To be honest I don’t really know why I ran this race (maybe because I’ve done it before?). I signed up at the last minute after some convincing from Dan that I should do it. He is a very good motivator.
I was regretting my decision as I was getting up at 5:30am so that I could fit a 22km “warm-up” in before the race as I wouldn’t have time to run afterward. I left my house at 6:30am to make it to the race start at 9:00am.
I spent most of my run trying to figure out how Dan always talks me into these things, trying to decide upon a race goal and looking for a bathroom (why do I desperately need one when there is nothing?). I knew it wasn’t going to be an awesome performance, my legs were tired from the 95km I had put on them leading up to the race, so what else could I try for? To finish? No, I know I can run 5km. Set a personal worst? No, not really something one should set out to do. Run nice consistent splits? Hmm, that’s sounds like something I can’t do, so yes let’s give that a try. With that settled I tried to ignore the increasing pain in my right quad and arrived at the start line with 15 minutes spare.
I checked my bag with a women who confused why I wasn’t going to wear my hydration pack (duh it’s only 5km), and then spent the rest of the 15 minutes trying to stretch out my quad and stay warm. Before I knew it we were all being corralled and once again I succeeded at seeding myself terribly. I thought I was in a good spot, didn’t want to be too close to the front as I knew my legs were iffy, but I knew I’d done bad when the girls beside me started talking about running 7:20min/km. Uh oh, the guy in front of me had what looked like brand new shoes on, an alarming amount of people were wearing the official race t-shirt that was in the race kit.
Air horn sounds, whoo hoo! We don’t move, people are flooding in from the sides, what the hell, why is everyone being so polite? 22 seconds later I cross the start line, annoyed. It turns out this would be my fuel for the race. I spent the first few hundred meters running as fast as I could to get away from the walkers and slower runners, completely baffled at why groups of walkers were ahead of me. At the first corner (turning south onto Yonge St) I watched in horror as everyone (but one other man) around me cut the course significantly. The man commented that he paid for a 5km run and he planned on running the whole distance, my kind of guy.
The positive thing about seeding yourself so badly, is that you get to pass a lot of people, I was only passed once around kilometer 1, by I guy who looked like he had missed the start. Turned the next corner, ran by my building waving to our Concierge (he told me later that he surprised to see me so far back from the leaders, bless he didn’t realise that everyone gets a medal and has always thought I won races!) and then just as we passed the 2 km marker, people started walking, pulling off the course, one man was bent over looking like he was going to puke, what the heck is going on? Did none of you train for this? You can’t have all started out too fast? Annoyed I just kept on pushing, wanting to finish up my trip through this weird ass twilight zone. As I went by the aid station it occurred to me that I hadn’t looked at my watch at all, doh, how am I supposed to be running consistently if I don’t check in? Now I was annoyed with myself and all the people around me, which just made me run harder. So now I’m approaching 4km and this man decides that I shouldn’t be passing him and his wife, and he’s one of those really loud breathers, and he’s trying to tell his wife to stay with me, and he kind of sprints past me and then very quickly slows down and I pass him, I gave him a look to say “try that again and I will punch you and stop breathing like that, it’s annoying”. He seemed to get the point about being punched but continued his labored noisy panting.
I realise with 1 km to go that I’m not even breathing hard, and I once again get annoyed with myself, what’s the point of racing if you’re not even going to try? So I tried to block everyone out and just run hard, make myself pant, finish strong (and maybe less annoyed).
I crossed the finish line, stopped my watch and suddenly all my annoyance disappeared. Did I just set a PB? I couldn’t remember my 5km PB but I thought it was around what I had just run. So I collect my medal, grab my bag and some of the yummy food that is constantly circulated post-race (slowly remembering why I love this race) and went over to check out the official results. Official 23:49.9, chip-time 23:27.6, must stop being so shy to start closer the front.
I had to look up my last years results but yes I did set a new personal best, by 30 seconds. I’m really surprised since my legs felt pretty thrashed going into this and I really didn’t have any expectations. This result has giving me another boost that my training is working and has pushed a little further from being a mid-packer, I’m more like a first thirder!