Disclaimer: I ran the Mercedes-Benz 10k as an ambassador and thus my race entry was comped. All opinions are my own.
The Mercedes-Benz 10K is a week before my goal race, the Mississauga Half Marathon. So the training leading up to the Mercedes-Benz 10K was pretty decent. I’ve already done my 23K long run and had started tapering so the Mercedes-Benz 10K was going to be my last workout run. It was supposed to be a tempo, 5K warm up pace, 5k at 5:35min/km, then 2K cool down. This was the “confident builder” race so to me, it was quite an important race to nail. The race said the course would be fast and flat so I was ready to rumble.
Race Day: Morning
The face of a girl who haven’t slept properly in like a week thanks to my exam lol! Selfie credit: Cathy
Learning from my previous mistake at Achilles 5K of having to eat hot pizza pockets for breakfast, I had real pizza the morning of this time! Because this race was in Oakville, around 40K from Toronto to get there, Cathy, Allison and I had met up at 6:45 to carpool to Oakville. The race had requested we all be there by at the latest 7:45 so they could shuttle us 5K from the parking lot to the start area. Unfortunately, one of the shuttlebuses had broken down causing a delay in the transportation. I was totally worried but luckily, we made a phone call and get picked up by a van and dropped off a block from the start area. Due to the transportation hiccup, the race was delayed by 20 minutes. I managed to get there just in time to get into Corral C but didn’t get a chance to get to the port-a-potties. Since it was only 10k, I wasn’t too concerned about my bladder.
I had on my Mizuno Breathe Thermo zip up, my favourite Lululemon Tracker shorts, Mizuno Wave Rider 12s, my Longboat Road Runner singlet, and a Nike t-shirt underneath. The outfit was absolutely perfect for the weather but it was definitely a bit more chilly that I thought it’d be (5 degrees C/41 F).
Race Day: The Race
The race was a bit of a surprise to me. As I said before, it was said to be flat and fast but I knew I’d be in trouble after the first kilometre. The first kilometre was downhill. And you KNOW that at a race, what goes downhill…. Usually goes uphill! So the first 5K went by pretty swimmingly. Vicky and I ran together and it was fun flying down the hills. The view for the first 5K was also quite scenic. The Mercedes-Benz 10k route had us run by the water so we got a cool breeze and was able to avoid the boring city views that most city races provide. The view was definitely one of the highlights of the race!
Then came the uphill. You know how when I hear that they’ll be a hill at a race, I will 99.9% skip the race? Yeah. Surprise! It was time to go up! I mean it wasn’t big monsterous hills, but it was definitely something I would have liked to factored in when making a pace plan. However, I’m just going to chalk it up to hill training as my goal race next week does have hills and the treadmill I’ve been hogging at the gym has none. So I didn’t hit the paces I had wanted to due to the hills, but hey, I ran hills. I also got to see where the Lululemon in Oakville was located and I had a momentary thought of going in for a quick shop haha. But overall, I really did not enjoy the hills and it really threw me off my game plan. I had tried to stick to my goal of 5:35 as much as possible: the last 5K was 5:36, 5:52, 6:00, 5:52, 5:45.
Elevation map from Allison
unofficially, my watch said 59:54, 10.15K
Officially according to sportstats, 59:49, 10K
We were given these really cool medals. The Mercedes-Benz logo for sure looks great for me, in case you’re reading this MB, I would also look great driving one ;)
After the finishing chute, we were herded off to the field where we started. Post race food included bagels, apples, bananas, and cookies. I beelined for the cookies. I ran hills, I soooo deserved it. Plus any race that has good cookies (not the hard as rock ones, ahem) has my attention.
Shuttle ride back to the parking lot! (WordPress is being funky with rotation)
I really appreciated the short little motivational quotes under each race marker – considering that I’m nearsighted and can barely see half the time, I approve of their font size. The one I can currently remember in my post run haze is the 3K marker saying Run Forest Run!!
I would have really liked the roads to have been more clear. Because the entire road was not sectioned off the race, it was quite tight. On the major roads, I had one lane divided into half, one side for those going out and one side for those going back on the course. It was difficult to weave through as it gave enough room for us to be two by two and the other lane to be two by two. At one point, when I hit my 5K mark and I knew I had to pick up the pace, I had to cut onto the sidewalk to be able to break past the pace. I didn’t mind as it gave me a clear path to go from 6:10mins/km to 5:35 but it was probably not the best idea if there had been spectators on the course.
In addition, I was very uncomfortable with the roads not fully being closed. There were cars trying to turn out of smaller streets and into the main road while we were running on the main road. I ended up running behind a pick-up truck around the 5K mark to get around it. I understand that it can get expensive to close down roads for too long but it just wasn’t something I’m okay with. One car actually didn’t respect the no parking sign and was ticketed for parking on the lane was blocked off for runners.
This leads to the need for more signage and marshalling. I was lucky as I was running with quite a large pack of people around me but people like Bart was not. While the lead runner had a cyclist giving him directions, Bart did not. He was one of the front of the pack guys so usually that means there isn’t a lot of them running together with a crowd. He and another runner unfortunately took a wrong turn due to the lack of signal and course marshals. I agree that there should have been more signs due to the high amount of turns that we did into residential and back streets.
**Luckily, it was mentioned by Mercedes-Benz 10k that such concerns have been taken into account and that the course will be updated for the next year. I’m actually very much looking forward to it if there are no more hills involved! Like I had mentioned earlier, it was quite the scenic route and it’s always nice to have a nice view of the water while grinding out 10K. In addition to my concerns about having to wait in a long line for baggage check, the race have said that they are working to cut down on the waiting time**
Baggage pick up line in front of me. Baggage pick up line behind me.
While the shuttle bus having a breakdown was out of the race’s control, I felt there should have been more buses running. I really appreciated how they had transported not only the runners but the spectators together to the starting area. This really helps make spectators feel included in an event and it helps keep families and friends together to avoid the panic filled “where are you?!” texts.
Line for shuttle buses when we arrived at 7:40AM
The race also allowed for race day bib pick up which was great for people who like myself was from out of town. However, I had heard from Cathy who picked up my bib on Friday that the line up was quite long.
A feature that Mercedes-Benz 10K had that I found to be great was that it was extremely family friendly. The kids were able to run their own race so they were able to be included in the day’s events if one or both their parents were running. It’s a great way to get kids active.
And speaking of kids being active, I’ve never been more proud than to see Melly’s daughter do her very first 5K race and ENJOYED IT enough that she says she’ll do more races with us in the future (although I had told her to get Melly to buy her something pretty for doing so well for her first 5K). There was a 1K junior jog, and a free toddler tot. Guys, if you have never seen a group of toddlers tot-ing at a race, you are missing out. It is the cutest thing ever. In line with having the kids feel included, there was a family zone near baggage check where kids had the option of Parachute Games, Hula Hoop Competition, Family Bingo, Mini Basketball and more to keep kids entertained.
Major thanks to all the volunteers and sponsors at Mercedes-Benz 10K such as: GoodLife Fitness, New Balance Canada, Booster Juice for making this day possible. Also, major thanks for having FREE RACE PHOTOS. Free race photos are seriously the best. I’ll be updating the post once race photos come out!
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QOTD: Did you race this weekend? Big Sur? Scotiabank Montreal? London Marathon? How did it go?
Oh, and I did not win the one year free lease via the Mercedes-Benz 10k draw prize. A girl can dream.