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Race Recap: Sporting Life 10K (or The Seven Second Conundrum)

May 11, 2014 Leave a comment

SL10k2014D&C

Post race selfies!  So great.  And since the picture already spoiled it: I finished, and got a finisher’s medal.  It’s shaped like a canoe paddle.  How cool is that?!

Anyway, let’s start at the beginning…

This morning, my cousin and I did our 2nd annual running of the Sporting Life 10k in Toronto.  It was a great morning!  This race has become something of a tradition for us – it’s about racing our best, but it’s also a chance for us to visit and catch up.  This is a race weekend I really look forward to.

We knew the race started at 8:00am, and that our wave (based on expected finish time) would head out at 8:20.  I crashed at my cousin’s place in downtown TO last night, and we walked out to flag a cab to the start line at 7:30.  On any other day, walking out onto King St in Toronto, there’s a cab driving by every 30 seconds or so.  Getting a cab is taken for granted.  This morning, apparently not so.  We would discover that – with 28,000 runners all trying to take taxis across town to the starting line of this point-to-point race – there was a scarcity of cabs in the city.  10 minutes later, we were seriously starting to worry about even making it to the start of the race.  Phone calls to various taxi companies were going unanswered.  Then – miraculously – a taxi dropped off a fare right outside my cousin’s condo building.  Convenient!  We made it to the start line around 8:15.  Just barely in time for our wave to start (and well after the elite runners were off).

The starting line went much smoother than it did last year.  We set off with our wave this time (as opposed to last year, when runners were sort of ignoring their waves and heading out when they chose – and thus so did we).  Thousands of runners heading out together – it took us several minutes after the race gun to shuffle across the start line.  But once we got across, the race felt great.  I felt energetic – light – fast.  I felt good.  My cousin and I were zig-zagging through runners from our wave.  We were racing!  It was so much fun!  We were off at a blistering pace (a bit of foreshadowing, for you veteran running race-ers out there…)

My cousin and I stayed together until somewhere around the 4km mark.  I wasn’t sure at the time if I got ahead of her, or if she got ahead of me.  At that point, I was on my own.

The rest of the run was pretty uneventful.  I ran the whole race, which I was quite proud of (apart from a 5 second walk break at one of the water stations – let’s face it, running through a water station ends up as more of a face wash than a drink).  But the run felt long.  Boring almost.  And then I noticed how quiet it was.  Not that there weren’t thousands of other runners running all around me, or spectators lining the route cheering – which was awesome!!  But the bands were missing!  Last year there were live musicians on stages at every kilometer marker.  This year, nothing.  I was so disappointed!  Live music lining the course was one of my favorite parts of the run last year.  Note to new race director: bring that back next year!!  Getting rid of the live music was a mistake!

By the 9km sign I was fully engaged in a mental battle with myself – willing myself to keep pushing hard through the finish.  I was running out of gas, but I knew I had started out strong and had a shot at a Personal Best time.  I only had 1km to go.  So I kept arguing with myself to push through the end.

I crossed the finish line at 9:25:xx (clock time).  Dammit.  Clock time.  I know our wave started at 8:20, but by the time the thousands of runners had advanced through the starting chute, I didn’t notice what time I went across.  Did it take us 5 minutes?  3 minutes?  8 minutes?  I was done, but I had no idea what my chip time was.  Note to self: start wearing a running watch while racing!

It was several hours later before we were able to look our chip times up online.  I ran a personal best time after all: 1:00:07.3

1 hour and 7.3 seconds!!!

On one hand, I just ran a personal best time – 2:30 faster than I had ever run a 10k before.  That’s so awesome!

On the other hand, I missed out on a sub one hour run by 7.3 seconds!  7.3 SECONDS!!!

If I had just run 1 second per km faster over the race, I could have made it (or, more realistically, if I had paced myself a hair better and not run out of gas at the end I could have made it).  Note to self: start wearing a running watch while racing!

It’s now a few hours later.  I’ve left Toronto and come back home.  I’ve wrestled with this conundrum for a few hours.  And I’ve decided I’m really happy with my run.  The elusive 1 hour mark is still out there.  I haven’t conquered that mountain yet.  But I went into this trained and ready, and hoped for a personal best time.  And I got one.  And yet, in spite of a personal best time, I’m now more motivated than ever to get back to training and put the work in to get faster!

First race of the year is in the books.  Now it feels like the race season is underway!  What a great day!

~DO’G

Destination: Niagara Falls

October 26, 2013 2 comments

BandDTomorrow morning my wife is running her third half-marathon.  That’s right folks – this time I get to be the cheerleader, not the racer!!

My wife comes out to all of my races.  She’s my rock.  She gives up her weekends, wakes up at the shit-crack-of-early, takes lots of pictures (and drinks lots of coffee).  She cheers for me, and supports me.  And this weekend it’s my turn to cheer for her!  I’m really excited about it!

The race is going to be amazing.  The host city so far is a bit of a let down though.  We’re staying in a Ramada hotel (where apparently “smoke free” rooms are just a suggestion – Strike 1), and had dinner at a TGI Fridays (where overpriced frozen burgers and soggy flavourless quesadillas are on the menu – Strike 2).  To top it off – it’s freezing cold and pouring rain.  Not that that’s the city’s fault, but really the best things to do in this city are all outdoors.  So instead, it’s hotel room cable TV for us.

