Today's race was the Oceanside 10K in beautiful Parksville on Vancouver Island. We started out from a cul de sac just up the street from the Parksville Curling Rink at 11 AM, and 3 fellows took off very quickly and ran ahead of everyone else. I stayed back in the second pack, but soon 2 guys slowly pulled away from me, and some others dropped off. We were running along the roads and crossed a small bridge just before the 2K mark, and then we hit a hill that wasn't too steep but was a bit long, about 500 meters. I remember last year one guy called it a mirage, saying it didn't look like much, but it sure slowed you down, and it had the same effect this year.
We reached the top and the volunteers sent us down a road on a downhill slope. I heard feet slapping behind me and then Glenn the barefoot runner from Victoria came flying past me. I yelled "Way to go!", and he said "Isn't this great?" I said that it sure was and his reply was a "Whoo hoo!" as he flew down the hill ahead of me. I picked up speed myself on the downhill as my legs recovered from the uphill, and as we turned a few hundred meters later and entered a park I was close behind him. We were hitting a gravel trail with some sharp stones on it, and Glenn stopped for just a second and slipped on some thin running sandals he was carrying, and he was off again in a flash.
I stayed behind him and every once in awhile he looked back and seemed surprised that I was still with him. We came to where a volunteer guided us through a space in a 2 foot high concrete barrier, and when I saw Glenn jump it I jumped it too. Luckily we both cleared it, looking like graceful deer instead of doing a face plant, it could have gone either way, at least with me. We were still running through the park, with some nice tree cover and a wide trail, but now the trail turned to asphalt. Glenn asked one volunteer if there was any more gravel and she didn't know. Another kilometer later another one told him that there were a couple more small patches, so he kept the sandals on.
As Glenn pulled away from me, the top woman runner in the race pulled even. She'd been on my tail for at least three kilometers, because every time we went past volunteers or spectators, they'd cheer the "first woman", so I knew she was right behind me. We ran side by side for a couple of hundred meters, and then she pulled in front of me and I tucked in behind her. We came out of the park and were directed up a small but steep hill, and she went up the hill a little faster than me. We went back across the bridge, and she started to pull away, and I tried my best to stay with her. There were two kilometers to go now, and we were heading down a straight road, with the sun beating down on us.
By the 9K mark she'd opened up about a fifty foot gap on me, and I sped up but so did she. Try as I might to close the gap I couldn't do it, but that was okay, it kept me going at a good pace. Soon I could hear the announcer and people cheering, and turned into the cul de sac and sprinted across the finish line. The announcer called out my name as I crossed, and a volunteer handed me a bottle of water and said "Good job!" One of the race directors told me I ran a good time, but I hadn't stopped my watch when I crossed the line so I wasn't sure what it was. I knew it was probably over 43 minutes, not a great time for me.
I'd been apprehensive before the race because my hamstrings had been in a bit of pain during the week, due to last week's heavy training and racing schedule, and I'd only run one 10K run the whole week, on Thursday, and they were still sore this morning when I got up. I didn't know how I'd do, or if I'd even finish the race, so I was quite happy with my result. One fellow came in who was in his 60's, and I told him he'd probably won his age group, and he said he wasn't happy with his time. I told him that these were a lot warmer conditions than we were used to, so that didn't help our performance today, and he nodded in the affirmative.
Soon John, who I'd met at the Sound & Silence run, came in, plus Steve, who I'd met before the race, and we stayed a little while at the finish cheering other runners in. Before long I decided to head to the curling rink for some apres race goodies. I walked into the curling rink and they had long rows of tables loaded with food just like last year. There were veggie platters with dip, oranges and bananas, homemade fudge brownies, 3 types of Oreos, chocolate chip cookies, cracker and cheese platters, Sweet & Salty peanut butter bars, bagels with cream cheese and peanut butter, puddings, chocolate milk, coffee, juice boxes, and later on, ice cream cones! I ate too much again, but it was all so good!
I chatted with the winner of the race, Royd Burkart, for awhile, he was a great guy. Soon he went and got his medal and trophy and had his picture taken, as he had to head out. I congratulated him again, and he told me I'd had a great run too, and I said thanks and I'd be seeing him again. I went outside and Steve was sitting there, and he told me how not that long ago he'd run a race and got a ribbon for third in his age group, he said he couldn't believe it! He was really excited about getting his first podium finish. I knew what that was like, and I told him it was really motivating, and he said it sure was!
Finally we got to the awards, plus some draw prizes, and Steve won a fifty dollar gift certificate for Forerunners running store. I thought I'd won my age group, but sometimes I've missed a fast guy who darted ahead at the beginning, so I wasn't sure. This time I was right, they called the third and second place guys' names, and then mine! Only first place earned you a medal, the others got ribbons, and these were Olympic size beauties, even better than last year. Next was Steve's group, and he won first place too. He was ecstatic, and now he really couldn't believe it, he'd been so happy to win a third place ribbon, and now this! Plus he won the gift certificate, quite a day!
Soon the awards were over and we headed out, and as I was preparing to drive out of the parking lot Steve drove by in his pickup. He saw me and held his medal up out the window and gave a war whoop, one happy camper! I told him congratulations again, and he told me the same, and we both yelled that we'd see each other next time.
No results on the net yet, but there is an article in the Parksville Qualicum Beach News:
http://www.pqbnews.com/sports/154820475.html As always, I'll post the results when they become available.