Let the summer begin: PMC-Sierra Science Fair 5K Fun Run

I PB’ed (achieved a personal best). 26:35 or a 5:19-kilometer. ‘Nuff said?

Of course not.

Before every race, I assess myself the night before asking myself, “How do I feel in light of having a race tomorrow?” Disturbingly, I didn’t feel very anxious on Saturday evening. Perhaps it was knowing that the start of the race was close to my house so getting there was no ordeal such that I did not have to wake up exceptionally early. I had no one to meet or be accountable to in the morning.

From my house, it was a 17-minute 2.5-ish kilometer warm-up and light jog to ScienceWorld, the race start. The province’s biggest 5K race was about to take place but I couldn’t sense it while in the quiet Mount Pleasant neighbourhood.

Actually, I was suppressing some apprehension. Some competitive people feel more drained after a 5K sprint than a fast but steadier 10K. From just one experience, I don’t tend to feel exhausted except during the race. I “hold back” (or some other debilitation) when it counts. The weekend was also going very badly where I had two spectaculr bang-up accidents to myself — the most recent one involved crashing into a concrete wall while rollerblading and scraping myself up. If bad things come in threes — good grief! — would there be a third mishap during the race?!

Upon first entering the grounds, my first observation was that there were a lot of Asian people! When I went deeper onto the event grounds, there proved to be the usual mix of ethnicities (with more Chinese people represented, I swear). I thought it would be one of those races where I wouldn’t know anyone amongst a few hundred runners but, as a testiment to running and socializing in this city, I saw super-marathoner Trish, Kaz, and Pat whom I’ve been re-introduced to several times.

At 8:30, half an hour before the race start, a really exuberant fitness instructor from Fitness World lead an aerobics-style warm-up. I was feeling good to have warmed up with my 2.5K run and used the group atmosphere to stretch my problem areas.

We milled around close to the start line and I watched 9 o’clock roll around without fanfare. Then, suddenly, we heard a loud canon boom and like scared mice we instinctively ran away from the sound!

At 3 minutes 45 seconds into the race, I checked my watch that told me my pace was an unsustainable 4:48-kilometer. Within the first kilometer, I threw up just slightly in my mouth. :S Darn little springy kids passing me en masse and making me feel like an old slug. However, I can’t complain of insensitive and slow walkers blocking the way of runners. Not where I started out.

There were no kilometer markers. I had to rely on my mostly-trustworthy Garmin watch. In any case, 5K is too short a distance to rely on my slow-to-update watch and the resulting distance reading – it was merely a rough guide.

So from 4:48 I tried to pace down to 5:04 and then 5:15. Even that sounded stupidly fast despite knowing my last 5K result of 27:20 was thus a too-slow 5:28-kilometer.

At both the very beginning of the run and during the sweltering end, we ran through the same “industrial” stretch: the course ran through the future Olympic Village currently undergoing massive construction and it was dusty. To make it worse, it was sunny and a very clear and warm day (low 20s).

I learned that running on a course very familiar from training is a double-edged sword: it gives me great pride that the race is on my stomping grounds; but I know every crack, nook, and cranny of most of the course. Mostly, I think it was an advantage.

Then it was all done in such a time that I hardly believe the course was 5K for all the mental breakdowns I managed to have within 26 minutes!

Too bad I didn’t think it was a very good non-stop 5K for me. The numbers encourage me for it’s a 9 second/kilometer improvement from my admittedly subpar 57:20 5K 2 months ago. I’m not doing another 5K for a while, mostly for it interfering with my marathon training. Maybe next Science Fair run – it depends on the molecule. ;)

Did I have too much juice left in the tank? After the race, I ran a slow 5.7K to get to the running store. Because I wanted to see my friends after their super long run (19.2K)!

Here’s something else if you have managed to read this far. I think this will be a good summer. I’m feeling healthy and I’ve learned that I can stay healthy as long as I am continually active in a responsible manner. The summer looks fantastic so far. A PB in a 5K is a good way to start things off. I’m looking to set about three more PBs this year. (Wish me luck.)

My motivation? Alas, it was not thinking of what TJ’s sarcastic comment would be should I slack off. It was purely external motivation: B. told me that A. told him that she (A.) runs 5 times a week. I took extra hard and long looks at A. and snarked to myself, “Oh really. ‘Cuz I’ll show you, B., what a 5 times a week runner body looks like. Just you watch.” Just you all watch. :D

On this day..


  1. teahouse says:

    Heh..could it be that there were so many Asians because it was the nerdy science run? And it was full of people like me and my Husband whose parents pressured us to do science/premed…

    (shudders with the horrible memories)

    But I’m glad you ran so fast! Go you!

  2. wyn says:

    I hesitate to make a conclusion but it did occur to me! Included with registration was a day pass to ScienceWorld, our interactive science museum ($17 value), so that is a very likely incentive.

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