Friday, December 26, 2008

Race Report: Boxing Day 10-Miler

Several weeks ago Marci mentioned the 88th Annual Boxing Day Run, which immediately caught my interest. I typically spend Boxing Day lazing around the house recovering from the previous day's festivities and I knew this event would (a) get me off by butt and (b) keep me running over the holidays.

My preparations for the race were certainly not typical - I spent most of the afternoon nibbling on chocolate, feasted on turkey with all the fixins for dinner and even had a few glasses of wine. Nonetheless, I climbed into bed at 10 to ensure that I at least had a good night's sleep. And that I did! I slept like a rock and woke up at 7 feeling refreshed (one thing I love about winter races - they don't start at 7).

We picked up our friend U. and drove to Hamilton where we picked up our bibs, used the washrooms and kept warm at the YMCA until the 11:00 AM start.

Being my first 10 miler, I took comfort in knowing I would have a PR no matter what. Still, I set a somewhat arbitrary goal of 1:30. I was really looking forward to the distance because in all three of my half marathons, I have 'bonked' around the 10-mile mark and struggled to the finish line. I had low expectations, but hoped it would be a good race.

We certainly would not complain about the weather. In fact, we overheard some runners discussing the fact that they had not had such perfect conditions for the event in years, right around zero Celsius (32F) and overcast with only a slight breeze.

Hubby (speedster that he is) took off ahead, while U. and I stuck together. During the early miles, we continuously reminded each other to watch our pace and slow it down. We were targeting 5:30 kilometres (8:51/mi) and kept catching ourselves getting caught up in the masses, closer to a 5:00 (8:03) pace.

Still, we were feeling pretty good and comfortable enough to maintain our conversation, so we just ran with it. (heehee)

The route took us primarily along waterfront (paved and cleared) trails and the scenery was beautiful, especially through the marina. We faced several climbs (some steep, some gradual), but also enjoyed some nice downhills.



Our pace remained consistent as the miles ticked by, and we hit the half way point at 42:31, way ahead of schedule for my targeted 1:30:00 finish. I started tiring slightly and slowed a little, but U. kept me going and stuck by me, even after I encouraged him to go ahead. I was definitely thankful for the company and managed to keep my pace up. We walked briefly through each of the three water stations and I took one gel around the 6 mile mark.

And then came mile 7 with a long, steep climb up the mountain escarpment. It was ridiculous. Almost everyone walked, but I kept running - although it was more of a shuffle and I certainly wasn't moving much faster. Not surprisingly, this was our slowest kilometre split at 6:01 (=9:41/mi).

The next mile or so took us along unpaved trails, which were pretty slushy and muddy. Being so late in the race, I really didn't mind getting a little wet/dirty. I found that I had an extra bounce in my step (either the Gu kicking in or the knowledge that we were getting closer to the finish, or both) and made up for any time lost on the mountain hill with a 4:59 kilometre (=8:01/mi).

We soon passed the 9 mile marker and found ourselves back on local streets. We took advantage of a nice decline a clocked our fastest split approaching the finish. I saw the clock and was pleased to discover that I came in way under my goal.

The Stats:

10 miles
Chip Time: 1:25:10
Pace: 8:31/mile
F25-29 Place: 8/28
Overall Place: 325/753

Here's a quick pic that U. snapped of hubby and I at the finish:



We took advantage of some yummy refreshments being offered at the Y (hot soup, buns, fruit and gingerbread cookies!) before heading home for a relaxing afternoon. This was definitely a good way to spend Boxing Day and I hope to do it again next year... to set a 'real' PR. ;)

23 comments:

RunningLaur said...

Wow, congrats on hitting your goal! I can't imagine having all those hills - my recent 10 mile was flat flat flat. Great job!

Julianne said...

Those elevation changes are crazy!! Good job on running up the hill on mile 7! Great job on your first 10 miler. And yep, it's a PR, alright! :-)

Zorbs said...

Ahh, yet another of my long run staple routes. We start either at the waterfront or in the high school parking lot so That Hill is pretty early on in the route.

My running partner did this race, but as much as I like running, I like shopping more!

Melanie said...

Great run!! Congrats to the three of you getting out there today! Any PR is a great one! :D

Denise said...

Yea! Congrats!! You did great.

And thanks for putting in the pace per mile conversion...I SO need that!!

joyRuN said...

Congrats!! That's an awesome time :) Way to come in under your goal.

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

Wow! Great job on the boxing day run. Woot!

Road Warrior said...

What a great time, Marlene! You should be psyched. You're definitely going to hit 1,000 miles now!

Blyfinn said...

Sounds like you had a great time. I'm a little jealous. I think you got great weather for up there.

Lily on the Road said...

Sounds just perfect!!

Isn't the escarpment a scream...be prepared for the Around the Bay!

Marky Mark said...

Great that you did it and congrats on that time (especially your placment)!

yumke said...

Sounds like a great race. I was in the hammer yesterday at a friend's place. You doing ATB next year, right? Fun races in Hamilton.

Marci said...

Marlene, I'm sorry that I pooped out on you, I've just been very lethargic lately. I actually had a decent run yesterday, but I made the right descision not to race, I just wasn't up to it. You did great, Moe said the course was hillier than ATB in his opinion. Hope you and Mark are enjoying your holidays!

Shoe Running said...

Dang! Way to go climbing up all those hills :) You rock! And your first 10er!

J said...

Congrats on a great race! I am so glad that you ran faster than your goal and got a great PR especially in the winter months!! Keep up the good work! Enjoy the season!

Heather said...

Nice race! I think the 10 mile distance is just about perfect. Glad you had such a good first experience.

The Happy Runner said...

Congratulations on the 10miler, and for beating those hills!

Sonia said...

Good job at the race! You were mighty fast! 5 mins ahead of shedule is great =)

RECkate said...

Way to go! Btw...I LOVE your tat! :)

BeachRunner said...

Killer hills. Congrats on a great job! Nice pic too. :)

X-Country2 said...

Sounds like a great race! Are those snowmen on your race bibs? Awesome.

Brian said...

Awesome job! Love the snowmen on the bib!

lindsay said...

great job on the 10-mile pr! you killed your goal, and the fact that you ran up the hills while others walked is amazing.