Over the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend I ran my second to last competitive race of the year at the Valley Harvest race weekend in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada. As the namer suggest it is harvest time this so there are plenty of farm markets, farms and orchards to explore and to find fresh produce. The colours of the leaves are also beginning to change which adds to the draw of the race. I grew up in this area and went to university here so for me it is always a treat to be back.
Along with the scenic courses and harvest atmosphere the race always has good swag and really provides good value for your race dollar. This year, all runners received a blanket and a light shell in lieu of the standard race shirt. Of course each finisher also receives a medal and the design always seems to be thoughtful and harvest themed.
This year, 2015, the race held extra meaning for me, five years ago, in 2010, I ran my very first race there, also of 10km. I had just started running consistently in the summer of 2010 and decided to run my first race at home, with sister and brother-in-law also in attendance; i ran the 10km in 1:09:38.
This year I had hoped to go sub 50 minutes as there are really only two hills to contend with and the weather is usually conducive for good times. Realistically I had not been putting a lot of effort into my running recently, having only run 85km for the month of September…but I was planning, regardless, to give my top effort. My girlfriend Nicola was also running the 10km, it was her first time at this race.
It was a bit cool the morning of the race with a bit of a north wind and cloudy. For us east coast runners it was almost just right, especially once you started running, you wouldn’t notice the slight chill. I ran the first 5km in just over 26 minutes but was choppy with my strides, the 10km has a turnaround point just past the 5km mark and it was there that I noticed the front runners coming back, with their much more flowing, elongated strides that I realized that I needed to relax and be more efficient with my running. So I lengthened ,my stride a bit and used more of my muscles rather than just the turn over rate. i ran the last 5km about 20-30 seconds faster than the first 5km, so I ran a negative split but not quite the one that I would have preferred, finishing in a time of 52:01…If I had only kicked a little sooner 😉
Even though I didn’t hit 50 minutes I actually was pretty happy as my sister and brother-in-law both finished their half marathons and Nicola ran a PB of 2 minutes for her 10km…she’s getting speedy yo! Personally I was ecstatic to see that I had run this 10km around 17 minutes faster than 5 years ago, not bad for a guy who’s actually getting older 😉 I’m realistic that it is unlikely I’ll maintain this type of improvement level, I am encouraged that slowly but surely I’m improving my fitness and technique, becoming a more efficient and stronger runner.
My only complaint with this race would be the gym where we gathered after the race smelled TERRIBLE! Honestly it was nausiating and this will need to be addressed for future events.
Overall I highly recommend this race, good value, good swag, harvest time in the valley and lots of distances to choose from; they offer a 50km ultra as well. I would suggest that you make this a goal race and then enjoy some time at the local wineries and the local harvest.
Thanks for reading
One foot in front of the other
Last race of the season: November 7th, Run the River 5km