Race Report: Run Waterloo’s Re-Fridgee-Eighter

A Waterloo Tradition

The Re-Fridgee-Eighter is hosted by Run Waterloo, and has been a tradition in the city for over 20 years. It consists of a 3k, 8k, and 8mile race. I signed up for  the 8 mile, thinking it would be a great chance to add a “motivated” tempo run to my third marathon training week.

The weather report instilled in me mild alarm in the days leading up to the race. A winter storm gently nestled into Guelph on Friday and Saturday, adding 15 more centimetres of snow to our modest snowbanks. Freezing rain was predicted to start at 9am, race day.

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The Race

I arrived early, registered, and fretted over my layering choices. I finally settled on a long sleeve technical shirt, a short sleeve, and light shell. Light pants, Peregrine Ice 7+ shoes. Light gloves, headband, and Ciele cap. I introduced myself to Sandi, a lovely fellow Team Awesome member. Her warm spirit was very welcome as we trudged outside to face the elements.

It was -5 degrees celsius at the start line. I felt my heart rate increase expectantly as the crowd started to accelerate ahead, with Garmin buzzing and beeping filling the air. Luckily, road conditions were better than expected. There was only 2k of sloppy snow. The freezing rain generously refrained from falling until halfway through the race.

I started at about 5:00min/km, sped up to 4:35 or so, and then gradually slowed to about 4:55-5:10 through the rougher conditions. The majority of the race, I ran neck and neck with a gentleman who was verbally airing frustrations about the conditions, which was pretty amusing! It was nice to have someone there to push against, pace-wise. I hope he felt the same!

Run Waterloo Re-Fridgee-Eighter
Run Waterloo Race

The Finish

Coming around the corner to see the finish line was joyous, though a sea of more sloppy snow was in the way. I finished in 1:00:52. Sandi met me at the finish, which was very sweet! After collecting an AG silver medal, I had an impromptu lunch with two inspiring female runners and their lovely partners. It turned out to be a very satisfying morning!

Overall, I was secretly hoping to be a little faster. This pace was slower than my total half marathon pace in November. The conditions were not optimal, granted, but I don’t think they hindered me that much. It was a sobering reminder to keep up the speed work, and get down to some serious business in this training cycle.