Linda’s Le Chocolat 10K Race Report

06 May Linda’s Le Chocolat 10K Race Report

On Sunday May 1 2016, in Le Chocolat 10K CMAA (Canadian Masters Athletics Association) Age-Category Championship Road Race, I ran a Personal Best of 49:20. Won 1st in Age-Category! Yeah!

The Sunday race morning alarm rang early. I was none too eager to bust out of bed nor pleased to suddenly awaken to reality–Race Day. Surprising? Do other runners leap up and excitedly dash to the Start? Not me. I need pre race routines to wake me up, warm me up, and rev me up, step by step.


Celebrating Le Chocolat 10K PB and 1st in CMAA Age Category

Showered, dressed, and ‘coffee-d’, I headed out. No one in sight. My only companions were the tunes of my playlist appropriately starting with Get Over It. (Saved Katy Perry’s Roar of the Tiger for later.) I slowly jogged through the damp, dreary darkness. Passed by the piles of Aid Station supplies (water bottles, cups, tables) that race committee volunteers had dutifully worked through the night to deliver. Now it was my turn to dutifully warmup.

Back in my room, I sipped on a protein shake and suited up for the race. I was going to look like a ‘real runner’—singlet, arm sleeves (homemade…thin black knee-high socks with toes cut off and stitched to prevent an unravelling of flopping thread peeling loose mid race), black Nike running shorts, bright pink compression calf sleeves, skinny anklet socks, flashy neon-orange NB 1400 racing flats, fav amber-tinted Tifosi shades, black minigloves, my red-streaked hair tied back in the pony tail, and a buff just in case. My husband added the finishing touch—a brilliant red eye-catching Canadian Maple Leaf stick-on tattoo for my upper arm. Racing in Windsor, a border city, I especially revelled in proclaiming my patriotism.


Le Chocolat Warmup Gear

On schedule we arrived at the race venue. My race plan always includes noting ‘what to do’s and when to do’s’ prerace. This saves mental energy and quells prerace jitters. Now 2nd warmup—a few minutes of easy running, dynamic drills, and strides. I enjoyed eating my 2 tasty medjool almond-butter stuffed dates, saving a gel for 15 minutes before the start. Last portapotty stop, a ‘Good Luck’ from my husband, and into the Start area. I looked up the course, raised both arms in a ‘V’ while exclaiming ‘Yes, Yes, Yes, I will do my best’.

The gun sounded and it was time for the Le Chocolat 10K show. There I was with Riverside Drive underfoot, Detroit River and skyline to the left, and up ahead loomed the barely visible outline of the Ambassador Bridge (visibility only 1.8K). That was it for sightseeing. As Emily Dickenson wrote ‘I dwell in possibility’—and my goal was to zone into the process of running 1 mile, 6 times. Today I wanted to emulate Scott Jurek’s approach: (Jurek is a 7-times Western States Endurance Champ) I tune into my breath, technique, and current pace, and I stay away from what lies ahead’. So I ran by feel with an occasional look at my Garmin for current pace. Not once during the race did I allow myself to check the elapsed time. Today was process and not outcome.

finish_line After the 3-mile turnaround mark I started passing. The proximity of the Windsor Casino perhaps inspired me to up the ante today and focus on faster runners to reel in. Even I was surprised as I consistently caught them, passed them, and zipped along. What a difference running ‘fast and easy’ rather than ‘fast and hard’. I made the final turn to the Finish. Did my best to use that creatine-rush and sprint across the mats. 49:20! A Personal Best. A CMAA 1st in Age. Yahoo. Don was taking pictures as the strong, fit Firefighter placed a medal around my neck.

Interesting things can happen after a race: Packing for home I clumsily dropped my suitcase on my foot. As we headed home I realized I had forgotten my glasses in the room. Later that evening I spilled a cup of coffee all over my desk. Yikes, yikes, and yikes. It was then I understood my husband’s response when I had politely offered to drive home after the race. He had grinned, and knowingly responded ‘Ah, it’s okay. I think it’s better if I drive’. In spite of my best efforts to refuel and unwind after a race, I have learned it is wise to let someone else take charge. That is the safest plan, at least until my body and its glucose-deprived brain get fully restored.

Mighty Medals: CMAA, Le Chocolat, CMAA 1st in Age

Mighty Medals: CMAA, Le Chocolat, CMAA 1st in Age


  1. No training plan is perfect. No race strategies are the best. What works is to personalize a process that suits us best. ‘We are an experiment of ONE.’
  2. Just before heading to the Start a Scottish friend and running buddy texted me: ‘A pinch and a punch for the first of the month…and no returns. Good luck with your big race. Run free and nail it.’ That put me in touch with why I had been training so hard. It reminded me that I had good friends ‘in my corner’. Really, how could I let him down. Thanks Ticker.
  3. Sharing my medals with my 96-yr-old Dad.
  4. Celebrating the day, CMAA 1st in Age-Category, and my 10K Personal Best with my husband.


    Chris Uszynski (Le Chocolat Race Organizer) Running Flat

    Jason Tunks (Fitness Trainer) HIIT IT Fitness

    How do you get ready to race? What works best for you?

  • Wendy Fraser
    Posted at 11:42h, 07 May Reply

    Thank you for being so open and sharing all the details here. I just read this outloud to Ticker. I got my own adrenaline rush just reading this. Wow!! Another well run, well executed race by an amazing, focused and well trained athlete and friend. So happy for you!! Congratulations on this PB !!!

