Well today was the Santa Shuffle, in London. So it was an early morning, 6 am rise, eat, get half dressed for the race (base layer only), get D up and ready, leave at 6:55, pick up Lorne at 7:05 and hit the road.
The weather was calling for a lot of snow overnight in London, but the drive from Windsor had nothing on the 401. Until we past the sign for London, then there was about a foot and it looked like one single snow cloud was in the sky, right over downtown, where we were headed.
Once we were in London, Sue drove and I finished getting dressed to run. It was cold. Easily -15C, way colder than it's been in Windsor yet, but there wasn't any real significant wind. So we figured it wouldn't be too bad. Once we got there, Chris and Jake found us pretty easily and we started to realize that there was a lot of snow on the ground. They had over 20 cm overnight and were trying to get the sidewalks cleared.
Somehow, during the week, I remembered that last year for Christmas, Uncle Bob had given all the boys this sort safety ice grippers (remember the overwhelming stench of rubber?). So I needed to find them. Thursday night I spent going through boxes in the shed with a flashlight and in the very last box that I opened, there they were! Now, if there were bad running conditions, I may have an advantage.
Since the race is more of a 'fun run' then an Olympic event, it was pretty informal. There were about 300 people participating. Both runners and walkers, which made for a crowed course on very poorly plowed sidewalks. Jake and I started near the front, but still had some really slow traffic to get around in the first 1/2 km. The spikes, which the guys were claiming as illegal (I said that it's not illegal to be prepared), were of no real advantage. As the race progressed most of the bad spots turned to slush, but all four corners were tough to navigate (more about that in a minute) spikes or not. We exchanged the lead a couple of times in the first lap, then I led two laps, then he led the forth and at the beginning of the fifth lap. But for the entire race we were within arms length of each other. We lapped Lorne and Sue starting our third lap, their second. Then we corralled Chris towards the end of either our third or forth lap. We weren't setting any speed records with the course being as it was, we were at about 20 minutes through four laps.
Into the fifth lap and things started to heat up, not literally, it was still really cold. With so much traffic out there we kept yelling "LEFT LEFT LEFT!" Which to runners means, "I'm about to pass you on your left." I did hear one lady say, "Oh our left, not theirs." For the record, my left is on the same side as her left. With Jake leading, he did most of the calling out. We caught Lorne again half way through our last lap and coming into the final corner we caught Sue again. Jake got by her right before the corner and this is where I made a big blunder. I thought, for a split second, about cutting inside to get by her, but I knew I had to stay on her left. Of course, with the split second delay, I pretty much bumped right into her and slowed right down. Thankfully, I didn't knock her over, or I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be here now to write this! I don't think that this had any effect on the outcome, but Jake was now about twenty feet ahead and we both started to really pick up the pace. I got back within arms length about 50 feet from the end, but that was as close as I could make it. Jake won, he gets the Nano, I was a step behind him. He said later that if the line had been ten feet further, I would have beat him. He could hear my spikes coming hard and was really worried. It was an excellent race. I'm disappointed to lose, but not too much because I know we were so close.
Our time was about 24:30, which seemed really slow to us, almost a 5 minute kilometre. But with the bad conditions, wasn't a huge shock. Anyway, I checked the distance on Gmap pedometre and came to realization that we had actually run further! Check out the course that I mapped out, we went almost 5.6 km! Which puts out pace at 4:24, which is closer to what it felt like.
I think part of the reason I didn't beat Jake is that I spent a lot of time thinking about what he was doing and not thinking about what I should be doing to take control. I kept saying to myself, "Stay a couple of steps behind him." Unfortunately for me, that is exactly how the race ended. I should have been focusing on how I felt and how I could have taken the lead in the final lap and done the work to stay ahead. Being behind, I never got to see what kind of pain he was in, and he told me that he was hurting, that I really pushed him in the end. Next time I'll take more control.