I first started running in University, after I was finished with the swim team. I used to take the family dog out for trail runs in the fields behind our house. It was slow, it was painful, and it usually ended in me puking! I would run for a few km and the dog would do 4x times that, towards the end of our run was my 'Dooms Day' hill--short but steep. At first I could only manage it once, I'd get to the top, see stars, sometimes puke up whatever I ate for lunch and then walk/jog it back home. A few weeks later, I did it twice, then 3 times...you get the picture. That's how it all started--me lying in the grass next to my vomit at the top of the hill determined to run it again!
Last week, I got an invite to run the Vancouver Sun Run (all expenses paid!!)--it was last minute, someone had cancelled, but I was still flattered that my name was even mentioned. The Sun Run is a big 10K run in Canada, there's prize $, it's a great course and it's fast. I'd heard all about it. After some discussion with Coach Paul and Richard (I'd be ditching him on his b-day...), a purchase of a last minute plane ticket--I was off to Vancouver on Saturday to race on Sunday morning! It would be a great training race and good test before my ITU race in Korea in a couple weeks. It was so nice to get on a plane with only a backpack--no bike, no goggles, no wetsuit!!
Here's my race kit....I wanted to look the part, so I pulled out my Team Timex singlet, my shortest run shorts (runner girls always wear really short-shorts), my orange race flats, my visor and threw in my race belt--just so they knew a Triathlete was running with them!!
Sunday morning, I was nervous, I haven't run a stand-alone 10k in years, triathlons taking up most of my weekends. There were 50,000 people running the race. I was in the first wave, along with 600 other people! Wedged back behind the start line, shoulder to shoulder, all I could think was "don't trip and get trampled!". The gun went off, and I got past the start line without incident. The first few km were fast and furious, it was crazy to be running with so many fast people around, and I kept my eye all the fast runner-girls, we were all together until 5k. I ended up dropping back about 5-10sec on a hill up to a bridge and it turned out to be a gap I couldn't recover.
I fought hard over the next few km's and was out-strategized in the last 600-400m by a couple of the women--including my superstar Lifesport teammate Lucy Smith, my only 'strategy' in a 10k race is to run until I puke, but once I turned the last bend and saw the timing clock at 34 minutes and change...I ran as hard as I could!! I crossed the line in 34.45, a new 10k run PB by 3min and 1 second!! I saw stars in the finish shoot but managed to keep my breakfast down this time!
I finished 8th overall, only 40 seconds separated 1st from 8th. In previous years my time would have been a top 5, so it was a tight group of women this year. I'm just psyched that I managed to run with the 'big girls' while grabbing a new personal best on tired legs!! Coach Paul and I have put a lot of time and effort into my running this winter (finally having the time to do a run focus after the craziness of Beijing the last 2 years!) and it's nice to see it paying off! Next year, I may even rest my legs a little before and see what this swimmer-turned-triathlete-turned-runner can do.
Now, back in Calgary there was no recovery day after this race, in fact, Coach had me run another hour after the race! Then it was a TT bike effort (into a strong head wind!) and hill repeats this morning after my swim! I leave for Korea next Monday, so only a few more hard training days left to go!!
Thanks to Coach Paul & Coach Mike with the University of Calgary Athletics Club for making me run faster than I thought I could this winter!