But that’s not the point (phew!  Thank goodness for editing my posts).  The point is, she’s going to have an amazing race tomorrow morning, rain or shine.  And I can’t wait to cheer her on!!

Stop the Couch-fest!!

October 9, 2013 Leave a comment

GetOffTheCouch

It’s been nearly a month now since my race season ended.  It’s been a really sluggish month.  What started out as great R&R time quickly turned into laziness.  Time spent on the couch, watching TV, eating crap.  And I quickly discovered something about myself: I’m not in my 20s anymore.

Seriously – that’s not as dumb a statement as it sounds.  My body can’t take laying on the couch for hours days anymore.  My body can’t eat cafeteria crap and drink beer like it did back in my University days anymore.  My mind still remembers these things as being fun and relaxing, and rewarding.  The mind can stay young, but the body still grows up.  And I have to take care of it differently now than I did a decade ago.

And that’s really why I got into Triathlon in the first place.  Because I sure as shit didn’t get into it to win races!  I got into it as a motivator to get my life in shape – get my body in shape.  To be a healthier me for myself, my wife, and my family and friends.

Last week my wife and I bought gym memberships at the local YMCA.  One of the first things I did on my first trip to the gym was to step on the scale.  I haven’t stepped on a scale in months.  234.5 lbs.  Holy shit.  I haven’t seen a number that low since high school (probably early high school at that)!  It’s easy for me to trumpet about improved running, biking, or swimming times – because I have gotten faster over this past year.  But that’s the number that sticks with me.  That’s the number that I choose to define my race season.  I know weight isn’t the end-all metric of a person’s health, but it’s a metric.  It’s an easy metric.  And it’s improved.

But it won’t continue to improve if I don’t continue to work.  The post race season couch-fest has got to stop.  It’s time to get back to work.  And sometimes it takes a number like this to remind me how far I’ve come, and to keep working.

I’ve added one last race to my 2013 schedule – I’m going to be running the Hamilton Road2Hope 10K with my cousin (and possibly my wife, and a few friends of ours) in a couple of weeks.  On one hand, after the magnitude of some of the races I’ve done this summer, it’s easy to say “oh, it’s just a 10K run”.  On the other hand, it’s so much more to me than that.  It’s symbolic of everything I’ve worked for, and why I do this:

  • It’s the second year we’ve run this race together (that makes it a tradition, doesn’t it?)
  • It’s a run with family and friends, and a chance to share this activity with them
  • It’s a race where cheering each other across the finish line is just as important as the PB time we’re running for

What better reason is there to get off the couch than that!!!

 

Friday Stray Thoughts

September 13, 2013 2 comments

Friday

Image by Glenn McCoy

Happy Friday everyone!  For those of you looking for a little light lunchtime internet distraction to tide you over until quitting time, here’s a Few Stray Thoughts for your Friday Afternoon

This week – a shout out to all the family and friends who support us through this crazy-assed thing we do called a sport…

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triathlon_widow_coffee_mug_funny_giftwww.zazzle.ca

I shared this link with my wife, and any of you who race should share it with your partners and family too.  Or maybe your friends who don’t understand “I can’t tonight – I have a long run in the morning”: The Triathlon Widow, courtesy of Tri Wives Club:

From Urban Dictionary (via the link above):

“A triathlete is any person who was once human, but has now transformed into something super-human, and can no longer hang out with other mere mortals.  They must spend all their spare time swimming, biking, running, and shaving themselves in order to keep their new-found sport god status.  During this time, they are technically still married, but their wife/husband considers them dead due to their lack of normal human function.

Note:  The spouse is only considered a triathlon widow during the time the triathlete is spending all their spare time training, racing, shaving, or thinking about their multi-sport addiction in general.

How to use in a sentence:  I’m a triathlon widow this weekend.  My husband is gone from our family for 3 days to do an Iron Man race 5 states away.  Yes, he had to pay to be in it, and no he does not win anything.”

Cheers to everyone who puts up with me (and every other triathlete out there) during race season… or training season… or any season for that matter…

– – – – –

spectators

Attending a race as family or friend of a racer is a skill.  From waking up at stupid o’clock, to spending the morning with an anxious racer while you’re clinging to your coffee, to several hours keeping yourself occupied in some random park while your racer is on course, to driving home with a tired racer who wants to be appreciative (but also really wants to sleep).  It takes commitment.  It takes dedication.  Luckily the Tri Wives Club has given us a great guide to The Sport of Spectating.  Some great tips here – particularly the tribag.  Definitely worth the read… if you happen to know a racer and ever might want to go cheer them on… ya know… like this weekend… hint hint…

– – – – –

Sign

And what’s a race without a few funny spectator signs.  Spectators are the life of the race – serious love for everyone who comes to cheer on the athletes (even if you’re not there to cheer me, I still find it motivating).

– – – – –

Have a great weekend everybody!  Good Luck to everyone racing this weekend!!!

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