I signed up for this race on a whim – I was supposed to be out of town running Ragnar but our team never quite materialized. So Summerfast it was. I ran this race last year, and had a lot of fun.
Oddly, for a race that I signed up for on a whim I was strangely nervous.
Race morning dawned, way too early. I had set my alarm for 5:30am. I don’t like to be rushed. I choked down some food, hopped on the bus and saw a guy dressed as a runner. I saw him looking at me, maybe because I was wearing my Boston marathon jacket. He looked fast. He asked me if I knew Kevin O’ Connor – from VFAC. Nope. He asked me what club I ran with. I told him. He asked who coached the group. I looked at my feet; uh, no coach?? Collective coaching efforts, perhaps?
The km walk from Denman to CeperleyPark for the start was the perfect warm up. I found myself at the start with an hour to spare. Enough time to hit the bathrooms 3x and warm up and psych myself out a little more. I saw a group of women who looked like they could mop the floor with me (and they did:p). I later found out, included in that group was Natasha Fraser, and Catrin Jones. Oh. National class athletes. I didn’t feel so bad after that. Just to give you an idea of how fast the field was this year, course were broken in both open and masters divisions ( men and women). The winner ran the race in 29 minutes sheesh. And- a 38 xx minute 10km was good enough to place in …drum roll… 10th woman).
The weather was almost perfect for racing albeit warm, even by 8 am. 15 minutes before the race started, I made my way to the start area. I stood on the grass, watching as runners jockeyed for position. I waited for the crowd to find their place in the starting line up and planted myself firmly in front of a woman wearing a fanny pack.
A gun went offf…and we were off…and walking. I think it took me all of 15 seconds to cross the start line. Still, some very overambitious people were lined up in the early rows (and hoards of runners would have to weave pass them). I was passed once during the race, and I lost count of those I passed (mostly those who had lined up way too close to the front).
At the first mile marker the time was called out (miles? aren’t we in Canada?) Too slow – I knew it was way off the pace I needed. So I got going in a hurry. But apparently not in enough of a hurry.
I was doing math as I went along. At 3km I felt just slightly warm/over heated, and thought I can’t possibly be feeling this bad this early. I hit the 5km in a 22 min and was not happy. Someone handed me a cup of water and encouragements of good job (nope..but thanks for trying). Well at least it was half over.
I shuffled along for the next half km looking for people to pick off. As miserable as I was, I consoled myself with the thought that I wasn’t the only one suffering, and to gut it out. I kept telling myself next marker, next bend. I picked off two more people.
At the light house, a runner came to an abrupt halt in front of me. I weaved around him, cursing.
With less than 2 km to go, I spotted a couple of women within striking distance and picked them off. TG it will soon be over.
Less than 500 meters to go (just around second beach pool), I saw some poor racer passed out on the ground and with medics bending over him. Yikes. I kept running, and outkicked another woman to the finish line.
I learned today what it was to race, when quite frankly, it would’ve been easier to walk off. I knew I would be more disappointed if I didn’t finish the race, and give it my best shot regardless of where I finished. No track workouts = very painful short distance races.
Time: Gun time 44:34 (chip 44:19), well off my pb. Final standing – 100/481 runners , 15th woman overall and 3/27 in my division.
I was surprised and delighted to walk away with a medal for placing in my age group (I didn’t particularly feel I had earned it), but I took what I could get. I was lucky enough to be in an age category where the winning time wasn’t smoking fast – so I could run a mediocre race and still place.
Hopefully, I will come back next year, and try and redeem myself at Summerfast.