Sunday, January 31, 2016

Race Report: MEC Ottawa 2016 series #0 - Race "Below ZERO"

The race this morning was a great way to complete the Run Ottawa Run Streak - run every day for at least 1.5km during the month of January.  Now back to my regularly scheduled streak, which now stands at 91 days...

Here is how the race unfolded.  The event was held at the Rideau Carleton Raceway.  It owns a private access road, which was blissfully closed to vehicles for the duration of the run.  I arrived about 45 minutes early and there were already a number of people milling about.  I went inside to suss out where all of the important things were: bathrooms, snack table, prizes. registration (in order of importance).  After that I brought my bag in to start getting ready.  My number was missing.  Remember how I said yesterday that my only expectations are to show up on time and not forget my bib.  I'm getting a D (50%) on that.  Registration was gracious and issued me another one - a good reason to show up early.

I joined the throng that was milling about and headed to the start line about 5 minutes before start time.  The temperature was just below zero (probably -2C) and there was a light wind, but I opted to run in shorts, long sleeve tech shirt and a vest.  I also had gloves and a toque, but they came off about 4km into the race.  Out of 218 finishers, only one other person wore shorts - crazy, or maybe we were the crazy ones.  I felt great temperature-wise.  At the start I met up with my counterpart at another regulatory agency and her husband - uber fit, the two of them.  They graciously ran with me the entire race up to the last kilometer.

The horn sounded and we were off.  I landed into my planned pace straight away.  My A goal was to finish under 60 minutes and my B goal was to finish under 55 minutes.  I took off at a pace that felt good to me.  I figured that I could time check and adjust a few times over the next few kilometers.  I wore my nearly bald Adizero Mana's because it was warm-ish the day before and I heard the road was paved.  I assumed that paved meant ploughed and I was 100% wrong on that.  Despite the absence of any traction on a race course that was 80% covered in slippery soft snow, I maintained a steady gait and cadence.  The course was an L-shaped out-and-back that 10km runners had to complete twice.  The 180 degree corners at each end of the L were very slippery and I took them at a walking pace.  Not once did I feel like I was going to lose it.

Running with company really helped the time pass quickly.  It also kept my pace higher than I would have had I been running on my own.  Thanks, guys.  I started to feel like I was slowing at around 7-8 km, but I held my pace and even sped up over the last km.  My finishing time on my Garmin FR610 was 54:01, but I didn't start my watch until I crossed the start line; the official time (hand timed) was 54:16.75.  I was really, really surprised.  This will be a great baseline to use when planning for the next race, a 10-miler in April.

The post race food was simple: bananas, mini Clif Bars and NUUN drinks (two flavours, but I didn't bother to check what they were; mine tasted good.)  I chatted a little more with my two race companions and got skunked for the draw prizes. After pulling on some dry clothes I headed to the car, where I found my race bib on the dash.  Oh well.