28 Jan Linda’s Robbie Burns 8km Road Race Report
Sunday January 27/2019 was the 40th Annual Robbie Burns 8km Road Race. “Best Winter Running Event” according to Get Out There Magazine. Sunday put the emphasis squarely on ‘Winter” and Weather, also ‘whether’…whether or not we would get there on time. A delayed arrival was a ‘wee’ change from previous years. The usual 01:45:00 drive time extended into 02:30:00. Still plenty of time for race kit pickup and all those prerace routines, which on Sunday included smearing vaseline all over my face. Given the cold conditions and lack of time, I thought back to earlier in the morning when shovelling the drive at 5 a.m. I had considered that shovelling might play a key role in my warmup for the race.
Enough time to head out, with plastic bag on as well, and run an easy 2k. A few dynamic drills and strides were done by 9:20 a.m. The Pipes and Drums had started and runners, not all eagerly, lined up at the Start. Many participants hanging back until the last possible moment to appear, prompting the Starter to shout “If you’re on the sidewalk instead of in the corral, you’re in the wrong place’. Seconds later the Start gun sounded promptly at 9:30 a.m.
How were the conditions on Sunday? The words of my coach Rick Mannen sum it up perfectly…he congratulated ‘everyone who fought the cold, blustery, slushy & slippery conditions’ of the day. That’s how it was.
Focus: It was important to focus on what was happening–the runners beside and ahead (never look back so have no idea what was happening there). Add to that the footing. I slipped 3 or 4 times which served as quick reminders not to let the mind wander. I did not look once at my Garmin, absolutely not once. No reason to do that at the time. (Checking the paces later would be useful.)
3k: Heading down Fairview and reaching the 3k mark, ‘here came the sun’. I pulled down the buff and took off the toque. Might need it again so carried it instead of tossing. My hair was not tied back and I enjoyed the free-flying red. Couldn’t believe my luck when I spotted the smooth-running Longboat female right there, right there. Her running was even, steady, and the pace felt made for the conditions. Could I pass? Undecided. Knowing the reputation of Longboaters I told myself I could do worse than stay there and tuck myself to her hip. (Thank you Nancy!) Made the 5k turn on to Lakeshore. Decided it was time to move ahead and start catching runners one at a time.
Locust Street: The final turn on to Locust (the last k) brought an onslaught of fresh wind gusts and slippery, slidey streets. (Perhaps if I were an elite runner I would have travelled the road before it became greasy underfoot.) My mental prerace plan involved tackling Locust one block at a time–Elgin, Ontario, Caroline, Birch, Blenheim and then the turn to the finish on Baldwin. Yes I had those memorized. Why memorize? Satisfying and doable to tick those blocks off, one at a time. 3 done and 3 to go sort of thing. Turned left on Baldwin–the Finish. Over before I knew it.
I was thrilled to take 3rd place in Age. It meant sharing the podium with my friends Diane Marrow (1st) and Christine Dirks (2nd). Must admit that in spite of the conditions Sunday’s Robbie Burns 8k felt like it was over in the ‘blink of an eye’–one of my more successful ‘get into the moment, the zone’. And, yes, it was fun!
Special thanks to my Coach Rick Mannen who trains and prepares me to do my best. It was wonderful to have both Rick and Josie there to inspire and cheer all the runners on Sunday. Many thanks,