As I approached the final kilometre on Saturday, I tried not to focus on the perceived weakness in my legs, my shortness of breath, that I’m not sure if I can finish feeling.
Instead, I tried to focus on how awesome it was to be running down an airport runway, as the sun set, in 15 C weather, with runway lights guiding the way, like twinkling lights on a garden path.
I thought about how it was only four years ago that I packed my vehicle with my kitties and drove more than 1,600 km to this place not knowing a soul. And now I have so many truly amazing friends, co-workers who are more than co-workers, and people in the community who are so pleasant to encounter every now and then. I have people! Running people! And it feels so great.
And as I turned the final corner, and I could hear people cheer my name, I finished with every ounce of strength I had left.
It was the YSJ 10K race, one of the most unique races around. More than 300 people took off from the Saint John Airport on Saturday, at the third annual event. This was was different because it started at 7:30 p.m. The 10K racers ran two loops of the runway, starting immediately after an aircraft lifted off into the sky.
The weather was remarkable. We couldn’t have asked for anything better. It was warm enough for shorts. It was sunny and there was hardly any wind.
What made this run even more fun than last year’s was the friends who raced with me. Friends including Otiena, who leaves Saint John for new adventures in the west on Monday. She hasn’t competed in a race for years and came out with a swift time of 50:47, placing second in her age group.
My time was 53:57, which was better than my time in the same race last year of 55:17. But I did not beat my PR from Moncton last fall of 53:26. I think I was so focused on pacing myself through the race, but I could have probably pushed a little harder.
I’m not feeling discouraged because I haven’t really been training specifically for a 10K. My focus has been half-marathon training (next weekend!). Pacing is what I’m all about right now so it makes sense that I was not my speediest.
After the race, we all got a chocolate milk, bagel and fruit. My boyfriend and his parents were also there to cheer me own, which was so sweet. There was a draw for free Air Canada tickets and the winners were announced. It was nearly 9:30 p.m. before we went home.
The evening race format was a little more challenging, or maybe just different, to prepare for. It was tough to know how and what to eat. I also felt a lot more nervous than normal and my stomach was giving me some issues. I ended up eating a big breakfast of eggs, toast with peanut butter, strawberries, an orange and coffee. I didn’t eat lunch until nearly 3 p.m. (although I did snack of veggie chips and some Costco samples around lunch time). Lunch was a tuna sandwich and yogurt with some hemp hearts. Then about two hours before the race, I ate a Larabar. The fuel strategy seemed to work although I probably should have drank some more water.
Now I’m into taper week. Carbs (yay!). Rest (yay!). Crossfit (yay!).
I am planning on running a slow 10K on Tuesday, 6 K on Wednesday, doing yoga on Thursday and running a short 3 K on Saturday. Crossfit is Monday and Wednesday. It seems like a lot but including the yoga day and today I should have three rest days.
How do you prepare the week before a half-marathon? How did other runners enjoy the YSJ race?