This was an aptly named race. After an 8hr day at work, most people return home, cook dinner and putter away the rest of the evening. On a friday, perhaps people head out to celebrate the end of their work week. Usually on a friday evening, I am in a kickboxing class but on this particular friday, Friday the 13th with a Full Moon, I decided to go for a 10 KM race. The Longest Day Road Race. Location? Thunderbird Stadium out by UBC. It’s been ages since I’d been to Thunderbird Stadium. In fact, the last time I was here was with Sister W to see the Lilith Fair concert back in 1999. I don’t really have a reason to come out to UBC so returning after 15 years, much has changed and yet, not. It was a good course, with several hilly sections. I gotta work on my hills more. I had examined the map of the area before hand, but I had forgotten those hills. But still it was good. I have to say that out of all the races I’ve been too, and it’s not many, this race has the best post-race party by far. You have to get a meal ticket but it’s only $10 and for that piddly amount, you get food. And I mean real food, not just bagels and bananas. There were bananas, but also watermelon, cantaloupe, grapes, cucumbers, carrots, peas, hamburgers, hotdogs, a whole variety of chips and Subway cookies, a whole slew of drinks and then there was dessert. There were four dessert tents set up. Yummy Dessert! There was a WhiteSpot dessert tent that was serving up very large strawberry tarts with whip cream. Sadly by the time I got to the front of the line, they had just run out of tart shells, so I just had strawberries and whip cream! Yum! Seriously I would do this race again, just for the WhiteSpot dessert! And if you are all about food, I would also suggest that you do the 5 KM run instead of the 10 KM because there’s more food for you since you’ll run a shorter distance. If you’re a 10 KM runner like me, it’s not that you’ll get the left over, picked over food. Oh no, it’s nothing like that. There are volunteers at all the food stations that serve the food out to you, so no one sticks their grubby paws into the food. So it was very sanitary. But you are allowed to go back for seconds and I guess the drinks tents were very popular. By the time I was done my race, there were no more drinks, so I had water. And I was fine with that, but it would’ve been nice to have at least one drink. I didn’t even get a chocolate milk! But I did get a chocolate pudding from the dessert tent to wash down the WhiteSpot strawberries and whip cream. But that’s not the point! Anyway, water! Water was still good, because there was regular water and then the fancy water that had lemon and mint? and then there was water with orange and something else green in it and then there was cucumber water and another one which was even fancier. So I really mean it when I say that I was happy with water. But for anyone finishing after me, who was looking forward to Coconut water or Chocolate milk, they would’ve been quite disappointed. So again to reiterate, if you like food, then do the 5 KM race. Or you could use the food as incentive to make you run the 10 KM faster. I think I will use it as incentive. I finished the 10 KM in 1 hour and 12 minutes. Same time as my Sun Run time. So no better and no worse. I’m quite happy with my time. Yes, I am still in the challenge with Barry, but this race has taught me a few things for the next race:
- Make use of the complimentary bag check. I don’t usually bring a lot of stuff when I run. It’s just a waist pack to hold my wallet and keys. I don’t even carry water when I run since I know where all the water stations are. But if there’s a bag check, you can leave warm clothes behind to change into after the race. And it’s complimentary!
- Clothes – Stick with the same running outfit, if possible. I wore the same top and bottom that I wore for my last race. It was the same shoes but it was a different pair of socks. And it’s not like I’ve never worn these socks before to run, but I’ve never worn them to run for such a long distance. I didn’t get blisters, but my foot did feel something at the start of the race. And then my long sleeve top was different as well. not wool this time, but some other synthetic sporty material. Stick with wool. Remember Icebreaker is my friend! And if you make use of the bag check, bring an extra cover up or light sweater and gloves for the post-race chills. Please don’t tell me you don’t get post-race chills, because that will just freak me out! Thanks!
- Remember to stretch after your run! One day later, I am now being punished for my thoughtlessness. Stretching is your friend. Especially for my calf muscles! A soak in an epson salt bath is not enough!
- Focus on how to Breathe! It’s weird, I know, to have to think about how to breathe, but it works. Faraaz gave me tips on how to breathe during my running. I tried it out on Wednesday during my long run and it was kind of weird but I definitely felt a difference while I was running, like it was easier. So I decided to follow the technique for this run. It worked, until I started thinking. And then I heard Faraaz in my head, yelling at me to get out of my head and then the run became better as I focussed on my breathing.
- Practice running on grass. The last hundred meters or so to the finish line is on grass. And even though it was just a tiny part of the race, it’s the most important part since it’s the final part. I’ve only ever run on the track and on the road. Grass is super soft and unpredictable as in unforeseen dips and holes.
- Practice running hills. I mentioned that already, but the final part of the race just before the grass, is a small hill. Big or small, a hill is a hill and after running 9 point something kilometres, ending it by going up a hill…well, that kind of sucks, until you see the finish line and then you make an all out sprint on the grass to beat the girl in front of you that’s been making stops in the middle of the road instead of moving over to the side of the road, like any courteous runner should!
So, I still have a ways to go before I can beat the challenge time, but the summer is just getting started. I have another race next weekend. Run for H2O. I don’t know if it’s a timed race or not, but that’s alright if it’s not. I will have my little iPod timer to help me out, even if it’s not as accurate as a chip timer. I’ve already driven a section of the route so I know what to expect on the road part. Tomorrow, I will run the section that doesn’t allow cars, which is right along the Fraser River.
Final thoughts on this race? I liked it. I will run this again next year. I saw my old campus all new and shiny and I forgot how nice it was down there. I even bumped into one of my former bosses along the route. He was volunteering as one of the route marker people! Sorry George to leave you hanging! I couldn’t stop long enough to identify myself to you for two very important reasons: it’s a timed race, and I needed all the little bits of breath to bring in oxygen to my legs. Maybe I’ll see you again next year, if not for the race, then certainly for the food, specifically the WhiteSpot dessert tent, which will make me run faster next year.