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Oka 5km race recap, November 3, 2013

After months of preparation, excitement, anxiety, worries of injuries and various other emotions, Diana and me were finally ready for the big day. But let’s not get too far ahead…

It all started at the end of July, when I was shopping for _random exercise gadget / clothes / nutrition pack_ (actually, it all started a few weeks earlier when we went camping, but that’s a story for another post). I noticed there was a race in Oka in November. Having been running for the last, err, two weeks, and being my usual competitive self, I sent this email to Diana:

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Now… this puts two things in perspective for myself: a) I couldn’t run 5km at that point without stopping to catch my breath during the run and b) while I thought I would be able to run the 5km in Oka without a break, I wasn’t yet 100% certain I’d be able to do it. Diana never put her skills into question: she knew already at that point she could do it.

I went back into my notes. My first run that I logged was for 3.2km. It took me about 24min, with lots of huffing and puffing and stopping. So I trained. Between then and the race, I ran over 260km and biked more than 710km (and swam a bit, but let’s not get into that…).

Fast forward 3 months. Actually, 3 months to day – I head to Running Room store in Boisbriand and pick up these 2 guys.

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Also picked up a few safety pins, rules and instructions, flyers (omg more gear to buy!) and two yellow tuques (more on these later). Three days later, Diana, myself and two friends head to Oka park for the big race (all things put in perspective). It was a balmy 0 degrees Celsius, probably even less on the trail as there was much shade due to trees. Nevertheless, it was still a clear sky and a beautiful sun. We took these ones while waiting on the Oka beach.

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I kinda insisted we took the pictures with the tuques. After all, might as well play the whole game, it might be our first and last race!

We then headed toward the start line, and were treated to some pop music and a warm up period. Having none of that, and being fairly nervous, I moved a little back and starting doing mini laps with my own music near the dry toilets (which I had to use anyway… Anyone can explain to me that every single time I start running, I feel I have to go within 2 minutes?). 2 minutes before the race, I moved back to the line, and tried to get Diana to start with me near the front (I knew we were slightly faster than average, but Diana didn’t believe me…). See, that goes back to my competitive self. A few weeks before the race, I dug out 2012 results and looked where I would finish with my current best. At that time, if I remember correctly, I would have finished #63. Which is entirely great, considering I could not carry my ass beyond 3km three months before. But yeah, that’s not how I think… I wasn’t content with that, so the 2 weeks before, I started to push myself a bit.

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In the end, I would end up pretty much as a prophet. (And yes, I’m still struggling with shoelaces.)

The gun (buzzer?) went off, and ran I did. I dodged a few slowpokes that thought they could run fast and had started near the front, and picked up a very good pace. Maybe too much of a good pace actually, but I thought I could keep it up. Which I did, for most of the race, but the last km was painful. The trail was nice and we ran a few meters along a small lake, very nice scenery. End result? 23:50, 4:46/km. Not the 4:40 I wanted, but still my personal best and an improvement over the 4:50 I had discussed with my brother. And about the same time I did 3 months before for 66% more distance. And I ended up #28. Not bad for a first race. Diana also matched her personal best and ran a very good race. Since I finished a few seconds before her, I managed to grab a few quick pictures of her crossing the finish line.

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And the happy proud couple!

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And with our friends Rémi (who did the 20k) and Isabelle.

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When you cross the finish line, the first person you meet is the medal giver. Hurray! Then you get a water bottle. And then… Orgy of food! Bagels, cheese, granola bars, chocolate milk, apples, bananas. I need to sign up to more of these races!

Oh wait… I did! See you in February for the 20km race on Ile Notre-Dame. Brunch is included (for runners anyway)! 😉

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