Sunday, October 27, 2013

Niagara Race Weekend Recap (Part 1: Saturday/Expo)

I'm trying to think of a way to keep this as short as possible, but seeing as how I'm still me, that's not really going to happen.  I can try to make it entertaining, but I can't really do that on purpose, so how about I just get on with it? *LOL*
Once I got back into the swing of running (and once my discovering Skora running shoes), nothing ensures staying with it like signing up for a race.  We had previously flaked on our registration the last time we signed up (back in 2011!) and so this time, I was determined that I was going to follow through and I was going to PR compared to my last chip time.
October 24, 2010

October 27, 2013
Unfortunately, such was not the way of it.  I'm trying not to let it bother me that from the plain, ol' simple black and white stats, it looks like I took a three-year break only to come back SLOWER. (Apparently there isn't a spot in SportStats that let's me explain that I'm 28 weeks preggo, or something...)
When I registered with Tara and Bart back in March, I definitely didn't know there was a little munchkin on the way (because there actually wasn't just yet) so I had some pretty lofty goals - if you can call beating a 40 minute 5K a goal *LOL* Ah well, I went out there and we had at it and I had a REALLY great weekend with some really great people!
We headed down to Niagara in the afternoon and made a beeline for the expo to pick up our race packets.  Scored myself free parking at the Skylon Tower lot, thanks (for once) to my temper.  We were at an all-way stop and some guy totally turned left in front of my already moving car that was going STRAIGHT (not to mention the fact that it was MY right of way) and unfortunately, my first instinct is to flash him the bird (sorry, Mama) right in front of the gate attendant.  He waved me right on in and then continued to take the $10 payment from everyone else that was coming in after me.  Word to big bird!  Thank you, parking attendant guy!  I imagine you've seen your fair share of "special" drivers.  
Headed into the expo and it was run very well.  I can't remember our first experience in 2010 to compare, but I feel like this year was nice and smooth.  Runners received E-Mails starting on October 24th with their bib numbers (we could also look them up on the website) and we were told that we just need to know our bib numbers in order to pick up our packets.  No standing in line according to last name A - L, M - Z, etc.  Right when we walked in, there was a bit of congestion inside the front doors as they had some laptops set up for runners to look up their bib numbers.  It kind of made it hard to get in the door and it was hard not to do a bit of a head shake at all the people who didn't know their bib numbers.
In any case, bib pick up was easy - even for us, as we were picking up two different packets - one for our 5K and then another line for the 2K.  We got our bags and our bibs which also had our timing chips.  We followed a red carpet all the way throughout the expo that lead around to the different vendors and at the end of it, computers and scanners where we could activate our bib tags and away we went.
I'm having a bit of regretsies in not buying anything at the expo, but I was running around with the "BUY ALL THE THINGS" gleam in my eye, but I think I took it completely the opposite direction by not buying anything at all.  
Compression Socks from BondiBand
REALLY wanted one or two or ALL of these!  They also had a pile of their headbands and there were so many that I wanted with sayings, but I've only just started wearing headbands and I'm still not really sure how I feel about the way I look in them, not to mention that the back of my head is so flat it never holds the headband in place.  
Source: @Si11ySkitt1es on Instagram
Aaaand lookie who I met!  John Stanton - the founder of The Running Room and author of several books!  We're pretty much BFFs now.
So, I didn't get to buy too much, although there were some pretty good vendors there!  I was really interested in the Run Girl Run booth.  Also having regretsies about not picking up THIS shirt.  Now that I'm checking out their website, I'm kicking myself a little at blowing through the booths so fast because there's a bunch of stuff that I want now! *LOL*
But let's face it: I kind of had a one track mind for this:
Source: @Si11ySkitt1es on Instagram
Ummm...this is what runners meant by carb-loading, right?!  Isn't that the only reason to run?  Sooo GOOD! 
We made a pit stop to the Hershey factory outlet, but unfortunately, I was SO FULL from my carb-load, so I didn't even get a chance to enjoy it.  
Breakfast. Of. CHAMPIONS, y'all.
I felt justified in taking two bites of this because I always read about people who have a slice of toast with peanut butter before a workout or run.  This is pretty much also the same thing.  Bread is loosely translated in my world.  But I'm jumping ahead.  Pretend you haven't seen this yet!  It hasn't happened yet based on this post!
I was determined that I was going to do everything I could to make sure I was well/properly hydrated for this race and just as physically okay as I could be.  All day Saturday, starting from when I woke up, my Reebok compression socks went on (I couldn't find my rainbow ones *insert sad face*) and I filled up my Contigo water bottle (favourite water bottle EVER!) and before breakfast was over, I had finished one bottle of water already.  I was also determined that I would keep it nice and steady throughout the day.  None of this bulk water chugging which usually happens just a few minutes before bed which never leads to anything fun - like a full night's worth of sleep.  
I think this mission was pretty successful.  I know for sure because I have been experiencing leg cramps throughout the night which has woken me up from sleeping the last few weeks and I did not experience that the night after I made hydration my focus.  I had read that not being properly hydrated was one of the reasons that people experienced leg cramps, so I'm going to say that was tried and true.  I am horrible with remembering to drink water.
Before I finally headed to bed, I made sure all my gear was prepped and everything that I would need for tomorrow was ready to go.  I didn't want to wake up and scramble to look for packets of hydration and pre-workout energizer and sacrifice warm-up time or rush around and chance forgetting something.
 



I had two separate running outfits planned for each run, but I figured I was being a bit optimistic since I wasn't sure that we'd even make it back in time for the 2K.  
CONFESSION: My ambition greed for medals knows no bounds, y'all.
When I was signing up, I had originally just planned for the 5K since that's what I wanted to improve my time on, but I noticed that since the last time we were in Niagara, they added a 2K and I was like, AWESOME!  I had been averaging 35 minute 5Ks so I was thinking there'd be TONS of time to do both.  The 5K was at 8:30 am and the 2K was after that at 10:15 am.  Psssh, there was even MORE than enough time.  I'd have enough time to take a nap and then some!
Yep, that was my thought process prior to getting preggo.  Once I found out I was expecting and then realized that we were signed up for this race, that thought took on a new tune for sure.  Considering that I was averaging a 45+ minute plus 5K.  The thing that made it worse, I realized MUCH later on that the races were not an out and back in the way that the end finishes at the start like it did the last time we were there.  It was an out and back route in the way that from the start, we went one way, but then looped back around, passed the start line and then finished somewhere else completely.  So what that meant for us was that once we finished the 5K, we would have to walk about 2K to get back to the start for the next race.  GAH!  
So after that realization, I wasn't even sure there would be time for an outfit change, but I packed it all anyway to be prepared.  I had everything all set to go from my gear, to my hydration to my morning snack (besides the peanut butter cookie sandwich).  I knew my electronic running gadgets were charged and ready to go and I was able to go to sleep knowing that I could sleep right up until my alarm and get up the next morning not having to rush around.  If I was going to lose sleep about anything race-related, it for sure wasn't going to because I was stressing out about forgetting something!
With that said and all my strings tied and t's crossed, etc. I was ready for bed!  Bring on race day!

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