Saturday morning (Oct. 16) was racing day. Once again this year, I was crazy enough sign up to run the 10K Zoo Run. And I say crazy, because really, running 10K is a crazy idea.
But this year, I actually had fun.
I really only started seriously training for racing day 7 weeks ago – although, since April, I’d been going out about 3 or 4 times a month and running 4 to 6 km, so I wasn’t completely out of shape or practice. But, for the record, until Saturday, the last time I ran a full 10K was Oct. 17, 2009 – last year’s Zoo Run. In my 7 weeks of training, I never pushed past 9km.
Regardless, I was ready. After a 9K run earlier this week, my only thoughts upon completion was ‘bring it on’. Whereas in the days leading up to last year’s run, I was terrified and wondering why the hell I thought I could do such a crazy thing.
So, on Saturday, October 16, 2010, I ran 10K at the Toronto Zoo in 1:14:58 – about 45 seconds faster than last year. To be honest, when I first thought of running again, I had hoped to be able to do it faster than that, but considering I was on crutches a mere 9 months ago, I’m pretty damn pleased with myself.
Even though I was ready and pumped to run, I was still nervous when I woke up Saturday morning. And the fact that there was traffic along Morningside getting into the zoo didn’t make things easier. Parking was such a nightmare, that I had to jump out of the car partway to the lot and briskly walk to the starting gate while Ryan parked, just to ensure I’d make it for start time. Problem was, I still had to go to the bathroom when I got there and as I was lining up, 8:30 came and went.
No worries though, the starting gate stays open for 10 minutes after gun time and when I was done, I just hustled over and started running (with all the other late comers). It put me in a weird frame of mind when I started though, not to be with the pack of runners – and for the first kilometre or so, I kept thinking that I had to catch up until I finally remembered that the only person I was racing against was myself.
So once I got into a better mindset, I just enjoyed the run and before I knew it, I had passed the 3km mark – which was where I had planned to take a short walking break. My plan had been to stop at 3, 6 and 8. But suddenly I found myself somewhere past 3k. So I took a short walking break and then carried on.
As I rounded 5k, my cheering squad was yelling ‘go mommy go’ from the sidelines, giving me a much needed lift. Although I was still feeling good, it’s usually around the 4.5K to 6K point that I really tire out before getting a second wind. And then I just got into the zone and kept going – reaching 7K before stopping again for a drink and to fix my shoe. There was no point stopping anymore with less than 3km left, so I just pushed through it, not ever considering that I wouldn’t be able to do it. And about 100 metres from the finish line, my cheering squad was yelling as loud as they could.
One thing’s for sure…I forgot how hilly the zoo is. It was a different course this year than last year, and although I’m sure it didn’t make much of difference, I felt like I was almost always going up. Every time I ran to the top of one small hill, there was a bigger one a little ways down the way.
But after feeling so good about that race, I’m looking forward to the next one already. Because there will be another one. Next year, I’m looking at the Yonge Street one in May (the one I wanted to do this year before I ended up on crutches). And thankfully, it’s all downhill.