First, I’d like to give a shout out to my niece for the awesome sign she made me and the chocolate milk she brought me post race. To decode the sign for everyone, the figure up at the top is me (love my skinny legs). The letters in the middle are supposed to say “way to go”, and the scribbles at the bottom are the smoke from my shoes because I was running so fast. Bless her little heart for making me feel like a champ.
Before I start my break down of race day, I just have to say that winter running is probably one of the most bad ass things anyone could possibly do. Not only is it freezing cold but you run against the elements. The snow, the bitter wind, and of course the ice. I now proudly consider myself inducted into this select club. If you yourself run in these conditions too, I nod my head and give you my props because it is no small feat.
Now onto the nitty gritty. To say training for this race was a) consistent or b) easy are severe understatements. Plagued by sickness multiple times throughout the last few months, I made the decision to take the 2 weeks leading up to the race off to let my lungs heal from all of the relentless coughing I was experiencing. It was definitely hard to take a back seat knowing that this race was fast approaching, but it was the right one. It taught me the importance of listening to my body.
I probably had the best sleep I’ve had in a long time last night, so that made waking up ridiculously hard this morning because naturally, I was soooooo comfortable in my cocoon of a blanket. Oh, the -25 Celsius temperature didn’t help getting out of bed any easier either. Thanks Mother Nature for that. Coach Iron Nan and I truly appreciated it, but we came, we saw, and we conquered.
The goal when I first started training was to finish this race in an hour. Given the setbacks, I aimed for an hour and 15 minutes. Much to my surprise, this race yielded my fastest 4km at 36 minutes (it used to take me 32 just to do 3), and I was only 2 minutes off my 5k time during the Scotiabank run. It truly is amazing how your muscles retain their memory over a lapse in training.
My official finishing time was an hour and 17 minutes. I can personally tell you that every inch of this race was earned. In true Alex fashion, the first 3k was a battle. All I could think about was how tired I was and how the hell I was going to run a half marathon this summer. Talk about not living in the moment! Thank goodness I had Coach Iron Nan with me to say, “half marathon Alex is going to be a whole other Alex”, and she’s right. By the time that race comes, I will be a machine! I also need to thank her for telling me all of her stories to keep my mind occupied, and for her Morgan Freeman like encouragement every step of the way.
The last km was probably the hardest. This was different than my last race as I managed to pick my speed up in the last one. For this race, I was just so tired by the end of it that I REALLY had to push to get to the end, but as soon as I saw my awesome husband standing in the frigid temperatures at the end, I gave what little juice I had left and crossed the finish. It took every fibre of my being not to cry because it was such a huge deal to me to finish this race and to finish it with my friend. Don’t worry, we totally had a celebratory hug and a chocolate milk party, which has now become a post race ritual! Big thanks to my husband Ty again for being the bearer of chocolate milk.
As the day has progressed, I don’t think I have ever felt so tired in my LIFE. I have napped and I STILL feel exhausted. Essentially, all of this tiredness is part of my lessons learned. As in, train harder for the next one because it’s an extra 2km! Yup, that’s right, the next race is the Yonge Street 10k in Toronto this April. I’ve got a good chunk of time to train, so I look forward to seeing the improvements between now and then.
Many thanks to my family and friends for their continued support. To my husband, who is probably sick of hearing the word “run”, and to my mom, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, and niece for all of their encouragement. It definitely makes staying committed much easier. Lastly but not least, thank you to Nancy again for everything. I can only hope to run with you one day at your speed!
Peace out! This girl is wiped out!