Yesterday was the Cedar 12k race and we lucked out for another nice day for a run. It was misting a little but it was kind of refreshing or so I found.
While I was getting ready for the run I found myself shaking a bit. Not sure why but I seemed to have been more nervous than I usually am for race day. My plan was to leave the house around 9:15am and just as I was getting ready I got a message from Gwen asking if I wanted to carpool with her and Daniel? I was all for it because they were going to stay for the awards and prizes and it meant that I could be distracted a little and not think so much about the run on the way there.
We arrived about a half hour before the race and Daniel and I headed to get our numbers and get warmed up. I ran into Amanda, Ryder and Jeff and chatted with them a bit. It was good to see familiar faces and hear their words of encouragement. My other two girls, Emily and Kate weren’t running in the race so it would be Amanda’s smiling face that I would see rooting for me on the way back to the finish line. I like that and it is something I look forward to while running.
I head to the start line and get myself ready to go. My Garmin watch is set with 53:09, my time from last year to beat and I have my new playlist ready to motivate me. I see other familiar faces at the start and I like how I am getting to know more people this year as the season goes on. Rich and Mae are close by, two people who I typically see while I run and know that if I am close to them than I am doing pretty good pace wise. We are counted down and away we go. I feel good and the first little hill comes up. Elbows back and on my toes to push myself up the hill. Check…that one is done. Now how many more?
As we start out we are packed together but by the first kilometer or two we start to spread out. I start to see other familiar runners who I ran near for the Cobble Hill 10k race. As I am running along a girl and I are playing ‘cat and mouse’ and I was hoping she and I wouldn’t be running that way for the next 10k. It can be distracting or so I find. It felt like she was competing with me really soon into the run and I decided I would run my run and if she kept up with what she was doing she would probably soon tire. Sure enough that was what happened. I took her on a hill and she was done. I continued on and wanted to be at the 6k mark by 25 minutes if not a bit before and I was on track. I only had 25 minutes more left of running or there abouts…if I was lucky.
As I turned the pylon to start to head back towards the finish, I started passing runners who had started out early because they would possibly take longer to run or walk the race. As I went by them I would tell them good job and keep going. Some would say thank you and even if they didn’t say anything that was all good by me. I was running it forward like had been done for me in the Cobble Hill 10k. I know that words of encouragement when I see Amanda or the other girls help me, so I wanted to do the same. I also found that me speaking positive things to them made me want to run. It was a win win situation.
As I ran along I saw Daniel and gave him words of encouragement. As we rounded the corner to the hill on the way back I thought back to last year when I ran past the cyclist who was going up the hill at the same time as me. He was out there to make sure we didn’t cross the center line. I then met Rich, who helped me out before to get me to the finish and I tried to encourage him up the hill. I couldn’t look back to see if he was with me but had to just keep going.
We were getting closer to the end, only a few more kilometers left. I looked at my watch and my time was good. I was on track to beat last years race time. The last part of the race is ran on a bit of trail and then grass. It is not the best way to end a race because your legs are already tired enough and with the ground being uneven sprinting can be hard. Or so I find. But I made it to the end and was very happy. I finished in 52:33, came 7th in my age group and had beat last years time. I was a happy girl.
What was different about this race this year? Was it my new race flats I have been wearing this year? Was it giving words of motivation to others and getting those words back? Was it my nerves? Whatever it was I will take it and hope for a repeat of the same feeling when I run the Hatley 8k race on February 24. Maybe I was in the zone of ‘Flow’ as I read in this blog post the morning of the race?
What gets you through a race? Have you ever had ‘flow’?