Monday, October 16, 2006
There's me with the SpongeBob sponge that says "best day ever." Well, it wasn't the best day EVER, but it wasn't bad either.
I woke up at 7:00 for the 8:30 start. We were a little slow getting out the door (a-hem! not my fault), and the start line seemed to be a bit further north than last year. Somehow, it just seemed a lot harder to get behind the start mats...it was incredibly crowded and everyone was pushing to get there as the announcer counted down the minutes, then seconds to the start. Although I had jogged a good part of the way up Yonge st to the start line, I hadn't had much time to stretch and felt completely mentally unprepared. In fact, I started the race in a very annoyed state of mind after I had pushed my way to the start line (which I felt badly about after...didn't mean to offend my fellow runners :( ). Anyways, the race was going to start whether we were ready or not...off we went.
For most of the race, I was telling myself to slow down. Especially on Hogg's Hollow...I tried to power my way up the long hill last weekend and almost puked at the top :( I kept it slow and steady this time, and didn't have any problems. Things went pretty smoothly, and I hit the 10k mark at about 1:03, so my pace was good.
I don't remember much of what was around me during the race. I was way too serious and too focussed. I wasn't enjoying myself at all. I was on a mission...run the whole way without any walk or water station breaks (I was wearing my fuel belt), and get to the finish line by 2:10. In reality, I wanted to get there faster than that, but I thought that 2:10 was realistic.
Garmin lost signal for at least a kilometer while I was running underneath the highway during the latter half of the race. Since I didn't have instant feedback on my pace, I kept checking my time, over and over again. Don't slow down, you'll miss your time goal. But wait...I'm starting to feel a little queasy. Don't speed up, you'll make yourself sick. I knew that I needed to save some energy for the last 2 km up University Ave (slight uphill) and that long run around the circle at Queen's park. You're there...no you're not! Psyche!!! grrr...
Somehow, I managed to maintain my pace and run steady. At the top of the circle, I tried to just give'er, but got a cramp in my right quad. I slowed back to my normal pace, afraid that my leg would give out...I didn't want to fall with a few hundred meters to go! As I rounded the corner, I heard my name and saw Tony and Brent standing at the side. I gave them a wave and hurled myself to the finish line. The clock read 2:11:37...my chip time was 2:10:03. Dang, am I punctual or what? Unfortunately, I didn't quite catch up to the tu-tu boys...
Okay, so I achieved 3 goals: 1) I ran the whole damn 21.1 km with no breaks and 2) I improved on my last year's time of 2:12:56 and 3) I actually hit my goal time of 2:10. I should be thrilled...right? Not really. I wasn't that happy yesterday. See, I like to set realistic time goals, even though my real time goal is a few minutes faster. Also, I was disappointed with my race experience...yes, it was good that I was focussed, but shouldn't it be fun, too??
Cliff helped me to put things in perspective. I ran a personal best time. I ran the whole 21.1km. How far have I come? 2.5 years ago, I just wanted to be able to run for 20 minutes straight. During this race, I ran for 130 minutes straight! Isn't that a vast improvement?? Yes...yes it is. So, I am starting to feel a little better about my performance. I guess the fact that I am not satisfied comes from the feeling that I can do better...and I will continue to try. I want to get that half marathon time down to 2 hours flat...maybe next year ;)
Racing is done for 2006 (I think). Time to chill out for a bit, then start thinking about next year (not that I haven't been doing that already!).