5k Road Champs
As I sit here reflecting on the race, I cannot help but laugh at the series of things that happened in and around the event. Successes and failures alike that day there was a lot to smile about and learn from.
The Lead Up
I’ve been telling people, summer 2016 was one of the best summers of my life. 5 weeks at the cottage = amazing! But 5 weeks at the cottage, no matter how much training you do isn’t quite the same as being in my element at home. A good majority of those 5 weeks too was passive rest and my time off from training for the year.
When I came back to training I could hit tempo pace with ease, in fact, it is the best I have ever felt doing that pace solo. I would have those moments where I felt weightless on my feet and that I could go forever. Now going any faster than that, and I found it almost impossible.
With how things felt they were going I set my race intention, ‘Be gritty, run hard, and race for the love of racing.’ I can sometimes be really negative in workouts in my head and my mantra for August had been ‘be positive, be focused.’ This blend of working on things while doing workouts (practice racing in a sense) plus a set intention for the race contributed to my success on race day.
The race was held in downtown TO, not far from home, so it was easy for myself to get to and for friends and family to come out and cheer. It is a downhill start, uphill through the midsection, and somewhat of a downhill finish again. With few turns it can make for a very quick course; however, if there is a traditional Canadian north headwind, it can slow the times down!
At 9am the horn went, because at Road Races you don’t fire a gun – can’t imagine that being a good thing in downtown Toronto! With a downhill start I knew the first kilometre would be quick. Dayna Pidhoresky took it out and I tucked in behind her with Andrea off to my left. Can’t put into words how awesome it was to be reunited with Andrea at the race and have her right beside me. We are fiercely competitive at a race, and the greatest of friends the second it’s over.
Somewhere between kilometres one and two I had to go straight to my race mantra. My legs were screaming at me, we were going so much faster than tempo race! A little ‘shut up legs’ plus mantra and I got myself to relax somewhere in the third k. I just kept reminding myself not to let the tether break.
At the 3.5 k mark it was still a tight pack of ladies, but it was at this point that it seemed either people fell off or Andrea, Laura and I took off. It was likely a combination. Around the fourth kilometre I got a side stitch, at least what I thought was a side stitch at the time. ‘Be gritty, it doesn’t really hurt’ was the self talk going on in my head. Ignore. This hurts. Ignore. No this really hurts. Ignore. If only there was something to record what goes on in your head.
I really thought I was going to get dropped as we rounded the corner on Davenport with about 400m to go. I thought back to all of my workouts and races with Andrea and told myself to just stay with her. Again, ‘ignore, this hurts,’ was going on. The race report says I made a final charge on Andrea, no Andrea ran away from me with about 25m to go. It was a great race, not just because of the result, but because I was gritty, I was positive, and I never gave up.
(The follow-up, not a side stitch. When it still hurts two days later it’s definitely muscular. Fortunately nothing serious, but definitely why I was in some pain.)
It’s just a part of racing and being an elite. So here I am thinking I am the master at getting through doping control. You cross the line, you are identified, and you start drinking water. Seeing my friend Mel with a delicious latté in hand I asked for a sip; she gave me the whole thing.
My routine for doping control while at an event is to drink 1L of water and then start my cool-down. You run for 10-20 minutes depending on how your legs, body, and bladder feel, and then do a few strides. My goal is to usually then try to drink another 0.5 to 1.L while filling out the paper work so your system is primed and ready to go.
This time I drank an extra 2.5L of water. And then I was delayed going to the bathroom because of awards. The short story, I was very successful in providing a sample in a timely fashion. However, I spent the rest of the day in bed because I made myself so sick. Note to self – stick to your 2L total of water!
For some this was the end of the season, for others they are in the middle, for me, it was the start. And what a successful, and funny, start it was.