I came. I ran. I rejoiced! The Times Colonist 10K happened on Sunday in Victoria and I ran my little heart out. This was the moment that I’d been waiting – and training – for.
Let’s start at the beginning.
It was a beautiful morning and we headed downtown about 7am. My husband came along to cheer me on (yay, hubby!) and we met my training clinic group in front of the legislature. We were all ready and excited. For some of us – me included – this was our first race and we were pumped.
We took in one last pitstop (read, bathroom break) and then walked towards the start line in Beacon Hill Park. I quickly lost the rest of the group in the crowds but stayed with hubby and one other friend from the group. We waited, keeping our bodies moving, for the race to start, as music and the announcer’s voice pumped out across the loudspeakers. We were part of the horde and it felt good.
The wheelchair racers started first. We counted them down but of course couldn’t see a thing as we were waaay back in the 60 minutes + section. They were off! As part of the crowd, we cheered them on.
Then it was time for the other racers, including us, to start. Thirty seconds to go, twenty seconds to go, ten seconds to go, five, four, three, two, one, go racers!
We just stood there.
Yes, there were so many of us – 8500 of us of the 10,049 that registered – that it took several minutes before we actually were able to start moving. I looked back across the crowd at my husband – now standing on the sidelines – with a funny look. The race had started, but we weren’t going anywhere yet! Wait a minute – suddenly the crowd surged forward. We were off!
No we weren’t. We had moved three feet and then stopped again. Oh, the hilarious frustration! Let me run, get out of my way, I wanted to shout! All we could do was laugh.
Eventually we got going, walking towards the start line. Thank goodness for modern day timing chip technology – it was probably seven minutes after the gun went off before we got to the start line! Our chips started timing as we crossed it, and by then we had broken into a run.
It was then that I experienced just what I had heard other runners talk about, the jockeying for running position just after the race starts. There were so many of us running at all different levels that it probably took 15 minutes for the crowd to thin out. I ran past some people and some people ran past me. I ducked and I dodged but I kept running!
Although I had trained to 10:1 (ten minutes running, then one minute walking), I kept running and running until I felt I had to stop. I looked at my watch when I took that first break – it was 29:33! I had made it quite a ways before I needed a minute walk-break. I think it was the hill ahead that forced me to stop and catch my breath a little so I could tackle it! The wind buffeted us after we made the turn at Ross Bay Cemetery and pushed against us as we ran. But I ran and I ran and I ran.
The small pockets of crowds on the sidelines were great. They called out to us and cheered us on. Someone even called my name in a motivating cheer (we had our names printed on our race bibs) which was fantastic! The bands along the way plied us with their music and kept us going. I looked at people’s t-shirts and the groups that had chosen to come out together from companies and associations. At one point going down a down-slope I noticed the throng of people ahead of me and marvelled at the sheer numbers of us. Now THAT was a crowd!
And did I mention that we live in the most beautiful city in Canada? We ran along Dallas Road with full view of the ocean and mountains in the distance. If you’ve been here you know what I mean. Talk about taking your mind off of running! I am so lucky to live in this wonderful place. I think that a few other people think so too.
But back to the race. At 8K the crowds were saying, “Not far now!” and “You can do it!” and I knew that I could. The onlookers thickened as we got near the end and finally the finish line was in sight. I poured out my final bits of energy and ran hard, my strides gaining length and speed. I heard someone call my name on my left in another cheer. Did I know that person? Who cares! Someone was cheering for ME! Trying to look up at the camera for a glorious finish-line photo, I smiled to look my best, and I was there. The race was over.
I heard a man’s voice on the right call my name – “Beth! Beth!” and I looked over to find my husband poised with his camera. I smiled widely for that post-race victory photo. I had done it! I had even shaved off several minutes from my best time and had finished with a 62:48. Whoo hoo! Needless to say, it felt good.
After getting my timing chip clipped off I joined my husband for a victory kiss. Then to the food tents to pick up some post-race snacks for the ride home. Exhilarated by the morning’s events (and it was still only 9:20 in the morning), we headed back to the car. It was over.
Here’s my post-race shot. So, hmm, when’s the next race? I’m hooked!