December 13, 2011

Santa Shuffle Race Report

by pyrad
Categories: Race Report
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I didn’t expect to write a race report for a little 5k run, but there are so many things I can talk about. But, here is my little story about little race and its spills and thrills in Mississauga on December 3.

I wasn’t even sure I was going to do this race. With the Disney Marathon less than 6 weeks away, I was hoping to do long runs every Saturday in addition to my Sunday long runs. A Saturday race would effectively rob me of that second long run. It wasn’t until I learned someone else from my clinic was doing this race that I registered. I also made a donation to the partner charity because I felt was appropriate to the Christmas spirit.

I did the local Santa Shuffle last year, but it was at a different location. Naturally, this year would have a different route. I welcome that because last year’s route was less than 5km which threw me off.

It was a cool morning, but I remembered from experience not to dress to warm because I knew I would warmup a lot during the run. The long pants turned out to be a life-saver…

Before the race, I ran into the 5k clinic that meets at the same Running Room as my half-marathon clinic. It was nice to know someone rather than being all alone. I didn’t see any sign of the person from my clinic, but that didn’t surprise me because she was coming with a group of her own friends.

The race started about 20 minutes late. I wasn’t surprised. They had a huge rush of people registering on the day of the race, and they had only one person to check in the pre-registered folks and register new people. The announcer said there were about 400 people in total for the race!

I was in the middle of the pack before the race started. I correctly assumed that a lot of the people at the front weren’t seasoned runners. I darted around several dozen people and got into an open area. I wanted to keep a pace of about 5:30 min/km. For the first 1km a lot of people passed me but I tried to stay at a constant pace. About 1km in a young, blond woman in a turquoise jacket and a ponytail passed me. She had a good pace so I decided to keep up with her. We passed quite a few people before the first lap ended.

The course was designed to do a 2.5km route twice. When I crossed the lap point, someone yelled out that my time as 13:42. That sounded great to me! I also begrudgingly thought “only half way!” Not long after the half-way point, the blonde dropped back. I spent a while chasing a 14-or-so year old girl. I think there was a middle-school cross-country team doing the race too.

My muddied gear following the Santa Shuffle 2011

About 500 meters from the finish line, I caught up with some walkers who were still finishing their first lap. I tried passing a group of them but tripped or slipped on something. I fell hard! The next few moments are a bit of a blur. I know I cried out when I hit the ground, and I vaguely remember some lady trying to help me up. I know I got up as quickly as I could, shrugged off her help and bolted towards the finish line. It’s kind of funny looking back at that moment: I don’t really remember the fall or getting up. All I remember was the drive to keep going, no matter what.

I crossed the finish line in 27:35, according to my watch. It’s nowhere near a personal best, but I’m very happy with the time. It means I kept a constant pace of about 5:30 min/km for both laps. That’s a pretty good tempo run if I do say so myself!

Throughout the race my feet hurt a lot! I was running in Saucony Kinvaras. I love how light the shoes are, but I suspect my form and my >200 pound body are not suited for the soft soles. I think I’m going to retire these shoes.

After the race is when things got a little ugly. I finally checked my body for damage from the fall. I was wearing long pants, so I didn’t see the blood underneath. I noticed the mud on my back, pant knees, shoes, race belt and my gloves were pretty destroyed. Lifting up my right pant leg I noticed a lot of blood coming from my knee and all down my leg. I kind of wished I took a picture of that! I went inside, cleaned off the wound with a first aid kit and put some Scooby-Doo band-aids on my knee.

I thought it would be an awesome scar. It scabbed over quickly, but the scab fell off about a week later, leaving almost no mark of my little adventure. Bending my knee during running or going up stairs was a little bad for a week because the scabbed skin did not bend very easily. the morning after the race, I noticed pain in my left ankle and back which probably came from the fall. Nothing I couldn’t handle.

Based on that 5k time, the McMillan Running Calculator estimates I could run a half-marathon in 2:07. That would be nice at Disney.

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