On Saturday November 5th, I participated in the Cookie Run 10k, hosted by Run Ottawa. I planned on packing it in on the racing from after the Fall Colours 1/2 Marathon on October 9th, which was my ‘redemption race’ for the Army Run 1/2 marathon, when I struggled through most of the race and didn’t achieve a goal I knew I was capable of. Fall Colours ended on a high note for me. I dropped my 1/2 marathon PB from 1:33:45 to 1:27:08, was the first place female and time qualified for the 2017 NYC Marathon. I registered for the Cookie Run 3ish weeks ago whenever I stumbled upon information for Ottawa Race Weekend.

I learned that the Elite B Standard for the Race Weekend 10k was sub 40 minutes. A little voice inside me said “you can do it”. I thought I might be able to, as long as everything was working in my favour on race day. I’ve actually never raced a 10k before, so my strategy of ‘run as fast as you can and hang on for as long as possible’, was a strategy I wasn’t really use to, and I wasn’t sure if it would actually work. I also wasn’t familiar with the course. I knew I’d need to break out my ‘serious’ race shoes – Saucony Type A – for the occasion [which is also just another excuse to run in them ;)].

I met up with some of my friends – Erin (who ran to a PB in the 5k at the race!) and Heather, and Team Awesome 2017 members prior to the race. Heather and her daughters were kind enough to come cheer us on [and hold my spike bag for me ;)] I lined up at the VERY front of the line and waited for the race to start. I run with music – I have asthma and can’t handle listening to my breathing when I run. I honestly couldn’t tell you a single song that played during the race. I was so in the zone and the race was so much of a blur. I knew that one ‘bad’ kilometre could throw the whole race for me and I so badly wanted to see the clock with a 39:something on it when I crossed the finish line.

The course was two loops of the 5km course. Around the 1km mark my Nuun hat flew off of my head, but I couldn’t let it distract me. I just remember checking my Garmin for pace and telling myself to keep going. A few hundred metres from the 5km mark I saw Heather and her daughters. I don’t remember my average pace at this point, I think it was 3:42/km.

Almost 5k in, the smile is my pain face

I ran up the small hill to kick off kilometre 6, and then started running into some of the people running the 5k event. This made the second lap a bit more challenging, as I had to weave around a bit more. For the first 5k, I just kept my eyes on a pack of guys at the front and chased. I spent the rest of the race telling myself to keep going and was ticking off the kilometres in my head. I saw Heather and her girls again near the finish and I could see the clock. I crossed the finish line in 37 minutes 54 seconds. I ended up running 10.2km at an average pace of 3:43/km. This is definitely the fastest I’ve ever raced. Having never raced a 10k before, I was simply relieved to run it in under 40 minutes.

Just before the finish line
Award for 1st place female

This was my third major running accomplishment of year:

  • Qualify for the 2017 Boston Marathon – 3:17:35 at the  Ottawa Marathon, was returning from an injury and 10 months after having a baby. It was also my first marathon.
  • Qualify for the 2017 NYC Marathon – 1:27:08 at Fall Colours in October
  • Run the Elite B Standard for Ottawa Race Weekend 10k – Cookie Run!

This was also my last race for the year, as I need to take a bit of time to recharge before I begin my Boston Marathon training. I may have lost my hat, but when I look back on everything that I’ve accomplished in 2016, it makes me so excited and more determined than ever before. 2017 is going to challenge me in so many new ways, but I’m ready.