My secret to running

Earlier today...start line.

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.

GOALS

  1. 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.
  2. 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).

PRE-RACE

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.

Race Day

  • 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.

Medal

THE RESULT

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.

THE SECRET

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!

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2 thoughts on “My secret to running

  1. Congratulations! I started running last year and I agree… training your mind is by far the hardest part. Good luck as you continue your running adventures.

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