Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Canadian 5k Road Championships! Race Recap

I'm going to start at the beginning.

Back when there was snow on the ground, and I was hobbling around with an injury (in March) I heard that the B&O Yorkville 5k registration was opening.  A friend had run this race last year, and said it was a great course.  Good for a PB in the 5k.

That's all I needed to hear!

When I went to the website to sign up, there was something interesting on their website.

They were also holding the "Canadian 5k Road Championships" at that race site on the same day.  There were qualifying times listed, and my most recent 5k was under the qualifying time for women.  Hmmmmm.

Should I enter?

After some encouragement from my friends, I decided to go for it (gulp)!

A few weeks later, I received an email that I was in the race, at which time I promptly panicked that I had made a terrible mistake and that now, as I was in this championship race, I would perhaps have the chance of finishing in last place.

Now.  There is nothing wrong with last place.  Nothing at all.

Ask my high school cross country coach.  I have definitely finished a race in last, or close to last place.  I have always felt like I am still waaaaay ahead of anyone that didn't even start the race, amiright?

I was going to strive for a strong race, and a strong race for me would probably be an easy run pace for some of the elites I would be starting beside (ok, behind).

I know I was being dramatic. I spent the summer of 2014 achieving PBs in a few races, and running some amazing (and challenging) workouts...thanks coach Tia!  I have never been in so many 5k races before this summer.

As race day approached, and I tried not to fall back into my panic zone, I realized that I should just take this opportunity (afterall, this might be the one and only time I have this opportunity) and enjoy it for what it is!  When they sent out the starting list for the race, I found my name 12 places up from the bottom of the list.  My goal became finishing at least 13 from the bottom of the list (Or, go for the win! hahaha!).

I went to pick up my race kit, and the race director (the amazingly quick Megan Brown) said hello and told me a little about the course.  I felt special in that moment, of course!  This sub-elite thing was kind of ego-boosting!

Just as I was standing waiting for my kit, a woman said hello, and that she recognized me from another race.  It was a woman I had met while seeking shelter from the crazy rain and wind a the Midsummer Night's Run, Alice!  I saw her the next day at the race, too.  Her friend (Genevieve) was doing the 5k as her very first race.  So awesome.  The feeling of crossing the finish line never gets boring, but the first race finish is quite special.  Way to go, Genevieve!

Race Morning...

Papa and the boys were making the trek to the race with me.  This was my big day, so they weren't going to miss it.  The fact that it was 5k was great, as there is a lot less time to hang around while I am out on the course. 

I had a great sleep the night before the race.  I woke up excited and ready.  When I went in to wake up Olly, he said, "we're going to your raaaaaace!"  It was so cute to see him excited with his bed-head.

I ate breakfast in the car, and we arrived to the race area around 8am.  I headed to the school (race headquarters) to use the washroom, then  I went out for a warm up around 8:20, while Papa and the boys hung out in the car.
Tech time in the car while Mama warmed up.  Check out those BRIGHT shoes!!
My garmin (oh, my silly garmin) started to act up during my warm up.  Not sure if it was all of the tall buildings in the middle of Toronto, but it switched (spontaneously) to pace/km.  Ummmm.  Either that, or I was running close to race-pace for my warm up (6:00 pace?).

Then, suddenly after a mile (or kilometer?) it switched back.  Phew!

*I know I should be running at pace/km.  I know I am Canadian and that is what we do.  But for some reason, I have always worked in pace/mile.  I think I like the fact that I don't have to count as high.  Seriously.  "3" seems less far than "5".  Duh.
Our little family parade heading to the starting area

I got back to the car, changed my shoes, and we got the kids ready to head over to the start!  It was almost time!

We really lucked out with this venue.  The start and finish were very close to each other, with a school (that had a big playground) right in the middle!  As soon as I started, Papa and the boys played on the playground for 15 minutes, then headed to the finish area.  Perfect!

they don't look that enthused about my race. hmmm
The starting area was my favourite part of the whole day.  All of these *actual* elites, doing warm up drills back and forth, and I was in there with them, just doing my strides.  No big deal. (!!)

In the last few minutes, as I started to line up (near the back) I saw Alice again, and she wished me a good race.  I also saw Robin (one of my speedy Guelph running friends).  Seeing them made me more calm and I was ready to do this thing!

The horn went off, and, wow.  So did the runners.  I took a deep breath and forced myself to keep calm and not rush out to fast.  This was a crowd that I was NOT going to get caught up in. 

The first mile headed down Bay Street, which had a slight downgrade.  That, combined with the fast runners, could spell disaster.  I managed to keep it cool.  My first mile beeped in at 6:23.  Perfect.  I was hoping for 6:20, but this was even better.  I didn't lose control! yay!

Then, as we were still heading down a bit, I sped up.  I thought I was safe from the evils of going out too fast, so I started to pass a couple of people. 

Mile 2: 5:58.  Ya.  Oops.  That wasn't exactly as even as I had hoped for!

Maybe I could keep it up?  (pfffft)

We were headed up University Ave. at this point, passing Queen's Park.  We were headed back up that slight upgrade now.  And there was a head wind I wasn't happy about.  We passed a water station, which just didn't seem worth it to me.  There would be water at the finish!

I came up on a few guys (what?!) and tried to draft behind them.  When it was time to pass them, I tried to tell myself to just push through that burning feeling and find the finish.

As I rounded the corner for the final few hundred meters, I couldn't even look down at my watch.  I just wanted to get there.  My lungs were on fire and my arms were pumping as fast as I could make them! (mile 3 - 6:33, and mile 0.1 - 6:10)

As I came up to the finish I could see Robin, and I tried to smile (goodness knows if it looked like a smile, or sheer pain?!) and I was so so happy to be done.  It was over in a flash.  And I wasn't in last place!!

Little Milo was there, and gave me a hug (he probably could've knocked me over at that point) and I found Papa and my good friend Stephanie!  Yay! for spectators!!

A diligent runner would have gone for a nice cool down run at this time.  I did not.  I was too happy to chat with my friends/family that I ate my banana and lived on the edge.

Final time: 19:54
Age Group: 4/10
Gender: 44/68
Overall: 137/168 (way better than my goal!)

I am not an elite runner, nor do I ever want to be.  I love striving for PBs, working as hard as I can, and throwing myself into races where I know I will be uncomfortable and challenged.  That's what it is all about!

I am so proud that I was part of this race.
milo, my number one fan, "gave" me a stuffy that he promptly asked if he could keep :)

1 comment:

  1. It was so nice to share that tent with you at Midsummers and to bump into you again at B&O. I enjoy your posts as they inspire me to keep running and never give up. Gen will be coming back to run her 2nd race this fall :)