Just 3 days after Whitby Half, it was time to race again at the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics on Wednesday evening. It was at our local park which gave us the perfect opportunity to run there and back (3.5K) for a warm-up and cool-down. Mark and Andy ran the 5K while I decided to do the 10, and we met up with a couple of our fellow Road Runners too!
I knew I shouldn’t race all out so soon after the half, but I thought a tempo/LT effort would give me a good workout without overdoing it. I made the mistake of not going close enough to the front, so I spent the first several hundred metres trying to weave through people on the path before finding some space. Finally I could settle in!
The lead female wasn’t too far ahead but I tried not to get caught up in racing (yet) and focused on keeping my own pace under control. The 5K had started just after us so Andy soon came flying past me with a huge lead! It seemed like a full minute before anyone else ran by. I soon heard familiar steps and looked back to see Mark gaining on me as well just before the first turn-around.
The 5K was an out and back with the 10K running it twice, so we were soon headed back toward the finish line. I remembered feeling completely spent already at this point last year, at a much slower pace, so I felt pretty good about that as I chugged along feeling strong. It was awesome to see friends Scott and Parastou and exchange some encouragement along the way back.
As we neared the next turn-around (being the half way point and also the finish line) I could tell that I was steadily gaining on the lead female. I got some huge cheers from my crew along that stretch and picked up the pace just enough to pass her as we made the hairpin turn.
4:36, 4:38, 4:38, 4:36, 4:30
The race took on a whole new feeling and meaning for me in the second half, knowing I was in the lead. I had no sense of how far #2791 was behind me and I had to constantly resist the urge to look over my shoulder. I knew that looking back would do nothing for my own race, so I kept eyes ahead and focused on staying strong. A few times I asked myself if I had enough in the tank to pick it up if she caught me again, and I was pretty confident that I did.
It was such a cool feeling being in 1st place and I soaked up the extra special cheers (“First female!” Go girl!”) from spectators, volunteers and other runners. Remembering the frustration of being unable to close the gap at Whitby only fueled my fire not to let this go. Finally in the last kilometre I allowed myself to peak over my shoulder, just a quick glance, and there was nobody in sight. Holy crap, I was going to win! I knew my team would be waiting anxiously and it felt so good to make the final turn and see them going nuts!
4:35, 4:38, 4:41, 4:33, 3:38 [820m – short course | 4:27 pace]
45:08 (9.82 KM)