Port Union Run for the Lions 10k Race Report

on Sunday, June 21, 2015 at 7:52 PM

Did a 10k race yesterday. I've been wanted to try out a shorter race since the marathon to see where the fitness was at.  The Run for the Lions race coincides with a local Waterfront festival, but it's out in the east end, rather than downtown. It's a small little thing, but it seems it would be a good family thing, because there are a bunch of kids activities, like rock climbing, small simple rides and inflatable bouncy castles, all for free.  The race is just one of the components of the festival, though the race isn't free.

I did this race back in 2008. I did remember doing this a while back , but thought I had done it before I started this blog so didn't bother to check my race recap.  Back then it was only a 5k and it was really more of a fun run.  No official race results and you had to time yourself.  Googling around a bit, it seems that they have evolved the race a bit. They added a 10k option, and have chip timing so it's somewhat official. I originally wasn't sure I wanted to do the race because the course originally was an out and back with the first km or so along the lake and then you head north, presumably uphill. My race recap from before seems to suggest that the uphill part isn't so bad.

Original Course

However, while checking around earlier in the week, the race announced they had to change the route because of wash out conditions on the trail heading north. So the 10k race was changed where it was an out and back to the east to cover off 5k (and have the 5k'ers finish), past the start/finish line and then run west for another out and back to cover off  another 5k. This means that most of the race would be on the waterfront which I presumed was going to be flat so I registered. It was cheap at only $35. We got a cotton t-shirt. No age group awards, no medal, no frills, which I'm completely fine with.

After registering, the race director sent out an email saying the new route has a significant hill at about the 8 km mark even though it's on the waterfront.  Oh well. My goal doing this was to try for 4:15/km (6:50min/mi) pace for a finish time at around 42:30. I managed this pace for the 8k a few months ago on a hilly course so I thought trying to push that to 10k on a less hilly course with some additional weeks of training would be doable. Prepared for this race in a similar fashion to how I prepared for 8k race I did a few months ago including the breakfast of 2 packets of instant oatmeal and the warmup about 20 minutes prior to start which consisted of getting the HR to spike which it did, doing 2 hard strides and then walking around to get it to calm down and was ready to start.

There was a mass start of 10k'ers and 5k'ers so I positioned myself a little back from the start. Only took me 2 seconds to cross the start line. Start was a bit delayed which was sort of annoying because I didn't want to cool down too much. Anyways after a short delay, we are off. First little bit, I start off smooth and controlled, trying not to blast out of the gate. Come to the 4 minute mark and I start looking around for a 1k marker. None to be found. Great, the course wasn't marked. Guess the race hadn't evolved as much as I would have liked, since they didn't have markers back in 2008 either. 

My Gps autosplits at the 1 mile mark at 6:31. Yikes, a bit fast. I continue on and reel in some people.  The second mile includes the turnaround at the eastern part of the course which also has an aid station handing out water.  Somewhere during the 2nd mile, I check my watch and it shows my HR is spiking, but looking at it afterwards it appears my HR monitor wasn't getting a good reading.  2nd mile split is 6:54. I don't think I consciously slowed down at this point, but maybe I did because I wanted to back off the effort level. Also since this mile contained the turnaround, I'm sure some time was lost to the sudden deceleration of the turnaround. There was also a wind coming from the east so that was also a factor.

We continue running back towards the start line and I'm running with 2 other guys and we're sort of jockeying for position which is sort of good cause it results in a fairly good mile 3 split time of 6:41. Nice. The other two guys move ahead of me at this point and it seems that they are turning on the gas and I realize that they are most likely doing the 5k and so they are almost finished.

