I was getting picked up at 8:30 this morning for the Road to Hope run. Ali was running the 5km and I was running the 10km. We picked up our race kits last night which was great, that way we knew exactly where the event starting point was going to be and what to expect when we got down there today.
Two alarms were set making sure I didn't sleep in but I woke up and felt wide awake around 5am and tossed and turned for almost an hour. Why is it when the alarm goes off after falling back asleep you are that much more tired!? I finally dragged myself out of bed and made some coffee, I figured that would help get me going.
I saw Ali and J pull up to the house, made one last check that I had everything packed and we were off! We got to the park pretty early, probably a little too early. We wondered around a bit and decided to go wait back in the car. It was pretty chilly this morning, the temperature on the thermostat said it was 2 outside this morning. I had on two pairs of socks, my running pants, fleece pants, two top layers,. a fleece sweater and of course my Pittsburgh Penguins toque (that nearly cost me my ride to the race...Tampa fans!) and I was still cold!
We thawed out then made our way back to the starting queue. I felt nervous and excited for Ali, I knew how it felt to stand by yourself in that queue for the first time. It's funny how you can feel along when you're surrounded by people. The man on the mic did a great job singing Oh Canada, did the 10 second countdown and they were off! Ali did an amazing job toady and it was a lot of fun being able to see a friend start and finish her first race!
With Ali returning from her race that meant I was up next. My dad got to the park a few minutes before I had to queue, it was nice to have him there today. I went to get in the starting area but we were delayed a bit waiting for the last of the 5km folks to come in. It didn't take long and we were on our way. I started somewhere in the middle of the pack and that was pretty much the only time I was in the middle lol. Dad, Ali and J were down the route a little bit, they cheered as I passed which is always great for a little extra push.
The majority of the people passed me but I found my pace after a the first kilometer and there were about 10 of us that were all running about the same pace but spreadout. I looked back only once to see if I was at the very back, it was close but I wasn't last. I keep telling myself everyone is running their own race. There were some really really fast runners today. My goal was to come in under 1:30, I held back a little in the first loop, I wanted to save a bit of gas in the tank for finishing.
I made my way down and around the path connecting with the main beach path. I felt more relaxed as I was running along the lake. I loved training down there this summer and felt some comfort in running on familiar ground. I turned around to head back to start the second loop finishing the first 5. They had people directing us to either continue on for the second loop or for those crazy fast people to go on to the finish line. There was a teen boy making his way to the finish line, the volunteer was trying to flag me to go that way too and I said, "I'm not in that group", we both had a laugh as I started my second lap.
I went past my personal cheering squad for the second time and made the turn on the gravel path for my minute walking break. I used the run 10 walk 1 minute strategy for this race. I finished my first lap around the 40 minute mark and I knew coming in under 1:30 was a real possibility. I was coming up to the 7km marker when I really started to open it up. I think my heart rate was in the 170's, I tried to keep it there and kept pushing. I saw the 9km marker coming up and kept pushing a little harder, I was keeping any eye on the time knowing I could clear 1:30.
I was pushing hard finishing the last kilometre, walked up the last hill and got going again. There was a pack of six women all running together, I was behind them from the start. It was near the end I was catching up to two of them and pushed hard to pass them. I heard my husbands voice in my head as I was nearing the finish line, I thought of him and gave my all as I turned down the finishing chute. I saw my friends and dad and just ran as hard as I could.
I crossed the finish line and slowed down right away, it was such a strange feeling as I could feel the blood pumping in my hands. I finished my race in 1:20:05! That was 8 minutes faster than the last 10km I ran when I was training. It felt great to finish almost 10 minutes faster than I had wanted to. They had run out of medals by the time I finished but they'll send them out to us. I can't wait to see the pics from along the route too. It was a great day for a race today!
That's two for 2011, bring on the Burlington Chilly Half!