Back in February, I announced that I would be running the Toronto Yonge Street 10k. I had a butt-kicking training plan and a whole lot of
excitement anxiety over how I would manage to run 10 kilometers. Like with my 5k race, I established 2 goals.
- Don’t stop running. EVER. (Sound familiar?) I was quite confident that stopping or walking at any point of the 10k would make it impossible to meet Goal #2 or more to the point, finish it at all.
- Finish the 10k in under 1 hour and 10 minutes. This meant an average goal pace of 6:50 (about 10 seconds better per kilometer than my 5k pace).
The Day Before
- Attended a 60 minute Flow class at Moksha Downtown to loosen my hips and rev up my mental endurance.
- Headed to David’s Tea to ensure I had my favourite OOLONG tea for race day morning.
- Picked up my Race Kit and along with it a 10oz palm holder water bottle.
- Made a last minute stop at Lululemon to purchase these tights for what was sure to be a COLD race day.
- Organized my playlist including some new tunes like Valerie and Moves Like Jagger.
- Got the rest of my gear together, charged my iPhone and confirmed my ride for Sunday morning.
- Ate a carb-rich dinner and was in bed by 11pm.
- Got up at 5:45am and started to HYDRATE.
- Warmed up my legs and hips with some stretches.
- Breakfast was a combo of protein-rich Yves veggie breakfast links, an English muffin with peanut butter and a Strawberry-Banana smoothie. And some oolong tea. Plus water.
- About an hour before the race, I drank more water and just relaxed.
- I got into “running mode” a little bit early once I arrived at the start line. I though I was in the right corral but I was so in the zone that I ended up being in the corral behind the one I signed up for. Oops.
GOAL #1: Like with last time, I met my first goal. I didn’t stop or walk once during the entire 10k. Even when my knees started to get painfully impatient with me in the last kilometer. I did pick up speed during the down hill segments of the route and slowed down a bit when I needed to.
GOAL #2: Despite mistakenly starting in the last corral, I completed my race in 1 hr 06 minutes – meeting my under 1 hr 10 minute goal. I did spend the first 5 minutes of the race zig zagging through the crowd to get ahead so I am certain that I can improve on that in the future. The best feeling was realizing that I essentially exactly doubled the time I achieved during the 5k.
I can’t say if there is a universal secret to running long-distances but I know what realization worked for me: training my mind. I have discovered – purely through trial and error – that if I train my brain to “keep moving” despite muscle fatigue, boredom, anticipation, etc… then my body will do just that.
The last 2 kilometers were the toughest for me. I knew the end was near but where the heck was that finish line! At around the 1000 meter mark I got a painful sensation shooting through my left knee and I was beginning to lose focus. I saw one runner who was likely experiencing something similar. Her knee locked up and she was running with a limp. But she kept going. And so did I.
I turned my mind to something positive. In my head, I started dictating this blog post and how I would write about my own personal triumph. I was entirely determined to make it true. Eventually I saw the finish line and happily “bolted” toward it.
Running a 10k race with 7000 people of all ages, sizes, shapes and athletic abilities has cemented in my own mind what I have always believed: ANYONE can do it!
I want to say a big thanks to my husband for his amazing support leading up to and on race day AND to my knees for sticking it out!