Hey! I’m a little late on this but I’ve been pretty busy trying to wrap up the rest of my thesis. (Side note: I successfully defended it a few weeks ago and only have some editing left to do!).
Let’s get into it. The Army Run added a 10k race this year since it was the 10th anniversary of the run. Although I am in marathon training, I opted for the shorter race distance. I’ve found in previous years that this race falls too early in September and is usually hot. It also has a 9:30 start for the half marathon time, so if it was a hot day, it would not be PR conditions. Boy, did this gamble pay off. We had a two week heat wave in Ottawa which spanned over this weekend. I would have been disappointed if I had signed up for the half. I’m pretty sure I am in PR condition, but would not have been able to go for it on that day.
I also thought the 10k would be a cool idea for a fitness check since I had done one close to the start of my training cycle. I finished in 59:14 on a hot day and a difficult course. In any case, I wanted to see how marathon training affects my 10k time.
I was in a lull of thesis work so I headed to the race kit pickup when it first opened on the Friday at 11 am. I believe in previous years it normally starts earlier. When I got there, it was absolute pandemonium. Everyone who works downtown must have taken their lunches early specifically to go to the pickup. I didn’t mind because I wasn’t in a rush. It took me about 15 minutes to get my bib, and then another 20 minutes to get the chip activated. Although it seems slows, given the amount of people that were there, the volunteers were working very quickly and efficiently.
The shirt pickup was in a tent outside of City Hall and was much less crowded. I heard a very rude lady get mad at one of the volunteers. She wanted her shirts even though she hadn’t picked up her bibs. I was so disappointed; the running community is normally so supportive and nice. This lady was crazy. I talked to the volunteer after to thank her for doing a good job.
I also watched some of the live performance on the stage. He was good! It was pretty relaxing sitting in the chairs on such a nice day.
I did walk through the expo, but I didn’t really need anything so I headed home after this.
On the Saturday, I didn’t really do too much. I actually can’t remember what I did that day, so it must have been pretty relaxing. I had my usual pre-race meal of chicken and potatoes and tried to head to bed early.
Since I am in training, I wanted to run more than 6.2 miles for the day since that’s not really far enough. So I decided to do a 20 minute shake out run and then I would try to do another 20 minutes after the race if I was feeling ok. I woke up on race morning to a really humid, warm morning. There was some cloud cover so it wasn’t scorching hot yet. My warm up run went well and I was already soaked with sweat despite going slow. I got changed into my race clothes and headed out.
I didn’t really have a goal for this race. Because the forecast was showing brutal, hot, and humid weather, I knew it would be a tough day for running. We hadn’t really had weather like that for awhile, so I was not used to running in it. I knew I was in PR shape, but didn’t want to push too hard, too fast. So I set out with the goal of running the first half easy (no time goal, just whatever pace felt comfortable), and then would try and finish strong.
I have a few complaints about the Army Run this year. The first is that although they made us choose corrals when we signed up, I could not for the life of me find anything saying what the predicted finishing times were for each one. This caused a lot of confusion for people trying to make sure they were starting in the right spot. This is important because some people may sign up for faster corrals, hoping to be in that shape, and then realize come race day that they should actually start further back. I’ll get into my other complaint after.
So I signed up for the second fastest corral, which I have no idea what time I thought I would finish in. I heard one lady saying that it was the 45 minute and under section to a man asking her. I told the man that it couldn’t have been right because I would not have picked that corral! I wish I could run that fast!
I went to go line up and found the first two corrals almost completely empty. I found a spot near the back of the second one and just stayed there because I felt like I was too close to the front and didn’t want to be in the way. This is my second complaint: even though I was so close to the front, there were still people walking in front of me! Army Run, please enforce the corrals a bit more! This was dangerous. They could have been trampled. This was also exasperated by people doing the Vimy Challenge. As soon as they finished the 5k, they hopped into the front of the corral because they were worried about being late. Ugh.
I think a solution to this problem (and the first one I mentioned) would be to put the corral times on the flags. I think this would scare some sense into walkers who decided to line up with people running 40 minute 10ks.
Now to the race. As I said, I ran the first half pretty easily. I would have liked to go a bit faster than I did, but the first 2-3 kms were spent dodging people walking. The course route didn’t help with this either since it only widened later.
The route was decent, a few hairpin turns but pretty flat. They set up lots of misting stations and the water stations were well stocked. I made sure to go through all of the mist!
I hit the halfway point in around 29 minutes. I felt pretty good. We lucked out that the start was early. The sun was still low enough that the buildings shaded us for the first 6 km. I felt better than I thought I would, so I decided to go for it. This worked pretty well until km 7 where we ran back into direct sunlight. This took a toll but I tried to hold on and finish strong.
I could tell I was running a strong race because I was passing people throughout the second half. I didn’t make a sprint for the finish because I knew it was getting hot and didn’t want to be the girl passed out at the finish line. I finished in 56:46 and am super happy with this time. I know I am capable of faster given that I started very slow, and it was a hot day. I also slowed down through the misting stations too. Here are my splits.
Here I am at the finish!
Unfortunately, I didn’t get many race pictures because I was always behind a tall person! I am ok with this because I’m sure they wouldn’t have been glamour shots haha.
I ran my 1.5 cool down miles, showered, ate, and then headed back to the finish to wait for my dad. He did the half. I showed up with ice water, an ice pack, freezies and a wet towel because it was really getting hot. He still did well despite the heat but he knows he can go faster!
That picture was before I started.
All in all, I had a good time at the Army Run. I have run it for six years straight and it’s always fun. I was disappointed with the corrals, but everything else was great. I am also encouraged by my 10k time with my marathon coming up. I’ll do a post soon about my goals for it, but this is the highest mileage training cycle so it should be a good one!