Some days, no matter how prepared you are, things just don’t go your way. That day was Sunday.
My lead up to the Toronto 10 Miler & 5K (I was doing the 5) had been relatively non eventful. I was injury free, been eating well, getting enough sleep and while I hadn’t been running as much as I would like due to my extreme hatred of humidity I had been doing as much running and cross training that I could do while balancing work, wedding planning and random family obligations.
My support crew of fiance and dog dropped me off near the start and went off to look for parking while I went in search of a porta potty. I’ll save the long story and just say that the search ended in failure. There was a group of six near the start line, but with a line of hundreds of people I made a judgement call to skip the potty to avoid missing the start and just hold it, because it was probably just a nervous pee anyway, that would probably vanish after the start.
Turns out, this was not a nervous pee. And 5km is a very long way to run when you really have to pee. A couple times I thought about taking a little detour into the bushes, but there were very few bushes, and I didn’t really feel like mooning the crowd when it was only a 5km. If I had been doing the 10 miler, I would not have hesitated, but I knew I could last 5km even if it came close killing me. And by the end of the race, I was thoroughly convinced that my bladder was indeed attempting to kill me. And don’t even ask me what my feeling was when I booted over to the first porta potties I saw after the finish only to realise that they were on the back of a flatbed and not useable.
This was not my only problem. It happens to the best of us, but we always hope that it doesn’t happen on race day – the feeling of your legs just being dead. There was no spring in my step or speed in my feet. I was just feeling meh all round, which was disappointing because I kind of felt that I had a 27 in me. Not fast, but faster than I’ve been in a very long while.
It was very obvious early on that this was not going to end well and everything from 1km on was a struggle. The last 2km I was extremely frustrated with myself that my body wasn’t listening to the rest of me telling it to push forward faster (except for when I saw the photographer and convinced myself to run with slightly better form than a shuffle because I don’t need any more terrible race pictures, thank you very much). I wasn’t wearing a watch or iPod or GPS tracking device of any sort, so I had no idea now long I had been running, but I will be honest when I thought it was literally forever. I would not have been surprised in the slightest if it was a 40 minute 5km.
And then I turned the corner toward the finish and got the shock of my life when I saw the clock hadn’t hit 31 minutes yet and gathered a little strength (and put out of my mind how badly I had to pee) and booted it across the finish line – chip time of 29:44. Not close to what I wanted, but considering how I felt on the day, I’ll take it. And it starts with a 2 and not with a 3, so I’m happy. (Checkmark in the ‘no 30 minute 5km’ column for me)
I ended up somehow missing the post race food and getting my medal – about 10 of us were herded around a fence instead of into the athlete area – but thats ok with me because I had my own bagel and banana waiting in the car and I had more important things on my mind. Like finding a place to pee 😉
Now just 2 weeks until the Toronto Women’s 10/5km!