My first race report (for my second big race)

I’m writing this on Sunday at 4 in the hotel room where we don’t have internet (and for some reason we’re unable to purchase it even when we try). I’m taking the hint and staying off-line, but thought I would document the day for your, and my, entertainment. Especially after all the build up this week.

Also worth noting – this is my first attempt at writing a race report. It came out pretty long (probably because there’s no Twitter/Facebook to distract me). So if you tune out before the end I will totally understand.

Lisa and I arrived in Ottawa yesterday at about 1. We checked into our hotel, which was less than 5 minutes from the start line and about the same from the finish. They told us they were oversold for the night, so we were delighted to get exactly the room we had ordered (and only about a month ago — even though there was a waiting list for the hotel we found a room on Expedia).

We made the 7 minute walk to City hall and hopped on a shuttle to the expo. Picked up our race kits (side note: they only had S and M shirts left because they let you ask for whatever size you wanted. The shirts were cut small [and are also thin and white = see thru and unforgiving] and even I took an M [I had put down a small] so I’m sure there were a ton of people who ended up with shirts that didn’t fit. Sucks).

Got all sorts of goodness. The official Ottawa race merch wasn’t my style – I really wanted socks as a souvenir, but was not going to shell out big bucks for a soso top. Instead I indulged in other booths. I picked up pink running socks that say “b*tch” around the top (without the asterisk) (it was either that or High Maintenance – which is probably more true, but harder to read), some bras (I LOVE moving comfort — and they even gave me a lingerie bag which I think I was the most excited about), and a visor that says Run Girl Run. AND two stickers that have the funniest slogans:

Some girls chase boys, I pass them!

I know I run like a girl. Try to keep up.

If I was a running blog this could have made for a good giveaway item… Hmm… And Lisa picked up some funny ones too:

Will run for wine!
 Will run for beer!
Will run for Chocolate!
I also tried on the Garmin 405 so now I’ve tried both that and the 305 on which I wanted to do before ordering one…Anyway, after indulging myself, we headed back to the hotel on foot. We grabbed a bite to eat at the same pub Lisa lunched at last year, and then walked along as the 5km runners were racing. The end of their course was the same as the end of ours so that was useful. In particular, saw how during the last kilometre there’s an overpass that looks like it would mark the finish – but is actually still about 100m away. Helped knowing that ahead of time! We also picked up a bottle of wine when we passed the liquor store. I loved having my race bag on my back with the top of the bottle sticking out! Hehe. (We have yet to open it)

The rest of the day was pretty relaxing. Headed out to an earlyish dinner and walked along the street. Lisa got a mint aero bar that she declared would be her post run treat. We saw the cutest cupcake at a bakery. I decided that would be my post run treat – I asked the baker who reassured me there would be fresh ones in the morning, so decided would pick one up after brunch. Had some quality time with my “The Stick” that N gave me as a congrats/good luck gift. We were in bed by 10:30.

I had vivid dreams all night about having forgotten stuff for the race. Three times pretty much the same dream with different items. I kept waking up and being like “Jenn, you’re in your hotel room and your [sports bra/ipod/water belt] is here too! Now go back to sleep”. Made it until about 7:15 and then decided getting out of bed would be a good idea. Had a few egg muffins (oatmeal and egg whites – breakfast of champions!) and got dressed and ready.

Was super hyper leading up to the race. Joan and her Jen met Lisa and I in our room, and we headed to the start line (5 minutes away). I couldn’t make it up to my corral, so started further back. More people to pass, I figured. And then the race began. 5 minutes later we started to move, and 5 minutes after that we crossed the start line! I took off, leaving Joan, Lisa and Jen, and started running. All the crowds were super smiley and I really had fun for the first bit – I love when kids want to give you high fives. A few times I got “left hanging” but I didn’t take it personally. Going into Gatenau was cool. Loved the French cheers of Bravo!