As I approach the start/finish line they had a weird three chute split of the timing mat. 5k's would finish on the left, 10k's would finish on the right but coming from the opposite direction and those like me at the moment who were half way through the 10k would run through the center.  The center chute wasn't that wide, maybe 1.5m or so but because it was a small race (34 total people doing the 10k), there wasn't much congestion. Running over the timing mat however gave us an intermediate split time which is something you usually don't get during 10k races. The timing mat gave me a "5k" split time of 20:31 which I saw on the clock as I was approaching. I had a feeling right away that the 5k was probably short since there is no way that I just ran 4:06min/km (6:36min/mi) pace for 5k.  So the two guys as I thought, peel off to the left chute to finish and I continue on.  At this point, I'm running by myself, and have no idea how many people are ahead of me. I can see the lead woman about 40m ahead of me and I'm slowly catching up to her. I pass her shortly before the 4 mile mark which has a split of 6:44. Pretty good. At this point, we're heading north on the first of two out and back portions at the western part of the course.  This first part follows the path of the normal course which heads north. There were some smallish hills, but not the sustained uphill that I thought.  As I approach the turnaround I had counted that there were three people ahead of me.  As we reach the turnaround, another aid station and then we head south.  At this point, I'm resolved to running by myself since I'm pretty sure I can't catch the three people in front of me and I'm just hoping I can hold off the lead woman We head back towards the lake and once we hit the waterfront trail, we then do another out and back to the west. This part contains the hill that the race director was warning us about and boy it's a doosie. This would be the slowest mile of the whole race at 7:18. Another turnaround, and water station and we head back east towards the finish line. Mile 6 is 6:50 and the last little bit which my GPS measures at 0.1 was done in 33s.

Final finish time of 41:33 which would be a 10k PR by about 30 seconds. Pretty sure the course was short though. My GPS measures it a 6.1 miles which is about 160m short. I asked around after and various people had it measured at between 9.66km and 9.85km. I measured the course in google maps and it measures as being 9.82km. Not quite exact due to the hills, but close enough.  My time for 9.82 km would have me at 4:14min/km (6:49 min/mile pace) which would convert to a 42:19 10k time so goal was met.  I came in 4th overall.

1:    6:31
2:    6:54
3:    6:41
4:    6:44
5:    7:18
6:    6:50
6.1: 0:33

Polar stats and map

I had thought during the race that my HR was spiking, but it was jumping all over the place and I can see afterwards that it was just not getting a good reading. It started doing this during this week. I wonder if the battery is running low.  I've only been using it for a couple of months so it's hard to believe the battery is dying. It does appear to get some good readings at a couple of places, including a sustained stretch from the 4 to 4.8 mile. Highest Hr was 185 for a brief moment. 

Polar HR

I also ran this with my Fitbit which has an optical HR sensor and it reports a non-dramatic HR profile with no spiking.
FitBit HR
Nice course. Nice scenery.  Might do it again, if they fix some of the issues like having marker signs on the course. Also, the course could easily have been made longer by extending any or all of the turnarounds by some additional distance to make up the 180m or so difference.  As I mentioned before, the race isn't really the main event of the festival. I wouldn't say that it doesn't get the attention that it deserves, since I'm sure a lot of time and effort still went into organizing the race, but I get the feeling that the race director isn't a runner so wouldn't be familiar with what might be important to racers.  For me for a 10k race, it has to be a fairly accurately measured course with markers.  Even if the total distance isn't accurate, as it was here, having markers on the course is still important as it gives me the ability to pace myself, without having to rely on GPS.

I am contemplating doing the Pride 5k next weekend, to take a crack at a sub 20 minute 5k on a certified course, but I think it will depend on the weather. I don't like running short races in the heat. Otherwise it will have to wait until the fall.


Robin said...

Congrats on a speedy 10K (or so). I thought I ran the first one but guess not. Think I ran in 2012 and it was a disaster. 5K running long (no one telling us to turn around), 10K running short. Times were all over the place. I ran to 5K on my watch that year and stopped. Had them record that time. Nice course if they could ever get the organization to work out just right! Good luck in the 5K.

Arcane said...

I think 2008 was the first year. I seem to recall there was a ceremony, maybe even a ribbon cutting ceremony as they had just built the park area or maybe it was that gazebo thing. I can't remember. Yeah, it looks nice and could easily be a good race if they get the kinks worked out.