It was definitely a race smash kind of day, even though I have to confess that I did eat some cake last night at a sweet friend’s surprise birthday party. As good as the cake was, achieving a personal best in the Toronto Yonge Street 10k (#TYS10K) was figuratively the icing on the cake.
While this race is advertised as a fast one that is all downhill, I was surprised at the amount of hills during the race. It’s a good thing I did a little dance with some hills during my training! Hills or not, the race has a reputation of being all downhill, and because of that, I knew I wanted to try to push myself a little. I knew I wanted to set a realistic time goal based off of my 8k result which was 1 hour and 16 minutes. Also, when I ran 10k during my training, I did it in 1 hour and 36 minutes, so I came to the conclusion that a good goal time would be 1 hour 30 minutes.
This race was quite different than my others. Usually, I find myself in a state of misery for the first 3k as I fight to find my groove and happy vibe, but today, as nervous as I was, I felt pretty stellar at the start. I felt fast, and for one of the first times, I felt like a runner. It was also different because after the 5k mark, I felt really tired, and despite feeling good at the start, I felt like I was moving so much slower than my usual pace, which is odd since there were plenty of downhills to make up speed.
I also have to fess up to the fact that I was really thirsty this race. You might not think this is a weird confession, but for Coach Nancy, she’s sitting back reading this and shaking her head while the words, “I told you so” roll off her lips. THERE. I put it in writing. Now we can move on.
Much to my surprise, the time between 7k and 8k went relatively quickly, and then came the fun part that I like to call the road to victory. Those last two kilometers were hard, but beautiful. Hard because the push to finish was on, but beautiful because of the love and cheers the spectators shared. There is something really special about complete strangers rooting for you as if they know you. It’s incredible and highly motivating. However, the best part of approaching the finish was seeing a homemade sign made by one of my biggest fans, my friend Amy. While there would be nothing more rewarding than Ryan Gosling putting a race medal around my neck, that sign came pretty darn close. Just seeing her, and my husband there cheering with their enormous smiles honestly made my day, and just when I thought all of this awesomeness was over, Nancy and I crossed the finish. As we celebrated with a hug, and a side commentary by the announcer, Nancy probably takes the cake for giving me the best gift ever by telling me my time. I am so happy and so proud to say that I finished this race in 1 hour and 26 minutes. Yes, that’s right – I was UNDER my goal time!
I can honestly say that I did not expect that result. I knew I would finish, and ultimately, that was the most important goal, but I did not expect that amazing of a result. Throughout the day, I’ve been sitting here trying to process all of it. Not only am I completely blown away by my time, but I’m also humbled so much by all of the family, friends, and complete strangers that shared their sweet words of encouragement with me for this race. As corny as it sounds, those words are what I think of when I am in a bad head space and need to find the will to keep going, and for that, I am forever grateful. Thank you so, so much. A special thanks goes out to two of my favourite gals Sarah and Jill for making the trek down to share in my victory and also for joining me in a post race celebration. I can’t wait to return the favour with a taco at the end of your race Sarah! Be ready!