Remember back in May when I announced that I had made the semi-insane decision to run a 20k race? Well, four months and 207 kilometres of training later, I did it! Here is the before shot of Carla and I, all nerves and butterflies in the beautiful morning light of the Toronto Beaches. No turning back now. Let's do this thing!
And we're off!
I really enjoyed this race. The course was beautiful, a mix of boardwalk, road and trail, with plenty of shade and nice scenery along the way. There were three turnaround points, which I found to be a nice goal to keep in your head and it was nice to see Carla each of those times as we passed. They released us in four groups too, so it wasn't too crowded. We were also blessed with perfect weather, which was a serious worry weighing on us considering the weekend before had stifling temperatures above 40 degrees!
Here I am at the halfway point, still smiling and feeling good. We were incredibly lucky to have such a large cheering section for this race: my parents, Carla's parents, Carla's brother, and both of our boyfriends. Say what you want about running being a solitary sport, it means more than you know to have people there to smile, wave and tell you you're doing great. Thanks, guys!
Good thing there wasn't a camera around shortly after this moment, however, because as soon as I turned onto the "Leslie St. Spit", I quickly lost steam. There's something about that "spit". It could be the concrete or the lack of shade or just that point in the race, but that 5k was not fun. It also reminded me of running the marathon and feeling like death. Haha! So that can't be good for morale either. Also, this is when my right hip started bothering me like crazy. Where that injury came from, I have no idea. During training I had calf, foot and knee issues, but of course on the race I had none of that... just teeth-grinding hip pain instead. I had to stop every kilometre or so and stretch it. This is when the "you can do it" mantras began.
And here I am focusing on putting one foot in front of the other and giving it all I've got to cross that finish line. I remember thinking that I should wave and smile for my fans, but to be honest, I felt like if I took my eyes off the road, I could very well pass out. Plus, I was fighting to hold back tears, hyperventilating tears, which obviously came spilling out in a wave of relief and pride when I actually crossed the finish. Of course Carla, the best running buddy and friend I could ask for, was already finished and waiting to give me a huge hug! Frick, I'm getting teary again just thinking about it.
This is why I run. What an amazing feeling. What an amazing day!