As I read through all the upcoming attractions in the area, I noticed that one of them was going to serve as the Ontario Masters 5k Championships. I have looked into joining the OMA for a few years now as they hold a number of great Cross Country races in the fall. Usually, I wait too long and end up missing a few of them so the membership fee becomes a little steep for a single race or two.
This year I got organized and placed my membership with the OMA and therefore decided to test out my first official event with their 5k Championship. The association selected the community 5k in Bradford to hold their provincial finals so I added this to my wish list, on account that I could get down to race weight in less a week.
Well, I managed to cut out a bunch of junk from my horrible diet and kept up my training volumes so I was able to get down to a weight that I was comfortable running at. With this being a "B"ish race, I did not taper heading into the weekend so just made sure not to hammer too hard in the two days leading up to the Saturday event.
One race day, I showed up nice and early and put in one of my best warm up of all time. Lots of stretching, strides and a medium effort around some of the course. The air was humid and I was sweating up a storm before the start but kept well hydrated.
As we eventually lined up on the road, I could tell there were quite a few good athletes out for this one. Many of them looked very young and associated with the Newmarket Huskies Club which meant it was going to be a solid test. Once the gun went off, we had a quick downhill to the first street. I kept thing under control and settled into a comfortable pace about fifteen people back in the pack.
In the first kilometre, we rounded through an industrial area so the roads were very quiet with lots of room to pick a solid running line. I looked down at this point and noticed we hit the first marker in 3:15 but I knew the next 1000 metres would slow as we headed back up the minor slope up to 8th Line where we would complete the out and back portion of the run. In the last piece of the industrial park, I was now running in 12th place keeping one of my targets close.
I had seen a few familiar names in past results and figured I should be able to run close to those times on a good day so I did not want to fall off their pace. As we turned right onto 8th Line we started to get the benefit of a strong tail wind as well as another slight downhill speed zone. We all picked up the effort to take advantage of this and I was actually able to pass one of my targets and start to move up on the next group of three runners before the turn around.
I knew the last part of the race was going to be a little more challenging as we headed into the wind and had to gradually make our way back up to the hill. I also have a lot of confidence in my uphill running and hoped this would work to my advantage against the group a few seconds ahead of me.
Not too long after the turn I noticed one of the competition had lost a bunch of his speed so I jumped past him a hundreds metres past the pylon and set my sights one the remaining two from that group. As we pushed through the wind I could tell I was slowly making ground on them but it was taking a good effort so I was not sure how much I would have left for the final sprint to the line. Just after the midway point of the hill I finally caught those two and was up to 8th place with mostly younger runners up ahead.
I was now approaching the final left turn with only a few hundred metres to go. Seventh place looked too strong to catch and I was trying desperately to hold of a surge from behind from Kevin Farr, one of the athletes I had just past. On this day, he saved much more than I had and he easily beat me down to the finish line, leaving me with a 9th place finish on the day.
All in all, I was quite happy with my 17:25 race result on this day. I ended up 3rd in the 30-39 AG and 1st in the M35 AG for the Ontario Masters Championships.
Pic - OMA 5k Medalists (courtesy OMA - D Smith)
Next up is the Centurion Road Cycling event followed by some XC running races and a marathon or two. Time to make up for a slow start to the 2011 season!
Thanks for reading!