Last night, I went to bed with an upset stomach. I knew that I wasn’t sick as my gut is lined with iron. It was simply a case of pre-race nerves. I wanted to run well and I had my own personal agenda. As posted on Friday night, here are my goals and wishes.
To finish between 22:00 and 22:30.
To find that last bit of extra that seems to escape me somewhere in the last 100 metres.
To finish top 10
To finish one of top 3 Masters.
When my husband called home from work at 11:00, his “support” added to my jitters. He told a co-worker about the morning’s race and learned another woman from his work was also running. “Not to put any pressure on you,” he said, “but I want you to kick her butt.” He was only trying to motivate me, I’m sure, but seriously…
This morning, my stomach was still tied in knots until I got to the start line. There, I sized up the competition and realized that, yes, this was going to be a tougher run than last year. Nancie, whom I met last summer in St. Catherine’s , finished 1st in our age group last year, but I beat her at the end of August; she, I thought was my master’s competition. The Toronto Track Club sent 5 or 6 women to race; one of them I recognized as last year’s winner. And, then, there were the other unknowns and another 400 ladies behind me who were thinking about seeing fire fighters and eating chocolate, things this race has a reputation for.
When the buzzer went, Nancie took off ahead of me. Even though she told me that she thought that she’d run at a 24 minute pace, I knew she wouldn’t. I planned to keep her in sight and pass her when I was ready – if I could. And, if I had another kilometre or two, I would have been able to catch her and the other gal that were just ahead of me. But this was a 5K event and that never happened; the three of us finished back to back: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in our age group. Goal Number Two accomplished: I found that little bit of extra to give it one last fight before the finish line; it just wasn’t enough.
I was, however, able to catch two other runners along the course- not the 20 and 30 something younger runners from the Track Club. But catching those two ladies between 3K and 4K gave me a 10th place finish (of 461 runners). Wish Number One fulfilled: to finish top 10.
And what was my time, you may wonder? 22:24! Actually, the clock read 22:22 and so did the announcer. So, I can’t figure out how I gained two seconds. Regardless, it was 45 seconds faster than last year and I finished where I aimed so goal number one was meet; I finished between 22:00 and 22:30.
Where things fall apart is with my final wish: to be one of the top three masters. But failing to achieve this gave me something better. Of the top 10 finishers, one was 40 to 44, and the last three (yes, numbers 8, 9 and 10) were 45 to 49 years. I’m finding more and more that I am in a very competitive age group and an age group that is keeping up quite well with 20 and 30 year olds. In a few years, I will enter the next decade and I’ve been worried about how I’ll run then. But today’s run has given me hope. So, while I did not finish one of the top 3 Masters (which really didn’t matter as there weren’t awards for Masters; it’s all a mental thing), I have become more positive about what running may hold for me in the next few years.
So, the final stats are:
Time: 22.24 (a 7:18 mile)
Place: 10/417 overall; 3/49 Age Group
I took home a plaque, proud boys and some new goals to think about chasing.