West Rouge Fun Run 5km Race

I signed up for this race because it was local, about as local as a race could get. The community of West Rouge is where I live, the proceeds would be benefitting community projects, and the course is one I run practically every Saturday morning. The race also included a 10km run, but my coach said the 5km would fit in with the training better. She also said for me to do a warm up and cool down run, to get the mileage up to a total of 9km. To make life easy, I decided to run to the race as a warm up, and run home as a cool down.

The weather outlook was typical fall weather: cool, overcast, with a chance of rain. Hopefully that would hold off until after the race. Since I was running to the start line, I wasn’t going to bring any change of clothes, extra water, food, etc. Since the weather was cool and windy, and the course is along the lake, I opted for a long sleeve tech shirt and shorts.

The run to the start was non-eventful. It ended up being exactly 3km from my house. I took a nice easy, fairly flat route there. As with all my easy runs over the last 3 weeks, it was difficult for me to stay in heart rate zone 2. I’m always either on the edge, or slightly over. The wind was quite strong, and I knew that along the water it was going to be much stronger. The warm up run also told me that my choice of clothing was a good one. The stats for my warm up run are here. [Strava]

I got to the start with about 15 minutes to spare, which was good. Less time standing around in the wind. I bumped into some neighbours and runner friends who were volunteering at the race, which was cool. I think total there were just over 100 runners participating, mostly in the 5km. There were also a number of families doing the walk. Everyone was bundled up pretty well (except the experienced runners, who knew better). After some pre-race words from the race director, he counted down, and the race was on.

I don’t really have a goal for races at this point, but I figured it would be the same as the one I had run the week prior: even pace, no walking, and get in around 30 minutes. I didn’t really concern myself about what heart rate zone I should be in (note to self, need to ask the coach about that). Head up, chest out, good form, and consistent stride, those were the things I was concentrating on.

The wind along the lake was very strong crosswind, but on the way out it was more of a diagonal one from the rear. This was good, because it helped push me along the course (ha ha). I went out a bit fast in the first half, and knew that I’d be feeling it on the way back. I passed a number of other runners along the way.

At the turnaround I grabbed a cup of water and walked for 30 seconds or so, then picked it up. Sure enough, the wind was now more of a headwind, and a strong one at that. The first bit of the path after the turnaround was sheltered, but once I got out along the lake, it was very tough. My pace slowed, and I felt the beginnings of a breathing cramp. I forced myself to slow my breathing down and take deep breaths, which made the impending cramp disappear. I also started to feel it in my legs, that I’d maybe gone too fast in the first half. But, I only had 2km to go, and I could push through it.

Finally the finish line was in sight, and I crossed in 0:27:39 (Garmin time), 3 seconds faster than the Runway Run the week before. Considering that this race was considerably more difficult due to the conditions, I was pretty impressed with my time.

After the race, I hung around for the awards, grabbed some refreshments (banana, granola bar), then headed home on my cool down run [Strava]. The rain had started, but thankfully was only an intermittent drizzle. I took a shorter (but more hilly) route home, and walked part of it, again to try and keep my heart rate in Z2.

Overall, I’m happy with how things went. I seem to be making some progress, but I’m trying not to look at it too much. This is a slow build, and these races are only part of the journey. But it’s nice to get out there and push it in a race scenario.