I didn’t love the heat. It was really sunny, and there wasn’t much shade. At the first water station I watched a woman dump a cup of water in her hat, and told her she was very smart. I then did the same thing at every other rest stop. I also loved the sprinkle stations set up. It was so hot! There were no sponges when I ran through those stations (unless you count all the colourful foam underfoot!) which was a bit disappointing. Not that I needed the sponge that badly — I was just really excited about them because I hadn’t ever had a sponge station before! Something to look forward to I guess.
I kept pacing next to different people. First I followed a woman with a Jiggle Bum (is that mean? Yeah, it is. But it’s not like I know her name or bib number). When I lost her, I paced after a woman with blue stuff in her water belt. I stayed on her for the middle 10km I figure. But at around 16km it started getting tough. I was using my sleeve more frequently as a kleenex, and felt the need to take walk breaks. I had decided I wasn’t going to kill myself, so tried to find a good balance between pushing myself, but not pushing too hard. I was annoyed that I needed to walk inside the last 3km, but I kept going which is what matters. My calves started to seize up around 750m to go and are still cranky. Ow.

Crossed the finish line at about 2:24 gun time, and don’t know my chip time yet. I figure it’s about 10 minutes faster than that. Got my silver blanket.

Oh yeah, want to know how to confuse your pace entirely? Switch from km to miles. Yes, my ipod decided to speak Miles this morning (have no idea why). I couldn’t believe how long the first kilometer seemed – and then all of a sudden it was all “One mile completed”. Um, what? It’s never done that before – I never even thought to check the settings! So I had no idea how fast I was going. Which made it easier for me to take it easy. And again, I forgot to end my workout when I crossed the finish – shiny medals are distracting! But when I turned it off about 10 minutes later I still hadn’t hit 13.1 on the ipod. Maybe I need to re-calibrate? Or maybe I just need a Garmin. Whatever the solution, it was still great to hear Paula telling me I had completed my longest workout yet.

Made my way quickly through the finisher area, chatting on my phone to N and mom while looking for the exit gate. Went to meet up with Other Lisa, who was also there with her fiancee, and said a quick hi. Then I went to our meeting place and waited. For an hour. I had fun chatting with people. A 65 year old marathon runner from Baltimore (he looked so young!) and a woman who had just finished her first half and was waiting for her family (she didn’t know how to text, so I texted her husband to let him know where she was). Then my phone rang and it was Lisa calling from the hotel. They didn’t see me and had left — boo. She offered to come grab me because she knew I wouldn’t find the hotel (Yes, I did tell you that the hotel was 5 min away, but my sense of direction is actually *that* bad).

At the hotel hung out for a few minutes with Joan and Jen’s families. Cute kids. I think I won the “Who loves Hello Kitty the most” battle. Wooh!

After showering and getting ready (read: popping blisters) Lisa and I headed to the pub down the street for brunch. Then went to pick up some Epsom salts (and Traumeel too!) AND my cupcake – but they were SOLD OUT! Bah! I guess it wasn’t meant to be. Which is okay – lots of indulging to come at dinner tonight and in VEGAS on Friday!

And now I’m fresh out of my Epsom salt bath, with calves that are coated in cream. I have my medal around my neck and I am happy! Which is a great way to end this report. Can’t wait to write the next one!

6 Responses to “My first race report (for my second big race)”

  1. Rebecca Says:

    Jenn, I’m so proud of you – and so happy you managed to do it considering how you feeling last week!
    So now the question is … what was the playlist? 🙂

  2. jenn Says:

    Thanks so much! So, my playlist was a sandwich – first a podrunner podcast, then some indulgent music, and finally Girl Talk’s Feed the Animals (the continuous track). I actually didn’t make it to Girl Talk – I knew I wouldn’t unless I skipped songs, which I didn’t end up doing. That said, not all of the songs got me excited, so I need to do some pruning before next time…

  3. Heather Says:

    Nice work! Congratulations! Sounds like a positive experience afterall. You’ve already got next race to look forward to 🙂
    ps. I love my “stick” too. It’s one of the best gifts you could give a runner!

  4. Marlene Says:

    Congratulations on your first half! Sounds like you handled it really well in the heat. That was tough!

  5. jenn Says:

    Thanks! It was actually my second half – did the Scotia Bank last fall.
    Now the countdown is on to my third: Aug 16 in NYC! Now *that* should be hot!!

  6. jeff Says:

    i wish there was a facebook-like “thumbs up” that I could click on for this report…

    oh Mark Zuckerberg…save the entire internet with your infinite wisdom…

    nice race!

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