Yes, it’s another running post. As previously mentioned, running seems to be becoming a larger and larger part of my life at the moment. And so there will be more and more posts about running.
Today was the Toronto Yonge Street 10K, and it was great. I did not have a goal time in mind, and until the starting line, wasn’t even sure that I was going to push myself at all. I went to find the bathroom with a few run crew ladies just before start time, and we were heading back to the corral looking for the rest of our crew; unsure if we would find anyone, we then stumbled upon a big group of pals, and snapped this quick shot just as we began walking up towards the start line.
At the last minute, I decided to do my best to keep up with Mark Sawh (far left) for as long as I possibly could, and take things from there.
I stuck with him for the first KM, and then kept his hat in view up ahead until about the 5K point, and then it was just me and the course. I didn’t have headphones in like last year, and I wasn’t paying attention to my pace at all, and it was strange to have no real idea of how I was doing – hoping that I was running at a good pace, but also accepting that it might just feel that way.
ANYWAYS. Like last year, around the 7K mark, I started to falter a bit, but then I tried something that is going to sound suuuuuper cheesy in order to keep pushing. I imagined being out on a Tuesday night crew run. I recently ran an easy breezy 10K run with the group that felt effortless and light. So instead of thinking of being in this race, and the space left ahead of me, I pictured being light on my feet wolf packing through the nighttime streets with the Parkdale Roadrunners crew. And it worked. I suddenly had a smile on my face, and felt less effort as my feet hit the pavement. Despite being by myself on the course, I was not alone.
I don’t know why it surprised me that this worked so well, since visualization is consistently a tool that coaches, and just successful people in general say to use. Sooooo… use it. It works.
As I hit 9K, knowing that the cheer squad was coming up ahead carried me home. I cannot describe the feeling of rounding that last race corner, and having a whole crew of people who you’ve been training with for months and months, all cheering and giving you high fives, and showering you with confetti. It’s fucking magic. I kind of want to cry just thinking about it.
My favourite part of races is, and always has been, that last sprint to the finish line where you push yourself until you feel like your lungs might break, flying by waves of other runners who are too spent to kick it one gear higher for that tiny home stretch.
It was a good run.
Just past the finish line, it was amazing to look around and see other PDRR folks who had finished either just before or just after me, and to feel the love of the community, as we congratulated each other on PBs and first races, and giving it our best. I feel like that sounds too self congratulatory. But WHATEVER. It’s awesome.
We slowly made our way back to the cheer squad station to say hello and thank-you, and to cheer on those remaining, and talk about our races with those who finished before us.
Then slowly trickled out to little pockets of team brunches, and then finally home.
Today’s race made me realize that with a little pushing, a little speed work, and a little more cross training (and maybe a speedier than me pace buddy?) that next year’s TYS10K could be much MUCH faster. I can’t freaking wait.
Good job out there today, everyone. You’re the best.