But first, some thoughts about the events at the Boston Marathon. We received numerous calls asking if we were there, and are so very appreciative of everyone’s concerns for our safety. It really hits home because three years ago, yes, we were there. Avery was running and I was standing on the sidelines where the second blast went off. After hearing about the events on the news, not only was I terrified for the spectators, but as a runner, I was devastated for everyone that was effected and could not finish. Training for anything is hard work, but training for a marathon, I now realize, is freaking ridiculous. I ran less than 1/4 of what that entails and I (as you will read on to find out) was absolutely spent. Boston is such a renowned race with tough qualifying times, and thousands of runners were robbed of the victory of crossing the finish line to complete what I’m sure was a dream for most. This senseless act, I know, will make runners unit and be stronger than ever. I was reading all of the heroic stories after about finishers sprinting to the nearest hospital to donate blood and how everyone was helping each other and coming together as a community, along with locals who opened up their homes to those in need. This is what runners, along with their family/friends, are all about. Every time you run through your neighbourhood and see another runner, you instantly have that mutual respect for one another. I’ve witnessed friendships being made DURING a race. I’ve come to learn that this passionate sport is more than what it appears, and it encompasses a deep meaningful gratification for each person, whether it be running to get into shape, running for a cause, running for personal goals, or simply running for the enjoyment. The Yonge Street 10k is meaningful to me because it’s for all of the above. These thoughts ran through my mind all week, and from seeing so many blue and yellow supporters the day of TYS10K, I could tell it was on the mind of my fellow runners as well.
This was my first 10k race, and my third post-baby race. Looking back at how far I’ve come over the past year, as Madeline will be turning a year old next month, I am extremely satisfied with my running progress. Finally, I have a 10k under my belt! And I cannot believe I finished at 59:55. Having never raced this distance before, I felt absolutely no pressure to beat any previous records and I had a great sleep the night before. I used to get crazy pre-race jitters (read about my first race EVER here) but I don’t know if I will experience that nervousness again after being humbled by such big physical changes of having a baby and being forced to start from scratch. With no intention to use the “I had a baby” excuse, it is what it is and I need to remind myself that it will take time, probably a long time, before I’m back to my old self again. I also need to keep telling myself that “The Combo” still applies (a bunch of factors that play into each race: Weather, Training, Nutrition, Race Route — these are the major variables, but there’s also the obvious physical structure of your body as well).
It was a blistering morning in Toronto on Race Day, it bloody snowed the day before!!! A lot of people expected to run in shorts and a t-shirt but succumbed to tights and long sleeves. The only negative thing about this popular race is that there is nowhere to hide inside before gun time. The streets are packed with 5,000+ runners at 8am on a Sunday and every coffee place is jammed. Had I warmed up before going to our corral, I truly believe I would’ve run faster (this is why I love Around the Bay). Anyway, one of my best gals offered to run with me and I couldn’t have been more excited! She paced me at my first post-baby race back in the fall and I crushed my goal so I knew this was a sign of good things to come. Avery gave me a simple training plan for the month and I stuck to it, but I only ran the full 10k once during practice. I was optimistic because that was a great run (as per my last post), but I kept my time a secret incase I didn’t do better in the race. I told Angela my pace goals and unbeknownst to both of us, my estimated times went completely out the window as soon as we hit the first marker! I usually go out too fast but I felt great and the route was amazing, straight down Yonge Street with only two elevated hills that I could remember, so I kept at it! I really wanted a sub 60 time but my training run was 1:04 so I didn’t think I had it in me to keep the -6:00/k pace. But I managed to push myself more than I ever have before, because it worked! What surprised me during the race but I didn’t realize before, was that because I was used to walking the streets of downtown, it felt like I was cruising through by running and hitting landmarks almost five times faster than if I were strolling around during my lunch break at work!
Avery had already finished (34:36 and placed 38th overall!) and he was waiting for me in front of my office on Front Street. I was so happy to see him during my last leg! He ran with us to the end and I gave all that I could to cross that finish line before the one hour mark. I think I cried in the last 500 metres because I was in so much pain. Then, I looked at my watch and I did it, the first two numbers read 59 and that’s when I smiled the biggest smile I’ve ever had after I finished a race. This was a huge accomplishment for me because even though I always try my best during races, this was twice the distance of what I’m used to and I pushed myself more than I ever did before. I could barely breathe to thank Angela after and was heaving pretty heavily to the point where I thought I needed a medic, but I was ok after walking it off, lol.
Here we are, all smiles after I regained my vision and calmed my body down from the second most strenuous event it’s ever been through (the first was childbirth, of course):
It means a lot that Angela ran with me. Even though my finish time shows up on her results, she’s proud to have run with me and I’m so thankful to have such an incredible friend like her in my life. We’re the same in many ways when it comes to running. We support our fellow friends that are a fan of the sport, and we never talk down on anyone’s running abilities. We are semi-newbies at this, our first running experience was on treadmills back at the condo gym and we didn’t fall in love with it right away, it took some time before we braved the sidewalks and started to embrace it. Avery is partly responsible in getting both of us into running (partly being me entirely and her, somewhat, lol). We set goals for ourselves and always want to beat our PB’s but accept the fact that “The Combo” may not always be in our favour, and we remind each other time and time again that we’re running for ourselves, not for anyone else, especially not for Sportstats! ;) Mostly, we love each other. This pretty lady was one of my bridesmaids and is one of my bestest friends in the world. We tell each other everything, and have shared countless memories. I love running with her, and she’s my favourite pace bunny in the world. If you read my previous post, you’d know that we both achieved our goals at this race :)
One last thing… hubby and I have the same finisher’s medal for once! :D
This is epic, guys.