I've always liked the idea of running races but had never really put my mind to it. Back in April it was a week before the Spring Runoff race put on by Canada Running Series. Dara and her family had already decided to participate in the run/walk as it was in support of Cancer Research at Princess Margaret Hospital. The week before I decided to get in on the action, I've never been much of a rubber so I I went to the gym, jumped on the treadmill, set my time to 30 mins and distance to 5km. I made it through but was absolutely exhausted. I repeated this once more on the Thursday before the race and decided I was ready. On race day we all got together, put on some decently warm clothes and made our way down to High Park. It was time, everyone shuffled into their corrals waiting for the race to start. My adrenaline was pumping "maybe I could get used to this running thing". I finished the 5k in 27:32 and got a medal at the finish line. I was happy with my time as I was only hoping to finish within the 30 minute time frame I had given myself on the treadmill. The feeling of accomplishment was great.
That afternoon I looked through the Canada Running Series upcoming races booklet and decided that I wanted to continue on this journey. I had planned to run one more 5k and then run the Lululemon Waterfront 10k. Unfortunately the 5k in Mississauga conflicted with another event I had so the 10k would be my next race. Given the increase in distance I knew I had to do some training so I reached out to my friend Seema at Lulu Lemon to see if they had any training programs set up for the 10k. I was in luck, the folks at Lulu Lemon Toronto had put together a comprehensive training program to get new runners prepared for the race. They had planned weekly runs on Sunday morning as well as a class every Thursday. Let me tell you, if you don't like running just try it in a group. The support and level of competition that a group brings makes running a hell of a lot more enjoyable. The community aspect is what I really liked and what had me coming back to as many activities as I could.
During the 8 weeks I tried a couple different pairs of running shoes the Nike Air Zoom Structure 21, the New Balance Fresh Foam Zante V4, the Nike Epic React Flyknit and the New Balance 1080v8. All the shoes were great but the two that stuck out were the NB 1080v8 and the Nike Epic React. The New Balance shoe was more of a traditional runner where as the Nike Epic react had Nike's newest cushioning technology "React" and a Flyknit exterior. Overall I leaned towards the Epic React Flyknit as it breathed better than the New Balance 1080 and I loooved the cushioning.
I started off running 5k every other day, then I pushed it to 6.5k and finished with an 8k run with the Lululemon crew the week before the race. I ran once more that week and took it easy just playing hockey and Softball leading up to that Saturday morning. The day of the race I was up at 6am as we had to be at our corral by 7:30 on the morning. I ate some over night oats, stretched a bit and Dara drove me to the start line. I was excited, all the work I had done was over and now was the time to it done.
I was in the blue corral planning to finish somewhere around 55 minutes. There were close to 8,500 people there on Saturday morning and the energy was contagious. Everyone was happy, smiling and ready to run, as we waited in the group I put my headphones in and tuned into my play list getting ready to crush 10k. The announcer came over the speaker and told us it was time to go, I passed a group of people meditating and a ton of supporters in the first kilometre. We ran down University avenue and made the turn at Bremner towards the CN tower. One of the coolest aspects of this race is just being able to run through the quiet streets of Toronto when all the cars are off the road.
Hitting the third kilometre I started to find my stride, I was pacing pretty well and wasn't feeling any fatigue at this point. As I got to kilometre 6 I passed the eventual finish line and saw people already finished the race. Some of the fastest runners blew through 10k in 30 minutes! I couldn't believe how fast some of these athletes were. The second half of the race was exclusively on Lakeshore road, running toward Colborne Lodge before turning around and heading back towards exhibition. At this point the distance was starting to get to me, I knew I could do it but the uphill battle towards the finishline was real. As I hit the 9km mark I got a side stitch, I had been dealing with this problem throughout my training. If you don't know what a side stitch is it's a stabbing pain at the bottom of your rib cage and it makes running really hard. I pushed through it and also felt a blister forming on the back of my ankle, the pain was real.
After battling back I finally crossed the finish line, I searched for Dara in the crowd and was super happy to see her smiling face cheering me on. I finished at 54:51 just under why I thought I could do, I was super happy with my result and slowly made my way to retrieve my medal.
I did it, I accomplished what I had set out to do, now what. I plan on training for the Scotiabank Half Marathon in October. I've had a bit of a setback as I've been struggling with a hip problem for the past two months but that is my next goal. See you at the finishline. thanks Lululemon for helping me accomplish my goal!