September 23, 2013

Oasis Zoo Run Race Report

by pyrad
Categories: Race Report
Comments: 8 Comments

I ran the Oasis Zoo Run 10k over the weekend. It was a soggy mess, but I did it, despite my better judgement.

It’s been quite a while since I wrote a race report like this. I had to go back a while to find the template!

Date Event Goal Time Chip Time
2013/09/21 Oasis Zoo Run 10k 1:07:00 1:08:19.7

I has published my goals in this post. I’m quite glad that I did publish them because I got a lot of great, supportive comments and messages from my wonderful readers.

One particular message from Brenda encouraged me to think of it as a training run rather than a race. A typical half-marathon training schedule would have me doing 12km this weekend, so a 10k race seems to work out.

Finisher certificate! I find myself excited by these now.
Finisher certificate! I find myself excited by these now.

The forecast said rain. It had been a while since I packed for a race, but I still remembered how. I packed a full change of clothes in anticipation. Because of the rain I decided to run without music. Didn’t want to risk losing (another) iPod to rain water damage.

I didn’t get a good night’s rest the night before the race. I misinterpreted something someone said to me the night before and it made me really upset. I was so mad that I didn’t sleep well. It didn’t help that there was a violent thunderstorm all night too.

I got up at 4:30am the morning of the race. It was still raining hard. Very tempted to give up on the race, and hide from the rain, and the rest of the world. But, begrudgingly, I had breakfast, used the bathroom and tried to get myself psyched up for a race. I was still in a foul mood, but if I didn’t snap out of it I could also use the anger.

My mom went with me to the race. She’s my unofficial coach and nurse. And though I appreciate all of you a lot, I think she’s my biggest fan.

It was still pouring rain. I brought a foil from a previous race as a makeshift poncho. Worked pretty well actually. When I was warming up it flowed behind me like a superhero cape.

Wearing a foil blanket as a cape before the Oasis Zoo Run 2013
Wearing a foil blanket as a cape before the Oasis Zoo Run 2013. This picture got a lot of likes when I posted it on Facebook

While warming up, I ran into Matt McNama. I recognized him from this post by Chaterrungirl Alice Toyonaga. Nice meeting people like that!

I settled into the very back of my corral. I was happy to be in a race corral again. Felt all the emotions rushing back. When we started, I kinda celebrated inside that at least I fought my demons, “The Blerch” and even common sense and made it to this rainy race.

Running in the rain
Running in the rain

I tried going what I considered to be very slow, like 6:23 min/km slow, plus 10-and-1’s. Started okay and chatted happily with my fellow soggy runners. Lots of random conversations with people who didn’t have headphones on. One lady is getting ready for the Chicago Marathon and I gushed about it for a while. During a walk break I chatted with someone who was doing her very first race.

Despite the rain, it was actually very warm. It was uncomfortable in so many ways: Not only was I completely soaked, but it was about 18 degrees and I was getting pretty warm.

I think I was okay until I got to about 4km and the numbness that has haunted me for months manifest itself again. Apparently, it hasn’t gotten better. I don’t know what I have to do long-term to make this better…

There was a really muddy stretch from about 3.5km to 5km. People were furiously trying to avoid deep puddles.

I got to half-way at about 33:40 or so. I was disappointed in myself, but there was nothing I could do now to make myself any better.

Over the last 5km, there are lots of little hills that quickly tired me out. I took a lot of extra walk breaks. This is the third time I’ve done the race, and I still have no idea where I am during the race. It just twists and turns everywhere and I get really confused.


Really confusing 10k course, with opportunites to cheat if you wanted to…

The course had a lot of out and backs and places where the course intersected with parts 1-2km ahead. Great for seeing other runners, but there are some suspicions that some people cut sections of the course. I wouldn’t dream of taking such shortcuts: I won’t be winning any prizes anyways, and I’d know in my heart that I cheated.

I was feeling pretty spent by 8km. At that point I just started running on anger. The euphoria of the race environment had been washed away and I was left with the bitterness of the comments I misinterpreted from the night before. That’s a pretty powerful motivater when you’re soaked, tired, and have no feeling in your left foot. But, no amount of motivation changes the fact I was pitifully gasping for air.

A soggy finish
A soggy finish

I crossed the line in about 1:08, and I wasn’t very happy. I’m sure some people would be really happy with that time. But I compare it to myself from last year and the year before, and I feel I’ve let myself down.

I grabbing a medal, food and my checked bag. I was tempted to change, but since I was already soaked and it was still raining, I decided to just stay in my completely soaked clothes for a while.

I called my mom to find out where she was waiting. She asked me my time over the phone, and when I told her I thought I heard her say “That’s bad!” Upon clarification later, she actually said “That’s NOT bad.”

In the finish area, I saw people snapping pictures with Canadian Olympian Reid Coolsaet who won the day’s race in 29:50. I am very glad to have gotten a picture with him. It looks like he’s doing the Niagara Falls Half-marathon too!

With Canadian Olympian and winner of the Oasis Zoo Run, Reid Coolsaet!!
With Canadian Olympian and winner of the Oasis Zoo Run, Reid Coolsaet!!

I also took pictures of a couple of animals in the Zoo as I made my way back to the car.

Tiger! A danger to the slowest runner ;)
Tiger! A danger to the slowest runner 😉

Back at the car I somehow managed to change. It was really nice to change into dry clothes. My medal was soaked, so I hung it on the rear-view mirror as an ornament.

Three years of Oasis Zoo Run Medals
Three years of Oasis Zoo Run Medals
Detail of the 2013, 2012 and 2011 Oasis Zoo Run Medals
Detail of the 2013, 2012 and 2011 Oasis Zoo Run Medals

I want to applaud the great volunteers, organizers and other race officials at this race. I’m always impressed by Canada Running Series events and this was no exception. But they went above and beyond keeping everything going great in the pouring rain! And excited and energetic volunteers that braved the rain for hours longer than the runners! Thank you!!

The race was a nice wake-up call of how far I’ve fallen, and how much further I need to climb. The manifestation of the numbness sucked too. I may have to go back to the Chiropractor. But at least I can still do it!

A couple days later I have an unpleasant case of sniffles. Likely related to running in the rain. Might have to ease off for the rest of the week until I feel 100% again.

Comments closed


  1. Emma says:

    Great race report Paul! Sorry the numbness issue is back 🙁 that really sucks.

    I remember thinking last year that would be an easy course to cheat on, with all the switchbacks – but it would also be hilariously easy to misjudge it and wind up running a section twice!

  2. pierre says:

    Sorry to hear you were having some emotional issues! I know how that feels. Glad you stuck through it and finished the race! Hope you solve the numbness issue.

  3. […] My mother warned me that I’d probably sick if I ran in the rain. And with all the factors leading into it, I really did get sick after the Oasis Zoo Run. […]

  4. macnic says:

    Paul you look great in those photos! So cool you met Reid. A great race back. Try to think of it as a building process. You’ll get back. Now get to the docs and figure out your leg!

  5. […] runs. A while ago I decided to shift to a half-marathon schedule, but the illness I got after the Zoo Run has shut me […]

  6. […] I received my confirmation email earlier this week and I feel a bit like someone has made a terrible mistake with the corrals. Somehow I’m in the RED corral! That doesn’t make sense! The elites will finish in less than 15 minutes. And I expect most of the red corral to finish in less than 25. What am I doing there?? Oh well. I guess I’ll squeeze right to the back of the corral again like at the Zoo Run. […]