Two races in Niagara Falls this weekend

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It’s the Canada Day long weekend: who’s else is celebrating an extra day off work with a nice, long run?

This weekend is a big weekend in my house. The kids have just wrapped up their school year, summer vacation has officially begun, there are fireworks and all sorts of fun stuff to do outside. I’ll also be starting up my second annual summer run streak this weekend, with the goal of running everyday from Canada Day to Labour Day (at least). But I’ll talk more about that later.

Looking to get into a race this weekend? There are two in Niagara Falls:

Run for the Docks 2013
June 30
Niagara Falls, Ont.
http://www.events.runningroom.com/site/?raceId=8864#starttimes

Run for St. John’s Ambulance
5k run or walk
July 1 (Canada Day)
Niagara Falls, Ont.
http://www.niagarafalls.ca/events-notices/annual-events/canada-day/default.aspx or http://www.niagarafalls.ca/pdf/recreation/canada-day/run-entry-form.pdf

Check out my listing of Races in Niagara. There are some great events coming up.

Race review: The Moon in June 10k

It’s been awhile, I know. And I don’t really have any good excuses for not writing much lately except for the few good books I’ve read, the two seasons of Raising Hope I’ve watched on Netflix, a lot of writing for my day job and, of course, running a lot of kilometers every week in an effort to hit some pretty ambitious goals I’ve set for myself this year.

I’ve had some good training runs and some great races where I’ve lowered my personal bests for 5k and 10k by several minutes. And while I’m getting closer to my goals, I still feel so far off. I guess I thought it would be easier.

I’ve been training to run a sub-35 minute 10k and took a shot at it June 8 at the 22nd annual Moon in June Road Race in Burlington, Ont. This was not a Niagara Race, but Burlington is about a 40-minute drive down the QEW. This was my first time doing the Moon in June, but I’d heard great things about it from friends who had done the kids’ run last year.

Moon in June raises funds for the Halton Trauma Centre features a 1k kid’s run, a 5k run and walk and the 10k. The kids were fun to watch as they bolted from the start line at full speed.

Children bolted from the start line during the Moon in June kids race.

Children bolted from the start line during the Moon in June kids race.

Can’t blame the youngsters for trying to run the race as fast as they could, they had medals and Mr. Freezies waiting for them at the finish line. The kids also got race shirts and some other nice swag.

There was also Kidsfest before the races that featured a bouncy castle, face painting, chalk drawing and other fun activities for the youngsters.

The 5k and 10k started at 9 p.m. and followed the same five kilometer loop. The website promised a flat and fast course. It was, and it featured what’s probably the longest home stretch I’ve ever run: more than a kilometer downhill to the finish line.

The course started downtown and featured a leg along Lakeshore Road.

The course started downtown and featured a leg along Lakeshore Road.

Before I tell you about the finish, let’s talk about the start. My plan was to run three-and-a-half minute kilometers for the first eight kilometers and pick it up over the last two. That would have got me home in under 35 minutes. Well, I started fast.

The Burlington Post ran a photo from the start of the races. That's me in the red Team Running Free shirt.

The Burlington Post ran a photo from the start of the races. That’s me in the red Team Running Free shirt.

It seems to happen at every race, especially when the road goes downhill, even if only slightly. I was flying during the first leg of the first kilometer, but I managed to get things somewhat under control and split at 3:17. I spent most of the first loop of the race trying to keep myself on pace and managed to cross the halfway line in around 17:30 as planned.

Things started to fall apart around 6k. I was feeling tired and was starting to struggle with finding my rhythm since I was varying my effort so much to meet stay on my goal pace. My seventh kilometer was probably one of the slowest I’ve run all year in a road race.

I was running in third spot overall for the 10k for most of the race. I was chasing some of the top 5k runners during the first loop, which may have also contributed to my pace being all over the map in the first half. But, I missed them in the second half because I was mostly on my own since I lost sight if the leaders somewhere around 6k.

The first-place female was hot on my heels, though, and passed me somewhere around 8k. I stayed with her and reclaimed third overall when I started to push hard again with 1.5 kilometers left in the race. I kicked at 9k (if getting back to goal pace can be considered a finishing kick) and won the foot race for third by only two seconds. I finished in 36:27, setting a new PB. I won my age group and enjoyed my fourth overall top three finish of the year. No medals for age group winners at this race. While I love running for shiny metal objects, I’m really enjoying my first place hoodie. Second place received a gym bag and third place won a parrot garden ornament.

I loved this race. Set up in downtown Burlington, it felt like a party at the finish line. Everyone enjoyed a free beer and pizza after the race while watching runners cross the finish line on a big screen.

That's me finishing the first loop of the 10k during a replay of the race on a big screen.

That’s me finishing the first loop of the 10k during a replay of the race on a big screen.

The volunteers were great and police controlled traffic and all intersections. Runners got a nice T-shirt (note a tech shirt), a bottle of Adult Essential Gummies multivitamins, some coupons and flyers, a free beer and a small bag. Definitely looking forward to running this race again.

Thomas Omawenga won the 10k race in 32:09, edging Predrag Mladenovic by two seconds. Dominica Jamnicky was the first female, finishing in 36:29.

Greg McNab won the 5k in 16:01 while Ashleigh Pattynama was the first female in 20:36. Friends Jay and Carrie West earned personal bests in the 5k run. Jay placed fourth overall and won the 35-39 age group in 18:13 while Carrie West finished her first 5k in 28:37. Her goal was to finish in under 30 minutes.

Congratulations to all fellow Team Running Free runners who finished the Moon in June races.

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Moon in June was a great night with great friends. Looking forward to doing it again. Next up, though, is the Peachbud in Grimsby June 25. I would love nothing more than to run my fastest 10k race at one of my favourite events of the year.