Since the accident, I’ve only gone running three times and they were all between 2km and 3km distances. I didn’t want to rush into anything, but I’ll admit that the lack of running was driving me absolutely nutty until I laced up again!
Luckily, the short runs went as well as they could (hey, it was about 12°C outside when I last ran, not 25°C!).
I realized on Thursday through Instagram that MEC Toronto’s Race FOUR was happening this weekend and decided that this would be the best opportunity to really gauge my recovery progress.
Event: MEC Toronto Race FOUR – 5K
Date: June 19, 2016
Fees: $15CAD online, $25CAD at the race
Personal Goal: Finish the race without injury
The race also offered 10K and Half Marathon distances and took place at the Tommy Thompson area. The Annual Runner’s Expo also took place with many brand partners like Brooks Canada, Hoka One One, Nuun, Spider Tech, Vita Coco and more!
Like I mentioned, this race would be the first time attempting 5km after the accident.
I ran a few times at 2km and 3km within the last couple weeks just to gauge how I was feeling and just decided to give it a shot!
Race Day Prep
The weather forecast called for clear skies and highs of 30C, so it was going to be mighty hot and bright at 9am!
Breakfast was pretty simple: 2 slices of toast with peanut butter and Nutella, and a cup of coffee. It’s only a 5K, but I knew I’d hang around for a while after the race to check out the vendors, too.
I prepped my hand-held water bottle, white hat, light singlet and loose shorts in preparation of the race. The worst situation in my mind would be overheating during and after the race.
The TTC doesn’t operate very frequently down to Tommy Thompson on Sunday mornings so I drove down there and I was pleasantly surprised to see it fairly packed at 8:30am! I ended up parking in a plaza about a 5 minute walk away, but I always like seeing high participation rates even if it ends up being super crowded.
I actually jogged half the way to the registration tent to kind of test how my legs were feeling. Good thing I did because my hamstrings were screaming for some intense stretching!
Once I registered, I did some intense lunges and had some Spider Tech k-tape put onto my shoulders to help prevent further whiplash aggravation.
Unlike the other races I’ve been to, there’s absolutely no chance of rain! Woo hoo!
Start line – Nice hot day, light breeze, and the crowd was pretty chill for a race.
I noticed a few runners all decked in in hydration gear for the 5K, which is normally a bit silly, but I was also carrying my own little water bottle because it was so damn hot!
I also noticed a few younger runners in high-collared tshirts and longer tights who also looked a bit nervous. Uhh… I hope they’ll be okay if this is their first outdoor run. Good thing there’s marshalls all over the place!
There was also a pair of ladies in hiking shorts and sling bags. I vaguely wondered if they knew this was the MEC race, not the run/walk race for cancer that was happening the same day…
1km – The running cap helps keep the sunlight off. Very happy for the cap. Should consider getting some sunglasses but I’d need prescription ones and that’s just not happening right now…
This trail is looking pretty nice! I should come down here more often… Dave would like this area.
OH, LOOK A BIRD!
[Random running thoughts continue.]
2km – The sun’s starting to feel really hot now. At this point, I’ve really found my groove and I’m using driving rules to move ahead of the slower runners on their left.
I also noticed that there seems to be a slight issue with my left plantar fascia is starting to get a little irritated. Maybe a slight change of pace and form would do the trick…
2.5km – Hydration station and turnaround point.
I didn’t feel like I should be changing my pace and form just yet because of my foot, which was feeling much better, so I chose not to grab a cup from the volunteer and took a swig from my water bottle as I swung around the turnaround pylon.
2.75km – Oh, there’s one of those runners in high-collared tshirts. Poor thing looks absolutely miserable…
Better chug a bit more water to make it through safely.
4km – At this point, I’m wondering if it’s wise for me to be drinking so much warm water instead of cool since I’m fairly sure all the water I’m drinking seems to be dripping down my face.
A quick glance to the watch also tells me that I’m running faster than I set myself to do. Slowing it down would be a good idea, huh?
4.9km – There’s an older gentleman just ahead of me. I can beat him to the finish line.
Is he speeding up…? Oh, NO, he so did NOT just speed up! HOW DARE YOU.
KICKING IT NOW.
5K FINISH – I made it across at full sprint! I haven’t done that in a long, long time and it feels AMAZING.
I check my watch and it says 32:42. Not too shabby, all things considered!
MEC doesn’t hand out participation medals, so I just went straight back into the vendor’s area to check out the sponsors and what they were offering.
I don’t think they were allowed to sell anything (any money exchange here would’ve been a nightmare), but they gave out plenty of samples!
The folks at Eload Sports Drink has a pretty good electrolyte formula for better hydration after a hard run. Even though I drank all of my own water, the Eload drink really helped me recover a lot faster.
Although, I will say that it was the first recovery drink that I had right after the race, so I can’t tell if it’s superior to Nuun or coconut water!
I’ll also be looking out for Endurance Tap, which is an all natural energy “gel” that’s mostly maple syrup! They’re selling it online for about $3.25 per shot, so it’s not a terrible price for a start-up product.
Here’s my official results:
Overall 5K placement: 187
Chip time: 32:22.1
As usual, MEC did a great job organizing and marshalling the race!
I love MEC races because they’re much smaller than ones organized by Canada Running Series and, even though they don’t have as much swag or tech like finisher’s medals and multiple timing mats, they’re extremely professional and organized at all fronts.
Until next time!