Today's race was the Rock 10K in White Rock, with a simultaneous 5K race also being held for the first time this year.
We started off from Semiahmoo Park at a little after 8 AM, running along Marine Drive, with only small parking lots and the railway tracks separating us from the ocean on our left. It was fairly flat with one short uphill plus a little downhill for the first half kilometer, and I was going at a good pace, but then we hit the first hill which lasted until we were past the 1K marker, by which time I was sufficiently slowed up and feeling a little depleted. Chris Barth and 2 other runners had taken off very quickly at the beginning and formed the lead pack, and I stayed back in our second pack, watching the leaders gradually fade into the distance.
After the first hill it didn't so much level out as become less steep, and we hit 3 or 4 more good hills (I lost count) before finally turning right at the 4K point. We ran along a residential street for a few blocks, again climbing a slight incline. Rick from my running club was waiting for me along here, and yelled encouragement and took my picture as I ran up, waved, yelled my thanks, and carried on.
Hitting the corner at the 5K marker, we were directed to turn right, and we headed down a wide street, going in the other direction for a few blocks, before turning right again and heading back toward Marine Drive. Rick had crossed over and was waiting for me here again, taking my picture once more and cheering me on as I went by. A few blocks later as we turned left onto Marine Drive and back toward the finish line, we were high up and headed downhill. The tide was out and the view of the vast tidal pools was quite spectacular.
At the bottom of the hill we were level with the beach again but soon hit another one. Our pack had long ago spread itself out, and as I crested the hill and passed the 7K marker, I headed downhill, following a fellow wearing a bright red shirt, with FLEET FEET written across it. He'd opened up quite a gap on me earlier in the race, but now I was closing it. We hit a short hill and he went up it well, but then on the ensuing steep downhill he didn't speed up very much, and I took the opportunity to race past him. 2 kilometers to go, and we were speeding down Marine Drive, with people standing alongside it cheering us on! There was one more fairly long hill, and I just tried to stay relaxed as I went up it. I managed this and then sped up on the downhill, and before I knew it I hit the 9K post!
It was finally flat for a bit and I ran along here just trying to keep my pace up. This was when a good headwind blew in off the ocean. All I could do was keep running my best into it, and at least it cooled me off a bit! I hit the last short hill and actually managed to power up it, as I knew the end was near. Now I could see the finisher's chute and banner up ahead, and ran in as fast as I could, crossing the line and thanking the volunteer as she placed a finisher's medal around my neck.
I went into Semiahmoo Park and found Chris, who'd won the race and told me the other 2 guys had kept up with him for a couple of kilometers but then fell back. We talked for awhile and then went to get some food. They had bananas, oranges, brownies, 5 types of little Clif bars, and a couple of people making us pancakes. I ended up eating a few brownies and a few Clif bars, and I had 2 pancakes with syrup. There was a computer glitch that delayed the results, and we ended up having to wait longer than usual for the awards, so I ended up having a couple more flapjacks!
I ran into Edwin, whose wife Cindy had spotted me, and we all talked for a bit. They'd brought their 2 young children to run the Kids Race and then they were going to spend some time in White Rock taking in the festivities. Edwin has a lower back injury and it was too painful for him to run today, but here's hoping he's back in action not too far down the road!
Christina from the racing crew walked up and told me they had some results posted on the stage. I excused myself and went to look. Chris had finished in 34 something, with 3rd place Ben and another fellow well behind him in 38 and change. I was a few seconds slower than last year at 43:52, but the course was a lot tougher this time around, so no real disappointment there. I was also hoping to crack the top ten overall, and I just made it, finishing 10th, plus I won my age group, so mission accomplished.
I talked to Ben, who'd come in 3rd overall in the 10K, for quite awhile. He's a very upbeat young runner and we swapped tales of our racing adventures.
At 10 AM they had the Kids Race, with dozens of young tykes running a loop course they had set up in the park, all wearing bibs with the number "1" on them. They were super enthusiastic and cute, and like last year, some just kept running around and around the loop before finally calling it quits. They all got finisher's medals, and Edwin said the kids were quite happy, and he then got Cindy to take a few pictures of him and myself, after which they were off to enjoy the day.
They got the awards going, and for winning the 10K Chris received a white gold & diamond race pendant from sponsor Jose & Company. Ben went up and got his medal for 3rd overall, and then they did the age group medals. As with the overalls, they did the 5K ones first, but zipped through them at a good clip. This was followed by myself and all the other happy recipients going up and getting our 10K hardware, with a smiling Jose doing the presentations, and it was time to head off to enjoy the rest of the day.
Results are now up, and I ended up finishing 10th overall out of 165, and 1st of 13 in my age group, with a time of 43:52 http://www.tryevents.ca/images/results/preliminaryrock.pdf
My next races are at the Trevor Craven Memorial Meet, Sunday, July 8th. It's an actual track meet and I'm running the 3000 meters at 9 AM, and the 800 meters at 11:15 AM.