A Human Race

12 07 2015

Today the QE clan were out in force for the Fort Langley 5km run. It meant – painfully – getting up on a Sunday at 6am and getting there for the race start at 8am. Last born didn’t come home from “talking with friends” until 2:30am, just as an indication of how seriously we were all taking this race! Luckily the traffic is light at that time on a Sunday, and we were there in plenty of time to make use of the porta-loos. It’s more tradition and routine than actual bodily necessity. Same thing at the Sun Run. Everyone queues for the loos before the big off.

I did zero training for this race… and now it’s over I can tell! I did go to the gym on Wednesday, to be fair. However, I discovered they’d swapped out all my favourite cardio machines for new ones, and the elliptical trainer I ended up with was way more sophisticated, with lots of bells and whistles and a most unusual motion to it. It gave a constant heart rate reading which wasn’t as entertaining as expected since my atrial fibrillation doesn’t seem to kick in when I’m actually exercising. It can however give quite variable results for HR monitors depending on how smart their software is. The session seemed no more difficult than usual, and I left the gym feeling pretty cocky. Within minutes though, I felt my calves burning, and a subsequent discussion with my super-lean daughter leads me to believe that the gait imposed by the new machine was subconsciously causing me to “run” on my toes and so stressing my calves more than my usual flat-footed gait on the older machines.

The next day was my weekly appointment with Grouse Mountain and though my calves were still sore, some stretching (thanks Bunbury) definitely helped me avoid cramp. They were still a bit sore at the end, but no worse than before. Friday and Saturday I took care to do plenty of walking to keep them moving, but didn’t over do it with any runs or gym sessions. Sunday then, I was anything but prepared for the run.

What the hell, “YOLO” as Number 2 offspring loves to say.

The route had changed a little since last time I did the race. They’ve added a “parade loop” and had beefed up the timing system to more accurately track all the moving parts.

Race Route showing initial "parade loop" then 2x main loop

Race Route showing initial “parade loop” then 2x main loop

The turn-out was low at only 83 souls, perhaps because of the recent hot weather or smoke palls. It was a little humid still, but last night’s rain helped a lot. We’ve been needing it for ages.

The race followed the loops in an anti-clockwise direction. It was interesting how the very slight climb on the NE-SW leg up Queen St. then Bartlett St. was such hard work. I’m convinced that had it not been already well into the race, or indeed if you were just walking, you’d barely notice it. The second time round though, it felt like Everest…

Success is a personal thing!

Success is a personal thing!

As you can see from the charts, I wasn’t exactly leading the field. However, I am in marketing and would therefore like to point out the following:

  1. I finished under my own steam and didn’t require the use of an ambulance.
  2. I ran the whole way.
  3. I wasn’t last in the race, my gender (interesting it’s not moved on to “sexual self-identity”) or even my age group – though only just by that particular measure.

No matter how many times I tell myself “it’s just me and the clock” or “it’s just the taking part”, I have to admit that not being last does seem to matter! Now it’s behind me, and I seem to be breathing quite normally, I do feel a little smug. Not with my time per se (though it was pretty much exactly half my 10km Sun Run time), but more because I did it.

I got up early, ran a race and walked away under my own power. I didn’t stop or walk (the two ladies just ahead of me frustratingly stopped to chat over water whilst I plodded past them victoriously, only to power past me again on the last 1/2km) for the entire race, and – as reported earlier – I hadn’t really trained like I should have. I’m not making any excuses. Just like all those primary school reports I remember so well: “could have done better with a little more effort”.

But then again… where were you? 🙂

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