Looks like some of you were right! It was in fact the 10,000m on the track where I made my debut in last weekend! I’m not quite sure exactly where the idea came from, but as I created my racing schedule this winter I thought yeah why not, let’s give it a try. I made my way through my season and before I knew it I was only a few weeks away from the Athletics Ontario 10,000m Championships. I originally had it in my head that it would be 2weeks after my race in Mississauga (recap here). However, only a few weeks before, I realized that it was the very next weekend and I hadn’t run on a track for 6years. Once I realized this, I targeted a few track workouts to get used to it again – 15×200, and 7x1k.
Last wednesday’s workout was the 7x1k… or what was supposed to be 7x1k. Being 4 days post-sauga, I wasn’t feeling the workout. I was sore, my legs were heavy, it was 25+ degrees out. I only did 4 intervals, knowing that somehow I had to do that very same thing that weekend but 25laps and 10k not the measly 4 I managed. At least those 4 intervals gave me a feel for what my pace should feel like. I’ve realized over time with my running career that no one workout defines you and the workout the week of will not gain you any fitness anyways. That’s why I wasn’t too concerned with scratching that one. I did try to freshen up in other areas though – booked another float for Saturday, reduced my studying (for the class I’m finishing) and cut down some of my mileage on the few days prior to the race.
SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY. Being a track event, the 10,000 was held at 7:55pm in London, ON. Being a road runner, I’m used to racing at 9 or 10am, so this was a bit of a chore to wait all day to run. I had mother’s day brunch at my in-laws, played some Call of Duty and otherwise just relaxed until it was time to leave. Before I knew it, it was time to line up. There wasn’t much mental prep to do for this race other than having an idea of what my split times should be at certain laps. I knew there were 5 women on the start list and those ahead of me would be out of my wheel house and the one seeded behind me likely would be behind me.
THE RACE. This is exactly how the race played out. The gun went off, I was out on pace (the pace I was trying to learn during those two track workouts). The 3 women in front of me, including Leslie, went out together but soon strung out. I was in a familiar place almost immediately – no man’s land. I don’t exactly hate no man’s land, I actually quite enjoy it. I generally let go of some of the pressure on myself and just run as hard as I can. I find running solo, I don’t overthink and I just run whereas running neck in neck with someone I feel stressed and have a hard time getting the best out of myself. I had the goal of running between 333’s and 335’s for the race. I went through 5k just over 18minutes (336’s) and knew I was slightly slow, but with running on the track, I felt so exposed. It felt strange that people could see me and cheer for me every 100m and I wondered what they were thinking, did they know I was off pace? did they know I didn’t that bad and could probably push harder? A big difference mentally vs the roads where the leaders may have gapped me and were long gone and I could just enjoy my no-man’s land and pity myself silently. I think with the audience effect, I subconsciously backed off and didn’t run all out because I didn’t want them to see me dying, crawling to the line, or heaven forbid running my last few laps at an embarrassingly slow pace! As I came into the last kilometer of the race, I dug in and finished in a 3:31k which shows me I was pretty fresh. I ended up running 36:45… but wasn’t the track supposed to be faster than the roads, I thought.
I changed and got into my cool down since it was getting pretty late at this point. I analyzed my race and realized I definitely didn’t give it my all. But that’s the point of a debut right? Testing out an event, seeing what it’s all about, trying something new and getting rid of that fear. It’s like learning a new trick in gymnastics, the first 1million times you need a safety there, someone to spot you, even if that spot is just a finger. They aren’t really helping you, but you think they are; and finally that first time that you work up the gumption to finally go for it and you realize that nothing bad happened you can do that flip every time without fear holding you back. This is what I feel like with running, and why we often break through to run massive pb’s. We hold this fear of the pain, fear of failure, fear that we won’t be good enough. Until we finally find a way to put it all behind us and run better than we ever imagined was possible. And that becomes the new norm. This year, I’ve definitely been harbouring some of that fear and I know there will come the time where I remember to just try, and everything will click. Until then, I keep racing and knowing that my day will come if I just remain open to it.
SCHOOL. In other news, I did in fact get accepted into Physiotherapy at University of Toronto for September! I was talking about this in my last blog. I celebrated with Harry Potter in concert in Toronto friday! Pretty wicked – watch the movie, an orchestra plays the music! With this whole process being complete, I feel as though a literal weight has been lifted off my shoulders. As I ran alongside the Grand River yesterday, my legs felt
light and airy. I felt strong, confident, and in control of my life again. I look forward to continuing my education, as I absolutely love school and knew I wasn’t done at just an undergrad. Yes I will be commuting taking the Via every day. No I don’t want to hear about how far that is, or how much work that is going to be. So if that’s your comment, save it. You can make anything work if it’s important enough to you, and that I will. If you don’t know this about me, maybe you need to go read more of my blogs, because you clearly don’t know what I’m capable of. To the more optimistic people out there, thank you for your congratulations! You know I will give it my all and still do my best to train well during that process. Running is one of my passions and I will always make time for me.
Next up, Ottawa 10k champs this weekend coming up! Thanks for reading!