MEC Toronto Race FOUR – Race Report (5K)

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.

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Event: MEC Toronto Race FOUR – 5K
Date: June 19, 2016
Time: 9:20am
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!

Training

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.

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Good general rules for most races, as well as conservation areas

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!

Post-Race

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!

B.elle

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Updates and a Concussion

It’s been a looong time since I’ve posted and I’m really, truly sorry about that! It just occurred to me that it’s already June and I hadn’t posted since… January.

What’s gotten me so busy? Is it work? Is it training? Did I get abducted and go off on a crazy, Taken-like adventure?

Mostly the first two, not so much the third.

Work

I work at a start-up beverage company and things have changed a LOT in the last 6 months, so I’ve had to start reevaluating what I’m doing and I’m still currently trying to find the right action to take. There’s been a lot of background conflicts that don’t personally involve me, but it’s definitely changed the way the company functions so it’s put me in a position where I need to stand back and consider my overall career path.

I can’t really give more details, but it’s a bit of a struggle!

Training – Running

I still run and rock climb! At least, I’m still into running and rock climbing…

I had signed up for the Toronto Women’s Half Marathon that took place on May 29th. I haven’t been really training as hard as I did for the Nike 15K last year since I knew I already have a pretty solid running base to finish a half marathon. It wouldn’t be a great finish time, but I would rather finish safely than go fast and injure myself.

Since I already convinced myself of that, I wasn’t really that motivated to really push! But, I did manage to run 19km a couple weekends before the race. Yay!

But, I got a mild concussion 2 weeks before the race, so I decided not to run the race to prevent further injury.

Training – Rock Climbing

I hadn’t signed up for any competitions (I’m so not ready to compete by any defintion), but I was climbing about once a week either top-roping with friends or bouldering on my own.

I can’t really remember which grading level I left off at, but I think I had completed a couple of 5.10b routes for top-rope and I believe I had finished a few V2s in bouldering.

Luckily, my physiotherapist just gave me the green light to resume rock climbing again, but she advised that I shouldn’t go beyond 5.8 to make sure my shoulder and neck won’t be damaged.

Concussion? Physiotherapist? What happened?!

I got into a car accident on May 15th! Here’s what happened to my poor car:

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RIP Lola the Corolla

Basically, I was rear-ended by a car which was smashed into by another car being driven by a VERY drunk driver. Since my car was fairly old, the poor thing was a total write-off by the insurance companies.

It was actually caught on a dash-camera by a lovely couple who stayed behind to help out, which you can see here. (WARNING: May be disturbing for some viewers.)

A few local news outlets reported the incident and a bunch of my friends were quick to show me the video.

As mentioned in the news, the drunk driver had left the scene on foot but what they didn’t mention was that he had tried to discard valuable documents and attempted to start his car shortly after the collision.

Insane? VERY. The accident happened at around 5:50pm on a Sunday and the guy blew over 80! Who does that?!

Anyway, I could go on and on about what happened that day, but I’ll leave that for another day.

Mom was in the passenger seat and she saw the paramedics about head and neck aches, so she got examined, but I was feeling pain-free and so I opted not to be examined. I was completely aware that I’d most likely feel some symptoms in the next few days, but I could recount many details to the officers, so I didn’t think too much about it.

I stayed home the day afterwards to monitor my mom and, at exactly 11:41am, my vision blurred and my focus and concentrate disappeared instantly.

I went to the doctor’s and they sent me away without a CT scan, but they told me that I probably suffered a very mild concussion.

The next few days were incredibly surreal and frustrating for me because I was told to rest without looking at a screen or reading, which means no tv, no video games, no books, no comic books and definitely no running or climbing.

I almost went insane! I’m so used to always being in motion and recovering from a concussion really made me take a step back and chill. (As best as I could while complaining to all of my friends, at least.)

Luckily, it’s been exactly a month since the accident and I’m doing much better. In fact, I’ve already resumed a very cautious comeback into running and I’m aiming to climb again on Sunday.

This month also seems to be a month of massive change, so hopefully I’ll be posting again soon with good news!

Yours always,

B.elle

Blood Donation

I donated some blood today for the 9th time (on record, at least)!

That sounds so sketchy but I donated a few times before I got the official Canadian Blood Services donor card, so a bunch of times didn’t show up on record.

Anyway, I heard on the radio that there was a blood shortage and, since I last donated in April, I went and booked an appointment.

I’ve never had a problem with the technicians at this location and Bay and College! They’ve always been very patient and professional with everyone who walks in but they also manage to keep a calm, casual atmosphere in the clinic.

Tonight took a bit longer than usual because there was actually a small queue for the beds! It’s very reassuring to see that the blood signal and broadcasts still work and people still go out of their way to donate, especially in a bustling city like Toronto.

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Once I got into the bed, it only took about 9 minutes for me to fill a unit with blood! Apparently, it’s pretty average but my technician said that it’s actually kind of impressive since I’m so small.

(Thanks? I’m not sure how I feel about knowing that I’d bleed out and die in like 15 minutes, actually…)

Even though it took about an hour from the time I signed in to when I walked out, I would still highly recommend everyone to donate blood at least once because it literally saves someone’s life.

Plus, then you have a legit excuse to go to Fran’s diner and pig out on an all day breakfast or a giant, delicious meatloaf made in-house.

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Xoxo,

B.Elle