    • master mentor
      Posted at 14:50h, 07 May Reply

      Compliments gratefully accepted Wendy. Isn’t it nice when a race day works out like that. Having such supportive friends makes an incredible difference. Good luck with your upcoming races.

  • Karen
    Posted at 16:14h, 07 May Reply

    The devil is in the details and you certainly have mastered the details and discipline of your training, mindset and race strategy. Good for you. It is encouraging to see continuous improvement and reach new goals.
    Masterful and inspiring. A nice reward package at the end too. I might even be inspired to train to run……..for wine.

    • master mentor
      Posted at 16:29h, 07 May Reply

      You’ve got it. The ongoing improvement makes it feel worthwhile and keeps us heading back out to do better. Being surrounded by like minds, such as yourself, is wonderful inspiration. Thanks Karen.

  • Roberta Reardon
    Posted at 17:54h, 07 May Reply

    Wow, Linda! Awesome race! Thanks for sharing your experience! You aughta be proud girl!!!

    • master mentor
      Posted at 18:38h, 07 May Reply

      Appreciated Roberta. So happy to be able to share. All the best with your running and fitness pursuits.

  • Jane B
    Posted at 18:01h, 07 May Reply

    Hi. Linda. I loved reading every word of this. Congratulations! I am so very proud of you in so many ways!

    • master mentor
      Posted at 18:37h, 07 May Reply

      Thanks Jane. Supportive friends are the best.

  • Haideh
    Posted at 07:16h, 08 May Reply

    way to go Linda,… great article … it was inspiring as you are … thanks for sharing your wonderful thoughts and writing.

    • master mentor
      Posted at 09:24h, 08 May Reply

      So kind of you to say this Haideh. It’s wonderful being connected with people like yourself who set their sights on ‘excellence’. Thanks so much.

  • Richard Bain
    Posted at 07:22h, 08 May Reply

    Awesome and encouraging post!!!
    Thanks! You are one of my inspirations!
    Have a great day

    • master mentor
      Posted at 09:25h, 08 May Reply

      You are most welcome Rick. May we all have a great day.

  • Kim Appleton
    Posted at 10:08h, 08 May Reply

    This is an honest reflection of the thoughts and effort behind a successful race. Congratulations Linda! You are such a role model to me.

    • master mentor
      Posted at 11:46h, 08 May Reply

      Thanks Kim. It is so enjoyable (and fun, crazy laughs too) to share the journey with like-minded friends–that would be you. I love helping others and what could be better than knowing that in some small way we can make a difference. Cheerios!

  • Brian Burke
    Posted at 14:33h, 08 May Reply

    Well done!! Linda
    You are getting stronger, like a fine wine you are getting better with age.
    I enjoyed your comprehensive blog. Well written and informative.

    • master mentor
      Posted at 19:22h, 08 May Reply

      Why thank you Brian. I will gladly accept and enjoy compliments such as this. Think a ‘Running Girl’ wine mantra might be useful to keep the feet moving fast. Thank you for all the time and effort you contributed to my training, especially the speed work. Happy running.

  • Linh Doan
    Posted at 23:28h, 08 May Reply

    Great article – Getting in the zone by having rituals and routines is extremely effective along with some support from friends and family. Congratulations on your PB and your age category! Instead of a temporary tattoo on your arm you might as well go ahead and get it permanently inked on there. A friend of mine was also in the race. It was her first 10k race. It was nice to see two familiar faces running in the same race. You two should compare your experiences. I’m sure both of your experiences could inspire one another. Well done on the article and the race. You continue to inspire everyone you know and you should be very proud of your recent accomplishment. Well done and keep striving for excellence!

    • master mentor
      Posted at 07:56h, 09 May Reply

      Hi Linh, Sounds like you have had positive results yourself with routines and rituals. I will definitely check in with your other friend who was in the race so we can share more of the race day, inspiration too. Permanent ink? Well there’s a thought. Your enthusiastic support of my personal quests makes such a difference. Appreciate all of this and more. Thanks Linh.

  • Lesley Wilson
    Posted at 04:26h, 09 May Reply

    You are one impressive lady!!! You sure you don’t have another marathon in you???

    • master mentor
      Posted at 08:14h, 09 May Reply

      Thanks Leslie. Like you I find running empowering, love racing, and love competing. As for longer distance events, marathons and I have parted ways. At present my fitness pursuits are to be stronger, fitter, and faster, specifically in shorter distances. Nevertheless, I am excited to enthusiastically cheer and support all of you in your marathon quests. And you’ll find me wherever I can help others go for excellence in their health and wellness pursuits. G’day my friend.

  • j. orchard
    Posted at 23:26h, 09 May Reply

    Hearty congratulations on your race and personal best achievement, Linda. Enjoyed your post. Well written, descriptive and insightful.


    • master mentor
      Posted at 12:14h, 10 May Reply

      Thank you for your ‘thumbs-up-on-all-accounts’ compliments J. Knowing you enjoyed my race recap has added to the Celebration. Happy running.

  • Sue
    Posted at 07:28h, 15 May Reply

    Congratulations on another well done race. You certainly reinforce to me what a well laid out plan can help you achieve.

    Loved reading your blog. I felt like I was there watching.

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