Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Race Report: Winterman 5k 2012

(Also known as "the accidental PR".)

This Sunday morning I satisfied my craving for a starting line and some bling at the Winterman 5k, held at the Canada War Museum.  I delayed writing my race report because I was waiting for the official pictures to be posted.  Of 10 or so pictures, this is the only one I am willing to share:

I rocked my sparkle skirt from Run Team Sparkle for the first time ever, over my winter running tights and three top layers (I probably could have gone with just two) plus my winter running hat and sunglasses.  Not sure if it is possible not to look terrible running in that many layers.  At least my sparkle skirt looked awesome.

I also wore my Run for Sherry bib on my back:

I thought about Sherry a lot on this run.  I thought about what happened to her, and how lucky I was to be out there running when she wouldn't have that chance again.  I thought about how unfair it was that she was hurt in this way, and that she wouldn't be able to run again, and how it affected so many of us.  I thought about how I would feel if I got the call that something happened to my sister on one of her runs, or to my brother.  When I wanted to take a walking break I drew on thoughts of Sherry and running for her, and it got me through so many moments where I wanted to stop or slow down.  I thought about the bib on my back, and hoped that other people saw it and that they thought about her too, and maybe went home and read her story and hugged their family.

For music, I repeated my playlist from the 2011 Army Run as clearly it had helped me kick some butt before.  You can read that report and check out the playlist here.

This event was comprised of a 3k, 5k, 10k, half marathon and full marathon.  Everyone but the 3k runners started together, which helped it feel bigger than it was (there were only about 200 people running the 5k).  Everyone ran the same course, doing more than one loop if they were doing more than 5k, plus a little extra for the half marathon and full marathon runners.  There were also relay teams doing the half and full marathons.

Mass start with cannon starting pistol
The run overall went really well for me.  I meant for this to be an easy run but I settled into a fairly good but quick pace at the beginning, and let myself take advantage of a long hill that we went down around kilometre 2.  I fully blame the sparkle skirt for my speed.  (The American says maybe the four months of training since my last 5k helped a bit too.  I said pshaw it's the power of the sparkle!)

I walked through the water station because I needed a drink, then took two brief walking breaks near the end, mostly around that darn hill (what goes down must go back up on an out and back!)  At one point in a walking break an older gentleman gave me an encouraging tap on the shoulder (either that or I was in his way) and I started back running again.  Once the end was in sight I picked up the pace and finished really strong.

My official time is 33:02.6 and my Garmin ( 32:34.  My Garmin also recorded 5.04 km, although I did forget to turn it off until about 10 metres after the finish line.  I was not sure where to start my Garmin because there were no timing mats that I could see.  I realized afterwards there weren't any timing mats and everyone only got their "gun" time, which was a little disappointing as the start line was ahead of me somewhat and they were encouraging people to line up around the block, back from the start.  The difference isn't huge though so I'm not worried.

There was some confusion at the finish line because some people were finishing and some people were looping or doing a relay exchange.  I felt really bad for the volunteers because there were no signs as there had been on the route when the half and full marathoners split off.  There were a couple volunteers trying to yell above our headphones "finishers this way!".  After that though it was quick through the chute - they removed your ankle timer, gave you your medal and there was plenty of bagels and bananas.  There was water too but it was freezing in the glasses so I was glad I brought my nuun!

The "bling" was very nice.  The medals were runners in a snowflake shape and the shirts are a nice cotton with some sponsor logos and the race series schedule on the back.  The medals for the other distances were slightly different but there was no indication on the medal or ribbon what your distance was, which would be nice to have.  There is a place for an iTab on the back but I won't be ordering one this time.

T-shirt and medal
I placed 111/188 runners and 8/14 in my gender/age group (my new scary age group based on my "running age" of 30 although I won't be 30 until July!) and 62/116 women.  I realized later that if I had signed up for the Athena category (which includes all women over 150 lbs regardless of age) I would have won my category!  There were only 2 others in the Athena category and the first place finisher in that group ran in 37:47.7.  Maybe next time.


  1. Congrats on a great PR and I love the sparkle skirt! Maybe you need to wear it for every race?

    1. Thanks! I will definitely be wearing the sparkle skirt again. Going to stock up on different colours!