn’t look that bad when I checked it out on the website. All the walking definitely affected my time, but on the other hand I kept up with and even ended up passing a few people who tried to run the hills. So I guess it wasn’t that bad a plan.
Being in Canada, there were kilometer miles instead of mile markers. I decided to follow suit and set my Garmin to record my kilometer splits. I actually really liked having the course measured in kilometers. It made the distance seem to go by much faster. For my pace, it also makes it easier to calculate. If I want to finish under 60 minutes, then I just need to make sure that I do each kilometer in under 6 minutes.
I ate some Clif Shot Bloks before the race, then ate the other half of the package at the halfway point. The first time I liked the Clif Shot Bloks, but now after having tried GU Chomps, the Clif Shot Bloks seem too soft and chewy. They still do the trick though. I had plenty of energy throughout the race. Then again I wasn’t exerting myself overly hard, especially with all the walking.
After all that climbing uphill, we finally got to go downhill again for about the last mile and a half. I flew (relatively speaking) down the hills and managed to pass a handful of people on the way to the finish line. At one point I looked at my Garmin and saw I was doing about an 8:30 pace. I was feeling good!
Then as I neared the finish line, I heard the announcer say that the person just crossing the finish line was in the 70+ age category. For just a few seconds my spirits sank. But then I reminded myself that I was just there to have fun and that I wasn’t trying to “race” today. I was happy that I was even able to run at all. I bet that 70+-year-old didn’t run a half marathon four days ago. 🙂
I only have one minute left, so I guess I’ll wrap it up here for now.