I winged another race, just a mini one. To date, I’ve never been able to train for any running events. I haven’t laced up my runners since I mentioned the Achilles St. Patrick’s Day 5K last month to recover some shin issues, except for a quickie 3km test run 2 weeks ago to assess my conditions.
Without training, I didn’t have a goal pace in mind. I was simply looking forward to let loose with colleagues outside of work, soak up the crowd’s energy, finish injury-free, and most importantly, beat 1 of my coworkers who smoked me 2 years ago; henceforth known as my arch-nemesis.
I arrived 1hr15min early but a huge crowd had already gathered inside Steam Whistle Brewery (near the Start line). There was also a long line up! You’d think it’s a line up to something interesting like free beer, but it’s only to the Lady’s Room. That was 10min of wasting away my life!!
The blue sky was deceiving; it was a chilly day, dropping to -9C with wind chill. Winter is still here to stay! My jacket was in coat check, leaving me with at least 45min of pre-race freezing fun (I only had a baselayer on). Some friendly trash talks with my arch-nemesis and group photos later, we went our separate ways. I was having a chatterbox morning, joking away with a few colleagues. By the time I went to the starting line, I was way at the back and couldn’t find my nemesis. Was he in front of me? Uh Oh!
The crowd took forever to scatter. I was stuck behind groups of people with no room to groove, weaving through people and going up & down sidewalks to get space. It was a little frustrating! Why were walkers in the front? Funneling everyone from 2 lanes down to 1 lane on Spadina Ave worsened the situation. It wasn’t until after the half-way mark when the crowd started to stretch out. I miss the rigidity of cycling races where riders are organized in pace categories and let out in descending pace. Cycling spreads out a lot faster especially with the neutral rollout at the start.
At 2/3 of the way, I saw a couple of my colleagues walking in the opposite direction. I flailed my arms at them and they shouted “Hey, he’s ahead of you!!” “NOOOOOOOOO!!!” I have no idea where he was. My finicky legs surprisingly felt fantastic & I sped up to hopelessly make up for lost time. On the final 0.7km homestretch, I downright sprinted and my strides got longer. Oh, maybe this is what true running is?!
I crossed the finish. As I cooled down, I heard my arch-nemesis yelled my name. Sure enough, he was sitting on the curb soaking in the race with a big smile on his face. Damn. He beat me.
I’m embarrassed by my time – my slowest 5km yet! I comfort myself by noting the identical Gun & Chip time. This doesn’t make sense, I was at the back of the line. There must be a timing error. Right, right????
A few of us waited for the rest of the team. My body heat generated from the race disappeared, resorting to another round of shivering. Comically, 1 of my teammates hung her jacket on a tree near the start/finish line (so random!!). She was nowhere in sight. I “borrowed” it & put it on like its my own.
We gave up waiting after half an hour and headed inside the Brewery for some Irish lunch. Another line up! Thank goodness for networking, a few of our teammates were at the front of the line. I took no joy in butting, but time is money people!
We were served a bowl of chili and a cup of Steam Whistle beer. Now don’t fall off your seats, I wasn’t in the mood for beer and skipped it.
It was a fun day and I had an enjoyable time with my coworkers. I may have took the race seriously while running it but it was just force of habit. At the end of the day, I had no hard feelings. Yes, I had a slow pace. Yes, my goal of beating a coworker didn’t happen. I may have to hide my face in my cubicle for a few days, but just being with the crowd to kick-start public sporting events for 2013 had me pumped up for the rest of the day. The fact that my legs didn’t bother me much also means I can gradually ease back into a running regime again. I still haven’t ran over 15km in my life. The upcoming half-marathon isn’t going to run itself. I certainly can’t wing that one!
Have you just “gone in” to a race?