Since my Saturdays aren’t available, I had to forgo running the Santa Shuffle & the Resolution Run this year, and choose a Sunday event to close out my 2014 running season.
The only thing close, and on a Sunday, was the Tannenbaum 10K.
Did I want to do a 10K for my last hurrah? Not particularly. Especially not by myself (none of my running pals like winter running) and on a flat course.
But alas, this was all that was available to me, and well, if I’m planning on doing a half in 2015, I better start doing the longer designations asap!
I knew no matter how much I trained before hand, this was gonna be a slog. So I kept my runs to 5K max (with additional 2-4K walks tacked on to get home) and just saved myself for Sunday.
This one made me nervous. I could tell by the online chatter that this was a “runners” event. This was made evident on race morning when they all suited up in matching running club shirts, looking like gazelles. Pretty much everyone I spoke to or eavesdropped on was a marathoner. This lead me to go outside to warm up alone, as I had already defeated myself in my mind.
Luckily I met up with an awesome couple who pep talked me, and what I can only assume was the other 8 ladies in my age group who toiled at the back of the pack with me.
So… with expectations as low as possible (I fully expected them to be collecting the course markers behind me as I dragged my carcass to the finish line) I set some goals for myself.
1) Finish. Just finish. Simple.
2) Run your own race.
3) Try pacing with one of the pacing elves.
4) Have fun!
5) Finish. Just Finish!
I tucked in with the 70 minutes pacing elf pack, and set off. This was already a lofty goal, as it would have meant knocking 8 minutes of my previous 10K time (which was mostly downhill)
I found it almost slow at first, and would pull ahead, then drop back to match them, then pull ahead, then drop back. (this was probably my downfall) Once I dropped behind them (obviously having exerted too much energy somewhere) I couldn’t catch back up, no matter how hard I tried. And I knew if I pushed to hard up to that point, I would really struggle at the end. Clearly, I’m not at the 70 minute 10K mark yet. (the racers BLOWING by on their return like Usain Bolt when I hadn’t even reached the 4K mark lead to me trying to pick up my pace… so much for #2)
At 5K, knowing I was way off pace, and likely to finish dead-fucking-last, I took a moment to look up and around at my surroundings. What a gorgeous day! Blue skies, bright sun, a spectacular view of the city skyline from the Leslie Spit, Lake Ontario glistening calmly on the other side for as far as the eye could see. Just lovely.
Don’t get me wrong, I was freezing my ass off. The wind was slicing through my shoes and legs like a box cutter at points. (Windchill was in the double digits) but I finally have figured out how to layer my core properly. #browniepoints
After a brief slow down between 5-6K, my goal now was to try and maintain a sub 8 min K. So I pushed myself a little harder. I went back to my own pacing of walking during the verses/running during the chorus. I re-read the article I read before I went to bed on proper running form and foot placement. (well, I visualized it! lol) That took my mind off my burning lungs and quads, and distracted me. Then, there it was, the finish line.
And there were still people behind me! (not many mind you, but still, I wasn’t last!)
And low and behold, a personal best! And without the aid of a massive downhill!! (which bodes well for next year’s Toronto 10K)
This is a great race! Well organized, great swag, great course, great communication, great cause. They even sent an email out a few days after the race, inviting all of those who couldn’t run to come out the following Saturday and run it and collect their medal! (timing on the honour system of course) AND they offered a link to the pictures for free! Sweet! (I haven’t found one of me yet, and it will likely be as horrifying as all the other ones I’ve seen, but If I do, I will snag it!)
Not a bad way to finish out my competitive racing year. I ran 10 of the 22 races I had bookmarked this year, and PB’d in all but 2. (though technically the first time you run a distance it is your “personal” best so lets say all but 1 race!) And I now have 13 shiny medals hanging on my wall heading into 2015 to inspire me to continue on my journey.