alright, 'broken' might be a bit of a harsh description - but i certainly deviated from my goal, which was to not repeat any races that i'd run last year. however, given that this is the only new year's day race around here and that it's organized for a good cause (The Sharing Place food bank) i dotted this event on my calendar as the right way to kick off a new year. a $15 registration fee also doesn't hurt any.
to be honest, there's nothing like a race to get the juices flowing for another turn of the calendar. and even though i'm only into week two of the hansons marathon method training plan in preparation for the waterloo marathon, i was able to use this event as a tempo run more than a time trial. the conditions certainly didn't lend themselves to a time trial situation, as we had snow-packed and icy road conditions underfoot and -13°C windchill temps (felt even colder than that) thanks to 40kmh+ wind gusts. in reality, this day felt very similar to the conditions that met us on jan. 1, 2014.
for a small, homegrown race this event pulls out a decent crowd - usually in and around 150 or more of the most sober post-new year's eve celebrants - ranging in age from under 10 to over 80 years of age. as i'd noted last year, orillia has a very strong and supportive running community, and this kick-off to the new year may be as popular as it is in part because one of the lead organizers of the CANIrunning team is lisa avery, the top canadian female finisher at the 2012 ottawa marathon. as a native orillian, she is not only giving back to her home community but finding that they are loving her and her efforts in return.
as for the race itself, let's keep this short and simple ...
i showed up about an hour ahead of the start time and decided to drive the course route to determine what kind of footwear to don (i'd brought pairs of both my skechers gobionic and gorun 3) and reacquaint myself with the elevation changes and number of turns. i'm glad that i did, as it was a bit hillier than i'd remembered, and the traction was far from optimal.
learning from last year - wearing trail shoes this time!
after checking in with lisa avery at the registration table i nabbed my bib and affixed it to my skechers singlet which i'd wear overtop of my winter running jacket. suited up, off i went for a 2k warm-up run, which included a bathroom pit-stop at the local mr. sub. it may have been that the employee had just opened the store for the day, or my race bib, or my frozen visage - but walking into the restaurant she stopped her mopping, stood up tall and stared at me with a dumbfounded look on her face. i might as well have been green with bulging eyes telling her to take me to her leader ... but instead i asked politely to use the restroom, and she obliged.
did i look that weird?
gathering at the starting 'chute' area with a couple of minutes to go, lisa bullhorned out a few announcements which were completely lost in the gusting wind and general crowd noise. i managed to spot a few familiar faces and exchange pleasant "happy new year" greetings. as the countdown ensued, i had one regret as i assumed the forward lean position: the copious amounts of food i'd eaten yesterday at the chinese food buffet as part of our 'christmas dinner' with my parents.
it was again a combo of 5k and 10k racers, so you couldn't quite tell which pack to pace with - i'd already determined that my goals were to make this a tempo-ish negative split run, so i found a couple of ladies to latch onto. one of them was wearing a running free vest, and it turned out to be fellow team running free barrie athlete caitlin foisy (who would end up finishing just behind me at the end of the day). the front half of the 5k was well within the mid-high aerobic HR zone (my first race wearing a heartrate monitor), though i wasn't watching my garmin so much as i was trying to go by feel.
just prior to the turnaround i noted what i thought to be five runners coming back at me for the back half of the 10k, which meant that the pack was thinning out quite a bit as i would have said that there were a good 25-30 runners ahead of me coming out of the gate.
navigating the hairpin at the start/finish line i mentally shifted into 'run harder' mode and focused on trying to keep within sight of the lanky, loping runner who was about 75m ahead. for the second half of the race i managed to do just that, although i failed to close the distance on him ... it may have been that i didn't want to shift into top gear or that i simply didn't have it in my legs to catch him as he picked up pace. or it could have been the extra plate of sushi rolls and deep-friend shrimp from yesterday.
with a final burst into the nasty headwind i crossed the line in 43:19 (21:53 and 21:26 for a negative split) - decent enough to claim 5th overall, 2nd in my age group and a 50 second improvement over last year's finish at the same race.
i kept on chugging for another 2 easy kilometres as a cool down, and then nabbed the chocolate milk out of my car as my recovery drink to go along with the timbits which were provided as post-race snack. there was a bit of milling around the food table and chats with some of the runners that i knew, but nobody seemed super keen on hanging out in the frigid lakeside environs so i didn't linger either.
so even though i violated one of my own racing objectives for 2015 it was a fantastic way to kick off the new year. kudos once again to CANIrunning and the town of orillia for hosting a wonderful community fitness event. even though i may declare that i will change up my schedule again for 2016, it's more than likely that you'll find me freezing my buns off with the other nutty competitors at couchiching beach park in 365 days' time.
how did you spend your new year's day? what are your running resolutions for 2015? as always, i'd love to be part of the conversation!