The Sunset Sprint

So, what is your strategy for a 6K?

Daddy’s Strategy: To finish, just finish.

My Strategy: Option 1: go out like a 5K and hope you can hold on.
Option 2: 7:00 first mile, then catch everyone you can.

Last night, the four of us headed to Ward’s Island for The Sunset Shuffle at Centre Island. This is a small, low-key event. There is no loot bag. Timing is done manually (we wore stickers with our names and age groups) on our shirts – back to the age of Achilles. Beer is served after; no Canadian races do that anymore.

Before going to the ferry, Daddy had to drop something off at work. When we got there, he and Skipper went in, leaving Little Ironman and me in the car. LI was being a typical four year old, full of questions and reasonable answers.

For example, he saw one man walking from the main building to the parking lot:
LI: Is that Daddy’s boss?
Me: Ah, yes (noticing the supervisor’s uniform), he is one of Daddy’s bosses.
LI: I thought so.
Me: And how did you know he is one of Daddy’s bosses?
LI: Because he has a big, fat tummy and all bosses have big tummies.

For the past 4 months, Daddy has been working to reduce the size of his middle; since he has started running again, he has lost 8 pounds. Last night’s race, his third since April, was his “warm-up” for the half-marathon in September.

But, as fate had it, he pulled his hamstring on Monday night and, when he tried to warm up last night, he couldn’t run. Daddy forfeited the race. However, one of the officials did not show so he jumped in to help out; he was working at the finish line.

Since this was Daddy’s race all along, I wasn’t nervous about it at all. The boys kept me busy until my friend, D., arrived to watch them. Little Ironman tagged along with me while I finished warming up, I got to the start line and, bingo, I got the pre-race jitters.

When the gun went off, I followed legendary Bob Moore, one of Toronto’s infamous runners. In his prime, he ran a 2:25 Boston, and I don’t think he has ever run a race in which he hasn’t placed. Bob is now 69 years old, and he gave me my new race strategy: go out fast and follow Bob. I knew his pacing would be close to what I wanted.

That strategy worked for about for the first 3K. But I passed him. That’s right! I passed the legendary Bob Moore at the turn-around. I knew then that either I was doing something wrong or something very right.

I felt I was running a bit faster than my 5K pace but I was determined to keep catching runners and passing them (strategy 2). By the time I finished, I must have looked ready to through up because my husband, standing at the finish line, walked right up to me, used his “serious” voice and asked if I was okay. “Fine,” I answered, and he walked away and went back to work. Right after, some older guy fumbled as he tried to peel my name sticker of my chest; poor guy was obviously uncomfortable as he just couldn’t figure out how to pull it off in the politically correct way – but he wouldn’t let me do it for him! hmmm.

Having your spouse work the finish line gives you the inside scoop on the timing problems. (What a surprise!). There was no clock, and the clicker stopped working so they had to “guess” at some of the times. My initial time was 25:40 but, earlier tonight, it jumped to 26:01. Last night, I was 5th female; today, I’m 6th. There weren’t any bandits at this race – just ghost runners!

So, I’m going with the “official” results:

Time – 26:01 (4:20K pace)
Place – 6th overall, 2nd age group.

More important than timing, though, is my finishing 30 seconds ahead of Bob Moore (yes, I know he’s 69 but still).

For me, the race was just another race – no hoopla, no excitement. Those ones are still to come (like tomorrow).

8 Replies to “The Sunset Sprint”

  1. Wow, I refused the opportunities so far, but now I'm really glad not to be a boss. I'll hold out as long as possible.
    Great pace as evidenced by both of your finishing times and nearly vomiting.
    Congrats on the hardware.

  2. I think, after reading this, it could be quite a different experience to be a volunteer versus a runner. Maybe I'll give it a try some time. I would love to see what it is like to watch the very first person cross the finish line. Usually I stay around cheering everyone on until the last person finishes instead!

  3. I love this post, Cynthia. So full of life and the humor it offers. The part about “Daddy's boss” and the characteristics of bosses is just the absolute best. Jimmy will surely get a kick out of it. I hope the hamstring heals so your husband can get back to it.

    Follow Bob – what a great strategy and title :). Congrats on your results yesterday and I cannot wait to hear about your race results today. We think you are a star!

  4. nice job!! Yay for beating Bob 🙂
    I love how 4 year olds think! I have a four year old too and he cracks me up all the time. His perspective provokes many a chuckle!

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