April 3rd, 2016
This date marked a HUGE challenge for me and will remain one of those moments in time that I will not soon forget! April 3rd 2016 – this was the day of the Around The Bay Road Race in Hamilton (and the day that I completed my FIRST EVER 30km race!) Why is this such a big deal? Well… it might not seem like a big deal to those of you who compete in races like this all the time – to those fantastic athletes who compete in marathons, triathlons and other sporting events (and whom I admire greatly!) But for me and my own personal achievements, this marks a BIG DAY for me!
A friend of mine decided to register for the race (she said she wanted a BIG GOAL to work towards) and asked if I would join her – before this race, I had competed in numerous 5km runs and thought “what’s another 25km??” – so how could I say no?
I trained a little (by a little I mean that my training consisted of logging into my NIKE Run App and sometimes following the schedule outline by my “coach”) – and before I knew it, the day had arrived!
I showed up to the event, and thought I was ready to go (I had my iPod, earbuds, toque, and mitts… what else could I possible need?) – THEN my friend asked… did I have any energy snacks with me?? did I take any Advil before coming?? did I eat a big supper full of CARBS last night?? Ummm – pourquoi?
… CLEARLY I was not quite as prepared as I thought!
We headed to the race start and found our place, near the back with all the other time-challenged runners (after all, our goal was mainly to complete the race!) The gun went off… and the race had begun!!
We ran at a steady, casual pace and before long,we reached the 10km mark… things were going well! The sun was shining, the cool crisp air was refreshing… and man did it ever feel great being out there! (I feel I must mention at this point, that the longest I had ever run prior to this race was 8km…)
So… we continued on… 12km… 14km… 18km… and finally we reached 22km – at this point I recall my friend commenting that this was the farthest she had ever run!! (I didn’t feel it necessary to mention that I had surpassed my longest run an hour ago!)… something else happened at this point – my music died. Not a biggie if you are used to running without tunes (and sometimes I do!) however this lack of music was certainly not helping to increase my motivation! The sun had disappeared… the air had gotten quite cold… the hills started… (so many hills!!!) ….. I have to admit – THIS is the point where the REAL struggle began. My body started to ache… my knee was throbbing… I truly feel that if it weren’t for my friend running alongside me, I am not sure if I would have made it!
This point in running… this is where the REAL commitment comes in – How committed am I to finishing this race? What can I TRULY accomplish? How badly do I want this?
The last 10km was a real struggle. I remember as we got to the final 5km, and we finally reached the point where we saw the Grim Reaper (which I felt was rather fitting as it matched how I was feeling!!) – I remember a sense of overwhelming relief set in! … ALMOST THERE … I pushed on for those final few km’s (“I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…”)
As we made our way into the stadium, and finally reached across that finish line, a strange combination of happiness, tears, joy, and relief came over me – it is an AMAZING feeling that is difficult to explain! An overload of emotions – a sense of achievement, accomplishment and satisfaction – I DID IT!!!!!
That right there -that feeling when you finally cross the finish line – that makes it all worth it in the end 🙂
So this date marked the FIRST 30km run for me… I learned a lot from that experience. I learned that it actually is beneficial to train properly for all kinds of reasons (especially to avoid injury!! Did I mention I was limping for several days after the run?!!) and I learned a lot about myself in the process.
For a FIRST – it was an amazing experience and I am so grateful that I was able to share it with such a great friend.