Harry’s Spring Run-Off 5K Race Report (Long)

Before I report the race results I want to let you know that I had the best intentions, I tried to do right, and I wanted to post a fair (and fast time). I never wanted to post a fast time, or an age-group placement by cheating. My goal was to place in the top at least 15, and I would consider it a bonus if I placed in the top 10. I knew my legs could do it, I ran 5k with a pace of 5:10/km a week before the race – but I didn’t really get the opportunity to prove myself.

OK, so by now you’re all thinking – what on earth is Janice talking about, right? On Saturday I ran in the Harry’s Spring Run-Off 5k race at High Park in Toronto. I was supposed to run the 8k with my best friend, but I just didn’t have the registration money in my budget. By the time I did have the money for the race the 8k had sold-out, but thankfully there was a 5k I could do, and because it was after the 8k, there was time for me to arrive early and cheer my best friend on. So I registered for the 5k.

I was *supposed* to go to the race alone, cheer on my best friend and have a nice lunch with her afterwards, leaving the kids in my hubby’s capable care. However, as I was leaving hubby changed his mind and asked if I could bring them (the kids really wanted to come and were bugging him to go because they LOVE watching mommy run). Since my best friend’s race was going to be done 30 min before mine started, she could look after them for the 27min it was going to take me to run the race.

We quickly packed the kids, their associated paraphenalia (snacks, drinks, sunscreen, toys etc…) and my double jogging stroller up in the SUV and I drove to the nearest subway station. I put together the jogger at the station, and fanangled the beast down stairs, up escalators and onto the subway – the TTC (in particular Kipling Station) is very accessible if you have a wheelchair parking pass, but the parking lot is not accessible for people with strollers – shame on you TTC! Sadly – not a single employee helped me! They should have in the very least pointed me towards the elevators, or helped me with the gates – and trust me on this – a nasty letter is going to be sent to them. Not that they’ll care. Why did I bring the jogger? With close to 5000 participants that day, cheering crews and volunteers milling about, I wasn’t sure if I would find my best friend there and would then have to push the kids in the jogger through the race.

We got to the race after the 8k had started, so I decided to line up and get my race bib and timing chip right away. Then the kids and I made our way through the crowds to the finish line area near the runner’s exit. I figured the easiest way to catch my friend was to scream at her as she excited the chute. Thankfully my best friend was easy to spot! We saw her pass by us once (the 8k was a double loop), and she was going slower than I had anticipated. Not that she’s a slow runner or anything, but the weather was hot, and her race didn’t start on time. I knew the moment she went by that we would be pressed for time. I *should have* brought the kids to the porta-potty at that time, but hind sight is 20-20.

My best friend finished her race 10 min before my race started. Only the start line for my race was a km away, and the kids were now whining that they had to pee (so did I and so did my best friend). The 8k finishers didn’t want to let me & the kids butt in the porta-potty line, so we waited our turn. I figured my race was chip timed so it wouldn’t matter if I got there on time or not. I was wrong…

I left the kids with my awesome best friend and I jogged to the start line. I got there just as the lead runner was passing through again – the 5k also had a loop, so I let the speedy guys go by first before I jumped into the pack and started the race. I kept looking for the turn off. I asked the volunteers at every corner where I should turn off – not a single one knew. As the I neared the 3k mark I found a race official and asked where I needed to run back to to turn – he said I missed the turn (duh – I knew that) but he didn’t want me to run backwards against the pack, so I kept on running near the lead group. My legs were going faster than I have ever gone before and my lungs were hanging out. As I crossed the finish line I saw the time: 25:36, and I looked down at my ipod – I ran 3.75k in 18:49. I ran a pace of 5:00/km.

After the race I met up with my best friend & the kids (it didn’t occur to me what I would do if I couldn’t find them after) and we all hung out at the playground, then went for a pizza lunch together.

When I got home I looked up my finishing time – I “placed” 7th of 162 women my age. I figured that I would be recorded as a DNF because my chip missed the turn off mat – I was wrong! My “25:36” finish at a pace of 5:06/km was good enough for 7th place. The shitty part is I didn’t really earn that 7th place, and some other woman trying for a top-ten missed her chance because of me. I feel like a ball of crap for that, even though there were no prizes. On the other hand – I really did run that pace for the part of the race I did do – and had I not started almost 7 min late, I could have actually placed.

Sigh – lessons learned – show up for the race on time, and be familiar with the race route. I guess I’ll just have to try again for a top-ten finish, sometime AFTER my new case of very painful plantar fascitis heals. 6 more weeks until my half-marathon attempt, but don’t expect any age-group placement out of me for that – I’m faster at 5k’s and 10k’s and hubby keeps telling me I should just concentrate on training to run those fast.

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