I woke up at 615am, before my alarm at 630am on Sunday morning. I got showered, dressed, picked up Starbucks and headed to meet my colleague Mike (my awesome cheerleader & supporter!) to drive up to the starting point. It was freezing this morning I must add. Did I mention I forgot my headphones for my Ipod on my bookshelf? Let’s just thank Mike and give him a fantastic shout out for lending me his, shall we?
We arrived with plenty of time. We hung out at Second Cup, met our other coworkers running the race and headed out to our respective corrals (me=purple) and waited for the staggered start. First was the very fast, then the little less fast, then a little less fast than that and then us in purple. At 9:09 the purple started. I was consistent in walking and running. I must say, I ran more than I have today than I have in the past 8 weeks that I have started this new healthier lifestyle.
The course was right down Yonge Street from north of Eglinton. I realized that I have a lot of memories in this city so as I walked / ran down the course it was a walk / run down memory lane. I had an apartment at Yonge & Eglinton, I had an amazing Dr. at Yonge and Davisville and when I first moved to Toronto I lived at Yonge & Wood Street. I passed the Starbucks I met my mother for the first time at Yonge & College 13 years ago. See? Many memories. I was amazed by the kindness of strangers who were out cheering the runners / walkers as
they we passed. I listened to Jay Z, Kanye, Dr. Dre and others to keep me going. Not even one, I repeat, one Mariah Carey song. I know, shocking right?
I reached the 4km mark and felt that it wasn’t that horrible. I wasn’t dying or anything! I was impressed and proud of the progress I had made. As I passed the 7km mark (the only reason I know that it was 4km & 7km because I knew ahead of time where the water / Gatorade stations were), I turned the corner on Richmond and a woman police officer extended her hand to give me a high-five. That moment almost took my breath away, in fact brings tears to my eyes as I write this. I think the genuine kindness of strangers is what got me most. They didn’t have to be there, but they were. The volunteers that made it happen. The people who clapped for us as we passed. As I approached John Street there were a bunch of young people holding signs, one said “Looks like you’ve got stamina, call me”, another one that said something like “You’re feet may hurt but you’re doing great, keep going!!”. Together, these random acts of kindness made me push harder when I felt I had nothing left. I was thankful for them, the others that were running and trust me, I was feeling the burn and I ran faster and harder in those 10km than I have in the past 8 weeks.
Once I hit Front & Bathurst for the final stretch of the course, I changed the song to “One Moment In Time” by Whitney. Oh yes, I went there. I felt it was the perfect song to cross the finish line, you know for my first ever 10km. I turned onto Fort York and the 9.6km behind me was only a distant, painful memory. I was so close! The music, the moment, the pain my body was feeling, all brought tears to well up in my eyes as I used every ounce of energy I had left to get to the finish. I was so overwhelmed with what I was actually about to accomplish, my heart rate increased and I pushed harder. There it was, the finish line with a huge clock that read 1:32 and time was ticking. Those are the only numbers that I saw, 1:32 and I pushed myself to make it under 1:33. Patrick Roy. I saw my colleague cheering me on from the side and ran over to him to give him a high-five right before I crossed that finish line….under Patrick Roy.
I honestly can’t believe that I did it, but I never thought I could. I realized soon afterward that I handled this race similarily to other challenges in my life that I thought I may not get through: I worked hard and pushed myself as hard as I could through the pain, angst and when I felt I couldn’t go anymore. In the end? I made it to the other side. Running a race is a great metaphor for life, isn’t it? That is why you see it on all those inspirational posters I guess.
What didn’t make sense to me is that I worked so hard, running more than walking and yet my time was 1:32. I figured that when I walk and do a bit of running when I do 5km, it is between 48 and 51 minutes right now. Which means I would have finished the race no later than 1 hour and 42 minutes. I beat my time by only 10 minutes and I thought I worked harder than that, but I was still happy with my results….a. I didn’t finish last and b. I finished – so all is good in the world.
I went for a celebratory brunch with my fabulous cheering section and had a grilled cheese sandwich and my first order of sweet potato fries in 2 months. Needless to say, I felt sick afterwards and do not feel the need to have them again for a very long time. I received so many messages from friends, colleagues all congratulating me on a job well done. I was told by some how inspirational they felt I was…including people I would never expect. I was grateful. One even told me that they are entering their own 10km because of what I did on Sunday. Astounding.
Pictures are a bit small, but you get the point!
My Very Own Cheering Section! (Ignore my bad hair)
On Monday, it was brought to my attention I should be looking at my Chip time, not my clock time. I pulled up my results and lo and behold: 1:22:42.7. See? I worked my ass off and that time reflects that…..yay me and yay to chip time! I sure wish it meant potato chip time, Doritos Cool Ranch if we are being technical.
One thing off of my bucket list. I really never thought that 8.5 weeks ago that I would see myself run in a 10km race, but I also didn’t think 8.5 weeks ago that I would have lost 19.5lbs at this point…but I am happy to say I have done both! At this point, today, I am almost a 1/3 of the way to my weight loss goal of 65lbs. Who would have thunk it?
Thank you again to everyone who donated to my cause, Virgin Unite and believed in me. Just so you are aware I reached $575 of my $500 goal because of you. Last, but certainly not least, my fabulous girlfriend made me a trophy. Yes, that is correct….a trophy! The ceremony was held in a parking lot in Bloor West Village and it was magnificent. I have never received a trophy before so I will let it speak for itself…although if she was able to speak she would say “Heading over to Jilly’s see you soon!).
So now that the race and celebrations are complete, I need to figure out where I will run now that I can stand and sit without immense pain for the first time since Sunday. No Pain No Gain, right? Right!
Blog Soon, PFF