Ran the Candy Cane Lane 5k on the weekend and for the second year in a row, this course got the better of me.
Don’t know what it is about this race but I found it hard to maintain my goal pace last year and it was a similar story again this year. But, still a great way to spend a Sunday: I was among family and great friends supporting a great cause, it was another beauty day, I picked up another first-place medal in my age group and set a new PB for 5k. Yep, not a bad way to spend a Sunday morning at all.
The Candy Cane Lane 5k was Sunday, Nov. 18 and is part of the Winter Festival of Lights in Niagara Falls. The event also includes a 2.5k fun run and acts as a fundraiser for Project SHARE, a local food bank in Niagara Falls. The race starts and finishes in a hotel parking lot on Lundy’s Lane and runners complete two laps of the 2.5k loop, which takes you along the Lane and through some nearby residential streets.
What I love about doing two laps of the course is seeing the fans at the finish twice. My wife Julie and my two daughters always wait for me at the finish line so its nice to see them halfway through the run.
I find after every turn there is a hill to climb and have come to the realization that I am probably not giving the course the respect it deserves. That was clear after my lightning fast start of the race. I tend to allow myself to start 5ks fast, but usually not too fast. My recent strategy has been to run my fastest laps during my first and last kilometers while hitting goal pace over kilometers two, three and four. It’s worked pretty well for me.
The plan was to hit three minutes and 30 second splits and finish the race in under 17:30. Really, there were points last week I thought I could do it in under 17 minutes. However, I started too hard for some reason, running the first kilometer in 3:05. That’s probably the fastest kilometer I’ve run all year and it came going slightly uphill and required me to dodge the pace car that for some reason stopped about 200 metres from the start. I was also trying to slow myself down when I realized how fast I was going.
I finished my second kilometer in 3:25 and the eventual winner passed me not long after. Got to tell you, I’ve been loving running with the front pack: these guys are amazing and make what is killing me look so effortless.
Hit 3:40 splits for the next three kilometers. Was happy to run 4k in under 14 minutes since this was a favourite tempo workout over the summer. Was wearing my Garmin for the race heard the 5k alert at 17:30. Problem was, I was about 150 meters from the finish and, strangely, it took me about 45 seconds to get there. A little disappointed but confidently in fourth place, I crossed the finish in 18:15, setting a new personal best.
The volunteers were great and registration functioned much more efficiently this year than last. Niagara Regional Police did a great job controlling traffic, especially on Lundy’s Lane. Got to chat with some people I haven’t seen in a while and was proud to be a part of an event that brought in so many donations from Project SHARE at a time when it needs it the most.
Still have the itch to run a 17:30 5k before the season closes, but the holidays coming up plus a busy work and class schedule over the next few weeks, it may be something that has to wait until next year. As for the Candy Cane Lane 5k, it won’t beat me again next year..