I suffer from race envy. I become insanely jealous of friends racing around the world, envious of many, many schwag bags and basically just want more. I need the speed; I need the runner’s high that I get when I race; I need to better my times; I need to chase my dreams.
Last week, when I heard friends talking about races they had recently run, I decided that I really needed to get out and find something to settle my nerves. Besides, I’m running the 10.8K Egg Nog Jog in just a few weeks and I wanted to practise the 10k distance before then; after all, it had been six weeks since my last 10K.
So, I decided to run the Chilly Willy in Mississauga on Sunday morning. In my previous post, I described the chaos that I was facing on Sunday but this was organized chaos. Skipper went to Church with the Superfriends, Daddy stayed home with Little Ironman and I headed to Mississauga with Shawn.
The real challenge in the morning was making sure that I was home by 11:30, dressed and ready to leave for dress rehearsals and two Christmas concerts at the Living Arts Centre. With a 10:00 race start, 45 minutes to run and a 30 minute drive back home, timing was tight but doable.
Going without the boys was really quite strange as it was the first time in months that I was able to focus on just running the race rather than on extra clothes, snacks and porta-potties. We got there early – about 90 minutes early – to register, strategize and warm up.
Once we started warming up, I faced my first challenge of the race: the outdoor bathrooms were closed and there wasn’t a porta-potty anywhere. A city employee was expected to unlock the bathroom doors at 9:00 but never showed. Obviously, the guy (or girl) isn’t a runner.
So, Shawn and I ran off – to stay warm on the 3C degree morning and to find some form of bathroom besides a tree and toilet paper. After 5 minutes of running through the surrounding residential area, we found a house undergoing renovations with a porta-potty in the front. We hopped the fence and took turns standing watch while the other went in. Lucky!
By the time we had finished warming up and getting into our race gear, there were only 10 minutes to the start. So, we headed over to the start line, only to hear that the race was going to start at 10:05. A few minutes later, we heard the race would start at 10:10. And, once 10:10 came, an announcer said, “I”m just going to talk to you for a few minutes….”
“I hope so,” I said aloud, “because I have a date with my shower at 11:25 that I just can’t be late for.”
He was true to his word. A few minutes later, I was eyeing the front runners. Arma was there in her Running Skirt and I knew she would be my competition. The guy dressed in black and wearing a Matrix jacket also appeared to be threatening, as did the large number of fit teenagers from the canoe club – including one who graduated from my school in June.
The horn went. Shawn took off and I didn’t see him until the end of the race. I was focussed on Arma, who was just ahead of me for most of it. While trying to stay on her tail for the first two kilometres, the dude from the Matrix – the dude wearing the long, black, open coat passed me. Now, when somone wearing an open coat passes you on a windy day, chances are that the coat will hit you – and it did. Irked, I passed him back; but he passed me again. This continued for just over a mile but, rest assured, there was no exchange of words. I was relieved when I finally was able to keep my position ahead of him as that coat was a weapon.
Meanwhile, Arma was still ahead – close enough to see but too far to catch. I could also see Shawn, who was obviously doing what he set out to do: to get in a good workout.
By 8K, though, I realized that I wasn’t following Shawn; his gait was different. When I got closer, I realized that his shirt was different too. “Good,” I thought while feeling stupid. “He must be up in the lead.” Then, Arma picked up her pace and I couldn’t keep up. I ended up finishing second lady, just less than 30 seconds behind her, with a time of 41:25.
Both Shawn and I left right after running; I had to meet Supermom Katherine and Skipper; Shawn was heading home to a family committment. We have since learned that the course was short – 9.85 km. But, I still finished second and at a 4:12 pace. Shawn placed second in his age group, a sweet win that he has been wanting for a long, long time.
And, my former, now 14 year old student? The one that I forced to run cross-country two years ago because I saw his talent? He blew through his first 10K (okay 9.85k) in just under 46 minutes.
The mother of this teen has Shawn’s and my medals. Now, knowing what unusual awards I have earned this year, I can only imagine what the Silver Medal from the Chilly Willy 10K will look like.