It was essentially my one year “runniversary”. This would be the first race I would be repeating since starting to run “competitively” (not that I’m really competing against anyone but myself of course, and that pesky bastard “personal best”) and so this would be the first time I could directly compare my progress.
I’m not gonna lie. This worried me. What if my time was the same, or worse yet, slower?! I know it’s ultimately not about that, but come on, everyone who runs strives for, no expects to do better every time they go out.
Anyway, I did a couple of race distance runs early in the week, then tapered off to just walking/stretching, eating right, hydrating. I don’t know why this one was so important to do right, but it was. Something has clicked within me and I really want to take this to the next level in 2015 (more on that later) As per usual, trying to sleep the night before proved to be comedic. First I had to work on Saturday, then I had to go pick up my race kit, in the same building as a trade show I was also covering that weekend. AND I was supposed to be going to a birthday party. Needless to say, by the time I had my kit in hand, had explored the expo for deals (picked up a little handheld water bottle with “wallet” pocket) and chatted up a few people at the other trade show, the party got dropped from the docket. I was tired, wired, and hungry.
I managed to get about 3-4hrs sleep (this is also something I must conquer in 2015 – pre-race sleep!) layer myself up accordingly for the weather (yes, as is wont to happen when I am running events, the temperature plummets to a new low on race day!) Since nothing runs that early in the morning (transit buses) I briskly walked the 15 mins to the bus station to catch the streetcar to take me downtown.
I was joined by a fellow racer, sorely underdressed and with no clue how to get to the starting line. This proved to be a happy meet up, as I was able to concentrate on talking him through the event (it was his first 5K event!) which got me out of my own head.
Once again I was part of a team, raising funds for Ronald McDonald House. So part of the the pre-race routine (which included a free coffee from McCafe, meeting Mayor Elect John Tory, and the line ups for the porta-potties) was of course to get a group shot or ten! (We set a lofty goal this year, which sadly we didn’t meet, but we matched our efforts from last year, so all is good in that regard)
Before we knew it, the sun had come up, and we were being counted down to start!
Unlike last year, I concentrated on running my own race. I was so caught up in the emotions of this event last year (I was running for my nephew who was in treatment and using the facilities at RMHT) and having never run a large event, was overwhelmed by the surge of adrenaline at the start. I ran and ran and ran with my fellow corral members, then remembered I didn’t actually “run” yet. This year, I put my head phones on, and concentrated on my pace and my breathing, not giving any mind to the throngs of people running past me. I also didn’t burst into tears everytime I came to a cheering station. (can’t run and cry, trust me on this)
At about the 3.5 K mark, I got a back cramp. I believe it was due to the fact that I had to use my spiebelt to hold my running pants up. Having dropped about 30lbs since the beginning of the year (not that I’m complaining) baggy bottoms have been an issue, and rather than trying to hike my pants up the entire race, I put my iphone in my jacket pocket and pulled my belt as tight as it would go. This I believe was a bit of a mistake, as it caused the stitch midrace. I managed to walk it off and get back on pace for the last K, but the damage had been done.
That said, I managed to still knock 4 mins off my time from 2013. I believe without the stitch, that could have been 6-7 mins. Ah well.
Thinking back to this race last year, I remember how exhausted and sore I was. This year, I felt great. This means I have to push harder.
So… *drumroll* … we have decided that SWMT 2015 will be a HALF MARATHON!!
Yup. I’m going for it. (may even attempted one earlier in the year)