I did it! This morning I ran the 5k run in the Toronto Marathon and I completed the course in a personal best 34 minutes and 7 seconds. I set a goal and I achieved it. It went something like this;
Just under 2 years ago I herniated a disc in my back and I remember asking my physiotherapist if I would one day be able to tie my shoes on my own. She said I would be able to do that and more. It was at that time when I decided to try something I had never done but always thought about doing – jogging. I remember those days when a 15 “run” was problematic – I was overheated after, my muscles tight, but I remember feeling great the next day. After increasing my run to 20 minutes I decided to set a goal and run in the Toronto Marathon, and I remember the saleswoman at the Running Room telling me that if I out my mind to it, I could run a half marathon. Well at that time, I was brutally unhappy in my job and trying to find cosistancy in my life – specifally with my kids, my running and my marriage. I figured having completed my MBA, I could make this happen. I got up to 3 times a week and one day, feeling great, I ran for 50 minutes and that was it. 30 minute runs became the norm and every now and then I would shoot up around the 50-55 minute mark, once or twice eclipsing one hour. For the month leading up to the race, I changed jobs, got sick and had a ton of Jewish holidays which required me to do anything but running. I started playing ball-hockey and found the sprinting done there, messes up my running – but I would figure that out.
So this morning I dragged my family up and out of the house at 7:30am in 1 degree celcius weather to drive down to the starting of the race. I had eaten a nutrition bar and a bottle of OJ. I stretched, pee’d and took in the sites as the just over 2500 participants started to get into position to race. I was surprised at home many of them were in shape – skinny – with their trendy racing gear… Me? dry-fit running shirt and shorts with my dry-fit underwear hanging below my shorts. To keep warm, I had attached my running bib to a long-sleeved cotton shirt that my Dad liked because it had a penguin on it and he loved penguins. My Dad passed away 6 years ago before myy kids we born. I saw a ton of people running for loved ones who were ill or had passed away, and I felt this I needed to do this in my Dad’s honour.
The race started – the announcer called us all “athletes” and off we went. I was towards the end of the pack when we left and got off to a decent start but as we left Queen’s Park Circle and started heading down towards the Lake I started getting passed left right and centre by all kinds of runners – young (5yrs old), old, fat, thin… I started to think that I was going to finish last, even at my faster than normal pace. As I approached the 1/4 point I noticed a running blazing his way back on the other side, clearly on his way to complete the race (he did, in around 20 minutes). I kept my pace downhill, looking at all the people ahead of me and the runners already on their way up, but I knew I was going to finish this race. Once we turned and headed back towards the finish I realized that if the first half of the course was downhill, that meant the rest of the course was uphill. As I have been pushing myself for the past few months to run harder, faster and smarter, I had no problems with the second half of the course, actually made better time, and passed a whole bunch of people who were going slowly or had stopped as a result of the incline.
I entered Queen’s Park Circle and the race to the finish seemed to last forever. It wasn’t until I passed the halfway mark of the circle when my overdrive kicked in and I began to boot it. I got into the stretch run, took off my Ipod and then saw my wife, then kids cheering me on. I smiled and waved, then put my head down and zoomed past the finish line. 34 minutes and 7 seconds, unofficially. That is a good 10 minutes better than my best time – not that I have ever timed myself but if it took me one hour to run 7.25K and half an hour gets me around 4K, then it only makes sense that 5K would take me around 45 minutes… but not today.
After the race I met up with UrbanMummy and the kids and I got free bagels, gatorade, a medal for finishing (woo hoo) chapstick, oranges, bananas, there was coffee, chocolate milk and so much more.
We came home, I took the kids to the park, then off to swimming. We met my in-laws for dinner, picked up our nanny from her weekend abode, then home to shower and bed.