#SL10k in Support of Camp Ooch

A few years ago there was a break up with the 1ok that went down Yonge street and two races emerged, the Yonge Street 10k as part of the Canadian Running Series (supporting several charities) and the Sporting Life 10k in support of Camp Oochigeas. Both races have their merits but for the last two years I have participated in the one that supports Camp Oochigeas.

Several of my friends volunteer at Camp Ooch and always bring back amazing stories. Plus this year my friend Cory was race director. And really I need a few more weeks of training before I jumped into another race.Zoomphoto Inc Event Photography

The 2014 SL10k was an amazing event. The race sold out long before race day and it was host to 27,000 people. Standing on the start line and looking back was almost frightening; there were just so many people! But the start waves were well paced out with 15 minutes between each wave. This mean that there would be no bottleneck at the finish this year.

With lots of water stations, port-a-potties, and a giant downhill, this year’s event was a huge success. Cory and I at the finish line.New to the job this year, race director, Cory Freeman, handled it like a pro, because she is one. Cory runs the best women’s running series, the TO Women’s series and she brought her expertise to the race. A longer coral at the end to spread people out, more space between the waves, the whole event was so professional and so amazing.

To date just over $2million has been raised in support of Camp Ooch.

Ok but time for me to be selfish. The #SL10k was a great personal accomplishment. As defending champion I felt a lot of pressure to perform at this race. Workouts to date have been going well but my mind was getting in the way. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to repeat, but that should not have mattered.

I had set a plan with my coach, well sort of, the plan was to go and feel comfortable but to push my limits as the race progressed. There was no 5k time goal so I estimated I should try and go through in 17:00, using the downhill and knowing the second 5k would be slower. I went through 5k in 16:47. I was trying not to look at the time as I went through, I was trying to go by feel. But with two giant clocks on either side of the road it was hard to ignore.

I had a moment of, ‘I might blow up given how fast I ran 5k.’ Quickly putting that out of my head I stayed focused and kept charging down Yonge Street. I knew the downhill was going to end and there would be a period of adjustment on the flat. I find with this course that between 7 and 8 is the toughest. You’re tired, you slow down, and your legs just feel weird. Between 7 and 8k was my slowest km.

And then I told myself you can do anything for 7ish minutes so put your head down and push through. I charged on. Feeling a little in no-mans-land I had to tell myself to just keep going, believe in the hard workouts, and push on. I have to say it really went by fast, even those challenging few meters.

The day was surreal. I finished with a huge PB, taking 1:35 off my time from last year.#SL10k Finish Line

Most importantly I was surrounded by friends and family that day who celebrated with me. The best training partners are the ones you become close friends with; Gillian Tweedie kept my sh*t together Sunday morning. Warming up was just like a regular workout. We giggled, we slow jogged, we strategized for the race, but she always believed in me and what I could do. And I would not have been so calm or so fast that day without her.