Two weeks ago Dan and I ran our first race of 2012, the Chocolate & Champagne 5km, in Whitby. It was also the first time we would compete in the “couples” division.
We have been pretty spoiled this winter in Southern Ontario with, well, not much of a winter. We haven’t really had to deal with cold weather gear or running through snow, so of course the day before this race, it snowed. Dan and I did a 20km run through the snow and were reminded how slow it can make you and just how taxing it can be on the legs, nobody was going to have an advantage at this race.
Morning of the race was cold, but at least it wasn’t snowing, however the course took us along a waterfront path that is not winter maintained, the bit of road we ran on also didn’t seem to be winter maintained!
Thankfully we were able to wait in the warmth of the marina and the start line was literally right outside the door. I always worry about getting lost when running a new course and the map that was provided didn’t ease my fears any.
I don’t know why I worry when I know I wont be first and just need to follow the runners in front of me but things can happen, just recently someone moved a sign in a half marathon and many runners did not complete the full distance. The start of the race was delayed slightly because the organizers couldn’t find the lead bicycle rider, that was because he was bogged down at one end of the course, he eventually appeared and we were off.
Dan has been helping me with my seeding issues and forced us right to the front, I was uncomfortable with this but he pointed out that we started on a few hundred meters of road then bottled necked onto the path, which wasn’t plowed and we’d end up wasting a lot of energy passing people, we should let them waste their energy passing us. I don’t know when he became so run savvy but I was well impressed with his logic and frankly we started right where we should have.
We ended up passing some people and by the turn around we could see that we were the second place couple, so we set our sights on the couple ahead, we finally passed them with about 1 km to go, I didn’t dare look back because I wasn’t convinced that they wouldn’t surge back at the finish, the didn’t, and we crossed the finish line under 25 minutes, which was our goal given the course conditions.
We were awarded our 5km finishers plaques (made of chocolate) and sent inside for our champagne and a really hearty vegetable soup. We hung around for the awards ceremony because we thought we won the couples division, however we had to settle for second since a couple did finish a head of us, but not together which I think misses the spirit of the “couples” race. All of the other couples ran together and most did something to make it quite obvious that they were couples, for example Dan and I were wearing identical jackets, ear warmers and gloves.
Anyway we are quite proud of our second place, and I am pleased say that one of Canada’s leading ultra running ladies was there with her husband and for the first (and most likely the only time) I can say I beat her!! (Obviously they were just out for a fun run or her husband is slow or something because I’m quite certain she would’ve kicked my butt had she been trying but on the results page my name is still above hers, so I’m counting it!)