Sunday, September 29, 2013

Oasis Toronto Zoo Run (National 10km Championships)

Back on September 19th, I hopped on a plane from Nanaimo en route for Toronto with a quick stopover in Vancouver to meet up with the rest of Team BC. Saturday we were scheduled to run the Oasis Toronto Zoo Run.

Waiting at Nanaimo Airport

 

Flying away from my island home
 
 
It was a pretty uneventful trip out east, highlighted by my plane buddy Natasha Wodak finding a photo booth app on her borrowed iPad that had us in tears over the photos we took. Probably a good thing that we only found the app in the last part of the flight, otherwise we might have kept up the sleeping log who sat beside us in the aisle seat leaving us trapped. 

Plane buddies and Roomies

We arrived to Toronto, checked into our hotel and did a quick change so we could head out for a run. My legs didn't feel too bad on my 45' run so that was a good sign. After that, a dinner at the hotel restaurant with most of Team BC before we all retired to bed or well attempted to, until a certain Team BC member knocked on our doors wondering if we could go to the pool at about 9:55pm. Unfortunately we all either "had kids" or were going to bed. I stood corrected when I stated it was nearly 10pm.... to which I was told it was nearly 7pm (back home). 

The next morning we all went on our short 30' pre race jog with drills and strides. My legs felt a bit rough this time around. The pack quickly broke into the guys ahead and the girls behind. I was able to see a bit more of Toronto this time as we drove around town to various Running Room stores (okay only 2) to find race flats for the same Team BC member who wanted to go swimming. Thanks for making the trip interesting! 

Guys

Girls

Pre-Race Run Fun! Cat and me!

Team BC Women minus Claire as she was still running (Myself, Sabrina, Cat)

After we got back to the hotel, Natasha (my roommate) was out at her STWM (Scotia Toronto Waterfront Marathon) press conference, so I took the opportunity to meet up with a friend from home. Chris and I have been friends since about 1999 or 2000 and in the past few years has lived in Brandon, Manitoba and more recently moved to Calgary, Alberta. 

Chris!!

Each time he comes back to Nanaimo, I am usually either working or out of town so we can never meet up. For example, he came to town when I was in Flagstaff. It was completely weird that our schedules happen to meet up when I was in Toronto to race and he was in Toronto for a course through his work. We went out to a late lunch (where I found out a certain someone hacked my social media accounts on my laptop when I was gone) and even though the visit was short, it was great to see him!

Shortly after I got back to the hotel we went out to dinner with the team at Milestones then got back to the hotel just in time for the elite technical meeting. After that we basically just relaxed and hung out until we went to sleep. 

2013 Zoo Run Course

The next morning came early. I slept like normal, which means waking up multiple times, but still felt fairly rested when the alarm went off at 5:55am. We met the team at 6:30 and headed out to the course. 

Ready to go!

Photo at the hotel before heading to the race (L-R: Myself, Dylan, Claire, Catherine, Natasha, Craig, Sabrina)

It was rainy but mild so not too terrible. A warm up with the girls then a long wait in the porta potty line, resulted in me having to rush my full warm up a bit. Nevertheless, shortly before 8:15 we were on the line and off we went. 

The course start was different than last year as they went back to the start from 2011. The race went out quick. I found myself with Rachel Hannah (Ontario) and Sabrina Wilkie (also Team BC). We hit the first km and I actually said "crap" out loud because it was fast at 3:18. Oops. Sorry coach, there went the "don't go out too fast" advice. Part of the first km was downhill, does that make it better? 

Wet!!
 
After the first km, my splits evened out. The first 5km are the easiest as they have to most straight stretches where you can get into a rhythm. It is the 2nd half of the course, where we are in the zoo, that becomes hilly and twisty. I lost the km markers after 6 I think. For the first 3km Sabrina and I went back and forth. I think after 3 or 4km I pulled ahead of her and eventually created a gap. I went back and forth a couple of times with Rachel as well, but then she gapped me and I couldn't quite make it up. 

I really need to stop running my tongue over my teeth when running. I have A LOT of these photos

After I pulled ahead of Sabrina I stayed in 8th place and that didn't change the rest of the race. The twists slowed the splits, I saw no markers and never looked at my watch once after that first km. At one point we came around a corner and I heard squawking. People always comment on how cool it would be to run in a zoo and see all the animals. I can tell you, the only animal I saw was the parrots and flamingos. I only saw them because of the squawking, which drew my attention to the right in which I saw the pink birds and then the parrots behind. Otherwise, I saw no animals while running, but walking back to the car I saw the warthogs, tiger, elephants, hippos and I can't remember what else. 

Tiger on the walk back to the car

Finally we hit around 8.5-9km and I could hear the announcers, but I knew at that point we still did this out and back part. I was starting to draw Rachel back at this point and when I heard 500m left and we hit the final hill to the finish, I was drawing even closer; however, I simply ran out of time and crossed the line 6 seconds behind Rachel, which was good for 8th female in 35:53. 

Done!

Going into the race I was asked what time goal I had. In all honesty, it's a tough course and since it was a different course than what I had run last year, it was hard to predict. I did know I finished in 37:18 (15th place) last year and I am much fitter than that. Secretly I wanted to be under 36', but I didn't know if it would happen. In the end I was satisfied with the 35:53, which is 1:11 back from my Sun Run 34:42 on a much faster course. I was closer to my best compared to many of the other women ahead of me so I feel it would have been close to, if not, a best time on a faster course. 

Sabrina (9th) and myself (8th) post race


Was I happy with 8th? Well it beats my 15th from last year. My goal this year was as close to the top 5 I could get. Would I have liked a couple of more spots? Honestly yes, but I didn't bring it on the day. They were simply better than me. I settled and should have reacted sooner, but I didn't. It is what it is. This race was a battle as my legs weren't as peppy as I was hoping.  On to the next race! 

Post race with Rejean Chiasson and female winner Lanni Marchant. Great to see you again Rejean!
 

Myself, Lanni, Cat, Claire

A cool down around the zoo, the awards where Team BC dominated the Timex Series winning top Men's Team, top Women's Team and Top Co-Ed team. I was announced as 3rd in the Individual Timex Series, although based on Athletics Canada rules, from what I was told, I should have been announced as first. Rules state to qualify one must be on a provincial team and the top 2 announced were not. Ahh well, again, it is what it is. 

Men's Timex Champs (Craig, Kevin, Kris, Dylan)

Women's Timex Champs (Claire, Sabrina, Cat, Myself)

Co-Ed Timex Champs (Kris, Kevin, Sabrina, Myself)

Race day became even longer as we got back to the hotel, showered, packed and then headed to the airport for our 4pm flight home. I arrived back to Nanaimo at about 7:30pm with the 3 hour time change. 

Plane buddies on the way home (Tasha will kill me for this)

Hello Vancouver

Overall it was a great trip and fun to hang out with some of the other Team BC members and to catch up with some other athletes/friends from out East! 

Race winners (in the middle) Lanni Marchant and Reid Coolsaet
 


Results can be found here
 

3 comments:

Warren Andrews said...

These are really fantastic experience you have shared with all of us.Experiencing adventures sports with friend in vacation is really perfect plan to change your schedule.


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mfranks said...

Congrats, Erin. Sounds like a great time!

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