Linda’s Le Chocolat 10K Race Report

06 May Linda’s Le Chocolat 10K Race Report

On Sunday May 1 2016, in Le Chocolat 10K CMAA (Canadian Masters Athletics Association) Age-Category Championship Road Race, I ran a Personal Best of 49:20. Won 1st in Age-Category! Yeah!

The Sunday race morning alarm rang early. I was none too eager to bust out of bed nor pleased to suddenly awaken to reality–Race Day. Surprising? Do other runners leap up and excitedly dash to the Start? Not me. I need pre race routines to wake me up, warm me up, and rev me up, step by step.


Celebrating Le Chocolat 10K PB and 1st in CMAA Age Category

Showered, dressed, and ‘coffee-d’, I headed out. No one in sight. My only companions were the tunes of my playlist appropriately starting with Get Over It. (Saved Katy Perry’s Roar of the Tiger for later.) I slowly jogged through the damp, dreary darkness. Passed by the piles of Aid Station supplies (water bottles, cups, tables) that race committee volunteers had dutifully worked through the night to deliver. Now it was my turn to dutifully warmup.

Back in my room, I sipped on a protein shake and suited up for the race. I was going to look like a ‘real runner’—singlet, arm sleeves (homemade…thin black knee-high socks with toes cut off and stitched to prevent an unravelling of flopping thread peeling loose mid race), black Nike running shorts, bright pink compression calf sleeves, skinny anklet socks, flashy neon-orange NB 1400 racing flats, fav amber-tinted Tifosi shades, black minigloves, my red-streaked hair tied back in the pony tail, and a buff just in case. My husband added the finishing touch—a brilliant red eye-catching Canadian Maple Leaf stick-on tattoo for my upper arm. Racing in Windsor, a border city, I especially revelled in proclaiming my patriotism.


Le Chocolat Warmup Gear

On schedule we arrived at the race venue. My race plan always includes noting ‘what to do’s and when to do’s’ prerace. This saves mental energy and quells prerace jitters. Now 2nd warmup—a few minutes of easy running, dynamic drills, and strides. I enjoyed eating my 2 tasty medjool almond-butter stuffed dates, saving a gel for 15 minutes before the start. Last portapotty stop, a ‘Good Luck’ from my husband, and into the Start area. I looked up the course, raised both arms in a ‘V’ while exclaiming ‘Yes, Yes, Yes, I will do my best’.

The gun sounded and it was time for the Le Chocolat 10K show. There I was with Riverside Drive underfoot, Detroit River and skyline to the left, and up ahead loomed the barely visible outline of the Ambassador Bridge (visibility only 1.8K). That was it for sightseeing. As Emily Dickenson wrote ‘I dwell in possibility’—and my goal was to zone into the process of running 1 mile, 6 times. Today I wanted to emulate Scott Jurek’s approach: (Jurek is a 7-times Western States Endurance Champ) I tune into my breath, technique, and current pace, and I stay away from what lies ahead’. So I ran by feel with an occasional look at my Garmin for current pace. Not once during the race did I allow myself to check the elapsed time. Today was process and not outcome.

finish_line After the 3-mile turnaround mark I started passing. The proximity of the Windsor Casino perhaps inspired me to up the ante today and focus on faster runners to reel in. Even I was surprised as I consistently caught them, passed them, and zipped along. What a difference running ‘fast and easy’ rather than ‘fast and hard’. I made the final turn to the Finish. Did my best to use that creatine-rush and sprint across the mats. 49:20! A Personal Best. A CMAA 1st in Age. Yahoo. Don was taking pictures as the strong, fit Firefighter placed a medal around my neck.

Interesting things can happen after a race: Packing for home I clumsily dropped my suitcase on my foot. As we headed home I realized I had forgotten my glasses in the room. Later that evening I spilled a cup of coffee all over my desk. Yikes, yikes, and yikes. It was then I understood my husband’s response when I had politely offered to drive home after the race. He had grinned, and knowingly responded ‘Ah, it’s okay. I think it’s better if I drive’. In spite of my best efforts to refuel and unwind after a race, I have learned it is wise to let someone else take charge. That is the safest plan, at least until my body and its glucose-deprived brain get fully restored.

Mighty Medals: CMAA, Le Chocolat, CMAA 1st in Age

Mighty Medals: CMAA, Le Chocolat, CMAA 1st in Age


  1. No training plan is perfect. No race strategies are the best. What works is to personalize a process that suits us best. ‘We are an experiment of ONE.’
  2. Just before heading to the Start a Scottish friend and running buddy texted me: ‘A pinch and a punch for the first of the month…and no returns. Good luck with your big race. Run free and nail it.’ That put me in touch with why I had been training so hard. It reminded me that I had good friends ‘in my corner’. Really, how could I let him down. Thanks Ticker.
  3. Sharing my medals with my 96-yr-old Dad.
  4. Celebrating the day, CMAA 1st in Age-Category, and my 10K Personal Best with my husband.


    Chris Uszynski (Le Chocolat Race Organizer) Running Flat

    Jason Tunks (Fitness Trainer) HIIT IT Fitness

    How do you get ready to race? What works best for you?

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