04 November 2016

Race report - 2016 MEC Barrie Race Series FIVE (10k)

This is actually more of an 'event report' than a race report ...

... because I think that we had more energy and fun invested in dressing up than in running it!

For this final event in the 2016 MEC Barrie Race Series our team of RunNinjas thought that it would be fun to dress up in 80s prom style - not just because it was on the weekend adjacent to Hallowe'en, but because that's kind of the way that we roll.

80s formals - embodying the phrase "awkward"

With a theme in hand I went shopping for just the right race outfit - this entailed shopping at various second-hand stores and walking into fitting rooms with several tacky dresses slung over my arm.  It took a few trips but finally I was able to find the perfect evening gown - a slinky black number with a big bow on the front.  It was fitted up top like a singlet and had a short enough skirted bottom to allow for free movement of my legs ... and it was only $5!  How could anyone pass that up?

I'd signed up for the 10k option with the thought of incorporating it into my planned workout as I was looking ahead to my goal race at the Hamilton Marathon on Nov. 6.  So the idea was to tackle by alternating kilometres at marathon pace and 10k pace - a plan which I confirmed after consulting my friend and fellow ENDURrunner Dave Rutherford who just nailed a solid sub-3 hour race in Chicago.

This time around we all showed up early for the race not just to acquire our bibs and race chips but to check out each other's outfits and snap the appropriate number of group photos.  There were more than a few other runners who opted to run in some kind of costume for the day, but we clearly were the most coordinated ... and perhaps outrageous.

A pretty stunning class photo, don't you think? [ photo credit:  Lindsey Barnes ]

As for the race itself - well it kind-of ran according to plan.  I managed to alternate efforts, but the paces were all over the place.  One of the comments that my friend Dave had made when he heard about my strategy was how it would mess with people's heads when I would surge and then back off - and it was a strange thing to see that's for sure ... and that's totally aside from what a strange sight I was in my dress and makeup (yes, I rummaged through my daughters' eyeshadow and lipstick drawers to find just the right shades to compliment my outfit).  For at least the first half of the race I was in and amongst the first five competitors in the 10k event, switching between third and fifth spot.

That was until the halfway point.

As I was coming up on the 5k mark I knew that the course was plotted as an 'out and back' - and as the four runners ahead of me plodded on past a construction truck pulled over to the shoulder I could see an MEC staff person hustling toward me only to pull up a fallen sandwich-board sign that read "5k - 10k runners turn around".  It had obviously fallen at some point and so I turned around at the right location and immediately took over the lead as the others were now beyond earshot.  I spent most of the back half of the race alerting other 10k runners either to not miss the turnaround sign or that I wasn't legitimately in first place (especially as people cheered me on thinking that I was).

Approaching the finish line I knew that I couldn't cross it first and take the top prize so-to-speak ... that and this was just a workout for me so I didn't need to prove anything to myself or anyone else.  So with just steps to go before crossing the timing mats (and with a number of my RunNinja pals hollering at me to keep running all the way through the finishing arch) I stopped in my tracks to explain the situation to the small crowd at the end and wait for those first four runners to break the tape ahead of me and take their rightful spots on the results table.


What did I do then?  Why, what I always love to do when out racing with the RunNinjas - see if there's anyone still out there that I can help to pace home!  I wound up running in with Jenny, Frank, Marcy, and finally Rad (who was being paced by Mike through the half-marathon to a stellar PB of 1:31!) to round out my day.

As so many of the RunNinjas noted on social media this was one of the most fun racing days of the year, if not of all time!

Not the one who brung me to the dance, but if I play my cards right ...! :)

Race gear for the 2016 MEC Barrie Race Series FIVE:


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