Hey guys. Sorry it took so long to write about this- to be honest, I’ve been avoiding it. Long story short, the Army Run was a huge mess of a failure and it was really disappointing. It never really got me down, but I still wish it went better. I know I’m capable of more.
I got up early on race morning to make sure I had everything ready. The 5k started at 8am but luckily, the start is not far from my apartment. I was worried that I would not have time to go back home, so I opted to run the 5k with my fuel belt on just in case I was pressed for time. Alex was also running the 5k so we walked over together.
I was not feeling 100% great when we left. I never feel “good” on race day so I wasn’t too worried about it. Unfortunately, it was just a warning sign of things to come. Here we are going into our corrals.
The sun was shining, and it was probably about 90% humidity. Not great racing conditions, especially since it had not been that hot or humid for a few weeks. I stuck with my plan of trying to cross the line at around 29 minutes. I lined up in front of the 30 minute pace bunny and waited for my corral to cross the start line. This took at least 20 minutes which was kind of annoying. Next year, I wouldn’t leave so early. In general, the Army Run 5k is a nice course, but there are SO many people running it. It seemed like a lot of people were not honest about their pace groups (I passed ladies with walkers at the 2km mark-meaning they lined up before a 27 minute bunny??). Luckily, I was at the start of a corral so I didn’t have to dodge too much. It was still annoying though. I think they should crack down on this somehow because it would improve the race a lot.
The first disaster struck about halfway through the 5k. My freaking fuel belt broke. The stitching for one of the bottle holders came out. The bottle flipped upside down and wasn’t really secure. I ran the rest of the race with the bottle in my hand.
Disaster 2: Stomach cramps. It seems like every time I run this race, this happens. I decided to try and walk them out. They settled down enough to run to the finish. I crossed in 29:53. It’s kind of funny to be disappointed in this time. For the longest time, I could not break 30 minutes in a 5k.
I had time to walk home, so I walked there to drop off my busted bottle and to use the washroom (why use a porta potty if you don’t have to?). I walked back to the start and met up with my dad. He wasn’t feeling too good about the race either because of his knee. It only got hotter out and there was still no sign of clouds in the sky.
Based on how I felt, I knew this would NOT be a PR day so I though it would be wise to line up with the 2:15 bunny. Before the race started, I had the worst feeling that something bad was going to happen. Again, unfortunately, I was right. I tried to shrug it off and again waited my turn to cross the start line. They stagger the half marathon start too and make the corrals wait for 5 minutes while the one before it goes. This was necessary in the 5k but not justified in the half. We waited like sardines despite there not being many people. I wish they just did one big start. The half would spread out easily enough.
Also as a side note: they moved the starting canon to Parliament instead of its usual spot right beside the start line. In both races, I did not hear it go off. This is one of the coolest parts of the race and they sort of ruined it…
Anyways, back to the race. We started and I felt good for about 2 km. Then I felt weak and hot. I decided to pull over and eat some chews and try and cool down. This worked for a bit. It didn’t last long and it just got worse as the race went on. I thought I was dehydrated so I tried to drink more water. This just made my stomach cramps come back. By the time we were at the war museum (about 7 km in) I was about ready to go home. And honestly, if I was only there for the half, I would have walked home. However, because I signed up for the challenge, I wanted to finish it. They actually got a picture of me running at least
I won’t go into details about the rest of the race too much but I basically ran walked for about two hours and then only walked the last hour. That’s right- it took me OVER 3 hours to finish. It was pretty tough being so far back in the race and having so many pace bunnies pass me. And I know the crowd was trying to cheer me on, but I honestly just felt out of place. They were like “go go go, you got this!” and it was just kind of like… “I’m better than this”. Here’s a picture I took of the course.
There was never really relief from the sun and it started to also make me nauseous near the end. That was another reason I stopped running. I was already having a bad time, I didn’t want to get sick too. This is what it looks like to feel that way.
There was some shade under the bridges but the last 3 km were pure sun. I almost got sick in the canal again and actually leaned over the railing for a bit. I walked the rest of the way and crossed the finish in 3:13. Brutal. This was slower than my goal time for both races…
I never dwelled on the result of this race. I know I am better than this. I had a combination of bad luck, hot weather and what was probably poor hydration. Alex said he was said for me and I told him not to be. I can still be proud that I finished despite everything.
I never seem to do well at the Army Run. I think it is too early into the “fall” racing season for me. It used to be the last week of September, and then they moved it up a few years ago to avoid the Terry Fox run. I think the ought to move it back a week again considering the Terry Fox run fell on the same day this year. (And the following weekend also had perfect racing weather…) I think next year, I will do the 5k or 10k (they are adding one for the 10th anniversary) and not bother with the half. And I guess I learned that my stomach may not cooperate with two races with such a big gap between them.
Here’s the cool medal I earned. And I managed to hang it up with my dog tags I got.
I’ll be honest, they’re pretty cool.
A bonus to going so slow is that my legs felt better by Tuesday. So I’m trying to keep in shape for the 9runrun race in October. Hopefully that will go better. Here I am, still in good spirits after my first run back.
I’ve also joined a second soccer team so I play twice a week now. This should help with speed, and it’s fun! I’m trying to do more hill work since the Gatineau race is coming up in a month. If the Stittsville race does not go well, I will strongly consider dropping down to the 5k at the Gatineau race. If I can’t do a half on a flat course, no way will I struggle through that one.
Anyways, that’s all for now. Hopefully you enjoyed reading about my worst race ever!