Eventually I got brave enough to put running shoes on for the first time since my toe issue, and thankfully it felt pretty good with just a padded bandaid.
The 4 of us ran a slow 5K warm-up along the race route to scope things out. It was a nice and flat out-and-back on the waterfront trail.
Pretty soon a crowd was gathering in the starting area, so we lined up and got ready to run. It was quite a clusterf*ck with no actual start "line" and a massive crowd of people bunched all over the path. We couldn't find our way into a good position, so we stayed off to the side on the grass along with many others.
It was chaos for a couple hundred metres once we got started, so we took off as fast as possible to find some space. It seemed like their were young runners all over the place who were fast, but not quite fast enough to be up at the front. They started slowing down and getting in the way after an initial sprint, and it became a game of 'dodge the little ones.' Definitely not a very smooth start.
Fortunately it thinned out quickly and we found some room as we settled in with runners closer to our pace, although I still found I was passing constantly.
I really had no idea what to expect after not running all week. I knew I had fresh legs, but I also felt sort of stale and out of shape. I knew I just had to run hard and hope for the best.
P and I had planned to stick together as long as possible, but I knew she would be faster and had to let her go after about 1.5K. Our pace from the start was aggressive (for me), mostly from trying to work our way through the crowds.
I struggled through the middle section before the turning around and I knew I was slowing down, but just couldn't keep my legs moving. I focused on getting to the half way mark, knowing that I would be on the way to the finish from there. P wasn't too far ahead of me, so it helped having her to focus on up ahead.
I was dying for a drink and tempted to grab water at the turn-around, but I knew that slowing down would kill any momentum that I had; making the hair-pin 180 degree turn was hard enough.
There was a slight breeze on the way back, which helped cool me down a bit - the morning had heated up quickly and the sun was pounding down.
I continued plugging away, looking at my Garmin constantly and thinking that 5K sure can feel far. Kilometre 4 was my slowest and looking back, I think I allowed myself to slow down more than I needed to, knowing I could push it on the last one.
Sure enough, I found myself picking it up after the 4K marker. There weren't a lot of people around, but there were 2 ladies just ahead and I made it my mission to catch them, knowing there were probably only a couple ahead of us. I could also see P just up ahead and focused on chasing her down.
I ended up passing the 2 ladies on the final turn toward the finish, but couldn't catch P who ended up finishing 7 seconds ahead of me.
|We didn't even plan the matching tops!|
Overall, it was a great way to kick off Canada Day. I'd definitely run this race again, even with the crazy start. It felt good to find some speed in my legs after a forced recovery week and I loved racing in my Saucony Kinvara 2s.
Official time: 21:25 - a 9 second PR!
Pace: 4:17/KM (6:53/mi)
We stayed for the awards since P and I had both placed in the female division - 2nd and 3rd for a whopping $25 and $10 Running Room gift card respectively. Better than nothing...