Just let the elf pass you – Tannenbaum 10k

On Dec. 1, I ran my last race in 2013. Dan, who hadn’t run a race since Warrior Dash in July, ran it with me. We chose the Tannenbaum 10k because all proceeds go to the Centre 55 Share a Christmas Program. The race is also held in The Beach, which is pretty close to where we live, and takes us on some of our favourite routes. I had heard that it was a fast, flat course, so that was a bonus too.

Tannenbaum 10k hat and medal

The race kit had lots of goodies, including a warm hat. I especially love the pom pom.

We arrived about an hour before the race started and warmed up. There were 700 runners signed up for the race, so it was crowded but not suffocating.

runners near the start before the race

We warmed up near the start of the race.

We were also led through a group warm up, which was a lot of fun.

Mei with runners warming up behind her

I took a break from the warm up to take this picture. You can see runners behind me participating in the group warm up.

We were also very lucky with the weather. This was our first year running the Tannenbaum 10k and I heard that it rained hard last year. This year we had mild weather with not a lot of wind. There were some icy patches on the trail but never to the point where I thought I would slip. It started to rain as Dan and I were finishing the run, so we missed the poorer weather conditions.

a tiny bit of snow

The weather was perfect. Barely any snow on the ground and not too many icy patches. We didn’t need our yak tracks at all.

Dan and I were going to run together but when the horn sounded he took off so I decided to just take it at my own pace. My Nike Running app reset itself and somehow got set to the “Now Playing” mode so I ended up running without music. Instead my app whispered my time and pace in my ear at every kilometre. I’ve run without music before so I just relaxed and didn’t worry too much about it. I was also familiar with the route, which took us from The Beach, across Lakeshore, down Lesley, through part of Tommy Thompson Park, and back. Because of this I found running without music kind of relaxing and the first 5k flew by.

At first it seemed like everybody was passing me. Men, women, kids, elves, people decked out in tinsel. I wondered if my lack of training (I had taken running easy after my last two races) had taken a toll and if I was losing my fitness. Then my app would tell me my pace and I realized I was fine. I’ve come to accept that I’m not a fast runner (these people were fast!) and I’m fine with it. Instead I ignored everybody else and concentrated on myself. At the turnaround I saw Dan coming back and he told me the turn was up ahead. My app said I ran the first 5k in about 30 minutes. I decided to try to run the second half a bit faster. I have yet to master the negative split (usually I have positive splits) so I thought I’d give it a try. On our way out of the park I started to pass people and it felt good. I felt strong. As I approached Lakeshore I saw a man with an Elf hat and ears who had passed me earlier. He was walking so I started to run past him and then he started running again. This elf was fast! After a while I thought “Just let the elf pass you,” and away he went.

A little after 8k I caught up to Dan. I was surprised because he was so far ahead of me. He was walking so I worried that he had hurt himself or lost his wedding ring (he lost his wedding ring at Warrior Dash so it’s totally possible!) or something. It turned out he was just taking walking breaks because he had blisters from his new shoes. We decided to run the last 2k together.

With 1k left I could see the finish line but it seemed so far away. As we got closer to it we sped up and we could see the clock. It was at 59 minutes something so we sped up. I saw it change to an hour a little before we crossed.

Dan and Mei at the finish

Dan and I crossing the finish (I’m slightly blocked out by the runner in front of us. Looks like she had a fast finish too!). A volunteer for the race took the pictures at the finish line. I thought that was really nice.

I was so proud of us. I had hoped to finish in around an hour. Before and even during marathon training, I consistently ran 10k in 1 hour 7 minutes. So to me an hour would be great. When we got our official time I found out that we finished in 59:39. I was so happy. My goal is to work up to running 10k in under an hour consistently. Though I have decided that I care more about having a good time during my runs than about time.

Mei with her medal and coconut water

Me with my medal and my coconut water. So proud to finish my last race of the year.

The post-race food was really good. We got complimentary coconut water, baked goods from COBS fresh bread, hot tea from David’s Tea, complimentary chocolate mint cliff bars (my favourite!) and more.

Overall we had a good time and really enjoyed the race. So that was my last race in 2013. So far I’ve signed up for six races in 2014, so there will be more!

close up of the Tannenbaum 10k medal

One last look at my Tannenbaum 10k medal.

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