Running Up From Behind

Normally, I don’t run two races within days of each other. I planned to run Sunday’s Bread and Honey 5K a few weeks ago and that was to be my running focus for early June. But my husband wanted the family to go to Ancaster, just outside of Hamilton, with him tonight for moral support. It was hard to say “no”.

The Ancaster Old Mill race has 3 events: a 1 km run for kids, a 5K and a 10K. I wanted to run the latter as 10K runs – at least, those that fit my schedule – are few and far between during the summer months and I want a few under my belt before the longer end of summer races. My big guy was running the 5K and our youngest wanted to run the kids’ event. Number One was quite happy to come along and take pictures. The tricky part was figuring out what to do with our boys when we were running. Super Catherine came to the rescue and watched them play and eat after the kids’ race, which meant that Hubby and I could focus on our runs.

But I wasn’t focused enough. There were three different start areas, one for each event. After Super Catherine took the boys, Hubby went to the bathroom and I headed toward the start line to warm up. I talked about the route with a few of the runners who were also there, and when the announcer stated “Three minutes to start,” I commented on how few runners there seemed to be compared to the 5K. I kept my eyes on my watch and with less than a minute, I panicked.

“Is this the 10K start?” I blurted out as I ran to an official at the timing mat.
“No, it’s up there. The gun just went off.”

I was miffed. Really, I could use other words to describe my anger, but I don’t want them in print because they’ll be there forever (or until I return to edit them). I had been directed to that start area and I had talked about the course with other runners.

I tore along the road, running into the more than 600 5K runners who now heading to their start line after watching the 10 K’ers leave. I just got my foot on the timing mat before they were about to take it way. “Great,” I thought sarcastically, I’m starting about 500 metres behind and I’m at the back – the very back. I’ll just go by my watch’s time.” I chased after the police car which followed the last runners up the hill and heard one officer comment, “That a girl.”

My strategy was to chase everyone. Simple enough – and effective. I wished that the first kilometre or mile split was called as I had absolutely no idea of where I was in timing compared to everyone else. My first real kilometre was 4:00 (it was mostly downhill) and my real 5K was in about 22:00 so my pacing seemed fine. But it was hard to get a feel for my position; I just kept running after people and worked to pass them.

At 6K, I had visions of throwing up at the end. At 7K, I thought my legs were going to turn to jello when I crossed the finish line (it was a very hilly course). I kept pushing and kept chasing, and then I heard what I needed: You’re 9th lady. I had 2 kilometres left and I knew I could catch my next target. By the time I passed 9K, the race was mine. I knew I could hold my position – after all, Hubby was there cheering, “You’re in good shape” which is code for “Don’t worry about what’s coming up from behind.” Catherine and the boys cheered me in at the finish line, more than 47 minutes later.

By my watch, I finished in just under 45 minutes. By clock time, it was 47 something (and chiptimes aren’t available yet so I really don’t know what my time is). But, it was good enough for 10th gal (somebody needs to practice counting female runners) and a 1st place age group, earning me a New Balance hat (not the gym bags that we were promised on the website) which I gave to my biggest guy.

For the first time ever, nobody passed me along the course. It felt great. But, I wouldn’t recommend starting at the back again. Five hours later, I’m still pumped with adrenalin; it’s going to be a long day tomorrow.

Number Two, giving me weedy flowers after my 10.5 ish K race.

8 Replies to “Running Up From Behind”

  1. Wowzers! You came from behind big time! Glad you didn't let that mess with your head and ruin the race for you. Let's give your honey the benefit of the doubt on the female runners ahead of you…sometimes it's hard to tell. My first marathon ever was the Disney marathon and we got stuck in traffic getting there so as i was getting out of the car, i heard all the fireworks going off which is like the start gun and i had to run a little over a mile (with 10 minutes already on the clock) to cross the starting mat. Talk about starting off on the wrong foot for my first marathon but I shook it off and finished pretty well for a first timer who was late (4:08:??). Way to finish strong Cynthia!

  2. holy smokes……your a nut! I think I would have said “oh well they left without me” way to turn a negative into a positive! That is awesome

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