Friday, January 31, 2014

Robbie Burns 8K Race Report

First race of the year, and thankfully it was only 8k. It was also my first time that I was running this distance officially, so I was going to get a new PR regardless, wheee!

I went to bed undecided whether I would run it or not. The only piece of clothing that I had taken out from the bottom of a storage box was my plaid skirt that I hadn't worn since I was 20. I knew that everything else was in the drawer with my running clothes because I barely used any of them this winter. Just like my legs. The longest run before this race was a 6k on the treadmill, while listening for warning signs from everything waist down. If I was going to race it, my goal was to "finish in one piece", aka no more injuries.

I did not discuss all these fears with Zin who I also signed up a few months prior, but I know that he read them in my blog. Alarm clock got set up for 6am anyway. Once I woke up, I had to make a decision. Temperatures were going to be around -25C with the windchill. Never in my life I ran outside in these conditions. See, I can put on my YakTrax and run on snow, maybe even on a few ice patches here and there in -10C, but when it's this cold, I start coughing the minute I walk outside. It's been happening every single day just going from my car to the office building and back. This winter has been brutal for my asthma and I could not imagine what the extreme temperatures would do to me. But after 10 minutes of mental wrestling, I decided to HTFU and go for it, as long as I'd be able to wear a balaclava and breathe through it. It was going to be the only way and to hell with the race pictures.

The race was in Burlington, about 40min drive from our house. We planned to leave around 7 and to make it there early enough to pick up our race bibs. We arrived at destination just before 8am and scored a parking spot just outside the school where the race start and finish were going to be. Sweeeeet! The registration and packet pick up went very smoothly and within 5 minutes we were in possession of our bib (which included the timing chip).
This race is very popular for whatever reason, and only 1000 runners get the chance to run it. We were the 999th and the 1000th to sign up by the way. While I was sitting there, waiting for friends to arrive, I kept asking myself if I had made the right decision. I had about 4 layers of clothes top and bottom, wool socks, 2 hats, gloves and mittens and of course, the balaclava to complete the bandit look. Or Scottish Ninja, whatever you wanna call it. Verdict?
Add two more layers for the final look
One hour and a half is a long time when you have self doubts. I was lucky to meet with a few folks and talk about random stuff to keep my mind from wandering towards the North Pole. Pulling faces with my significant other is also a distraction worth mentioning.
In which you get to see how short I really am. Why so serious, honey?
That's more like it!
I wandered around quite a bit looking for Patty and Nic, I went to the washrooms twice and listened to the Halton Police playing the bagpipes in the gymnasium. Hey, do you want to listen too? Here, a little present from me to you. Look at the lady in the middle, she does some neat tricks.

Alright, enough with the entertainment. It's time to run!

The bagpipes accompanied us outside just before 9:30am and when Zin and I went to line up with everyone else, I finally found Patty and Nic. We exchanged hugs and wished each other good luck, then the horn went off and we all started our own race. I never had the intention to put any kind of "hard" effort into it, coach's orders (and a good dose of common sense). So I just ran at a comfortable pace, trying not to freeze in place. However, by km 3, I could no longer feel my bum. Feet, hands, face were doing ok though.

I don't remember much else. It felt like running around the block, but with police at all intersections and a bunch of other people passing me left and right, no offense taken. I was there to have "fun", but in the end it was rather uneventful. One foot in front of the other, keep moving forward, and that was about it. 

Right after km 5, I saw Emma - cowbell in one hand, camera in another. I knew that she wouldn't recognize me, so I yelled her name, and she took this photo in return. Thank you!!
My right calf was getting tighter by the minute and I wanted the race to be over with, I have no shame in admitting it. I was coughing a little and I could feel my heart rate going up. I started the countdown... 3, 2, 1 more kilometer to go. Oh, here's a photographer! And another one! Do I need to smile for the camera? I realized that it was in vain, nobody could see it anyway. At last it seemed to warm me up a little.
If you think that all pictures look the same, you are absolutely right. You must be so bored with my lack of facial expression by now.

Soon afterwards I was on the home stretch. I could see the school in the distance and I assumed that we'd finish where we started. I picked up the pace a little in the last hundred meters and crossed the finish line in 48:52. That was a wrap!! I ran a very comfortable pace, a full minute per km slower than my 5k pace but I could not be bothered. 
After crossing the finish line I was surprised to see that we were given little Robbie Burns medals. I was not expecting one, but from what I've heard, this was a special occasion due to its 35th anniversary. I met with hubbs and my friends, and we all went inside for some grub. I took my phone out of my pocket and I could only snap this shot before it turned off by itself in revolt.

I wanted to see how much ice I had around my face since blinking was making my eyelashes stick. In retrospective I am rather disappointed when I look at this pic (I must be too hot for this sh*t). Anyhoo, as I said, phone shut down instantly; I bet it didn't like the instant freeze. Inside the school, we had a bite with Nic, then we decided to go back home because we were starting to shiver. 

Another 40 min drive and we made it back home where we asked my younger son to take a picture before we took off our clothes.
Speaking of which, I'm glad that they gave us plaid pajama pants instead of thirts. I couldn't wait to get into them and spend the rest of the day in bed... but it didn't happen. We showered, ate lunch, then went swimming. And only then we got to rest a little.

And that's how my day/race/long-ish run went. Not sure that I should call it a race, if it weren't for the medal and the bib. Hubbs ran a speedy 35min, but I felt slow and heavy and ... just blah. Can't wait for this winter to find another place to bring hell to, like Florida. Until next time, but without the snow, the polar vortex and the frost quakes, please. Over and out.


  1. LOL at your pictures. You certainly were dressed warmly! Sorry that you didn't get to curl up in your new pj's but well done at the race.

  2. Well done! Congrats! You are awesome for getting out and running in those temps! #heartandcouarge :)

  3. Thank you girls! Not sure I'll do it again. Ha!