I tend to plan which races I want to do carefully, especially since so many of them are selling out weeks ahead of time. And, as I’m trying to keep a fall marathon within grasp, I have to make sure that I’m not losing too much long distance training time to the shorter races. VrPro’s Canada Day 5K in Burlington is one of my favorite venues; it was always on my to-do list this summer and I made sure that it was in my training plans.
I had erased it, though, when I started back at physio. “There is no way I’ll be able to run it” I thought. But, thanks to my miracle worker therapist who cleared me to run on Monday, I registered – only after making sure that I could run an easy 6K.
My only goal for this race was to finish without feeling like I hurt my leg. I couldn’t even think about setting a time goal as my running for the past 3 weeks has been almost non-existant: 10 miles, 0 miles and 4 miles. I hoped that I could run around 21 minutes; realistic or not, I had no idea.
So this race, which weeks ago was to attempt to get closer to 20 minutes, had become a race for me to use as a standard for my summer training. More importantly, though, it was a race to run with friends. My running mate, Shawn, was going to be there, and his wife and son were doing the 1K; Delilah and her friend, Jimmy, were also running; Richard had also registered for this local event.
And, at some point during the week, I also realized how competitive this field was going to be. Former Olympian Tania Jones (who is also a Master runner; please, leave something for the little people to win) was running, as were a lot of runners from the Toronto Olympic Club and McMaster University. My Masters friends, Jacqueline and Margaret, who regularly pick up awards, were also among the runners. Sometime between Wednesday and Thursday, my competitive side kicked in and I wanted to push myself to hopefully win an award.
Once again, though, reality kicked in and I decided that I should take Little Ironman and Skipper with me as both desperately wanted to come. The runner within me battled the mother, and the latter won.They promised to be good, and they agreed to let me warm up without getting in the way. Fortunately, they know that I need that time to run and stretch to help the leg recovery if nothing else.
Within 10 minutes of arriving at the race, the boys disappeared when Delilah and I went to the washroom. They went to the guys’ with Jimmy and, when we came out, they were nowhere in sight. We checked the registration area, walked back to the car, looked up and down the street and nowhere. “It’s okay; they’re with Jimmy,” I told myself. Regardless, I had no idea where they were and I worried. We went back to the washrooms and there they were – all three of them. The men’s, it seemed, had only one stall while the gals’ had two. This is the only race ever when the girls’ line moved faster than the boys’.
Closer to the start line, I left Skipper and Little Ironman in sight of Delilah’s aunt, and Gastroc (my nickname for my right leg) and I headed out to run the first part of the course, stretch and run and stretch some more. During this time, I checked out the other runners carefully and it appeared to be a small but competitive field of runners. It was going to be a tough 5K.