I did it!
I ran the entire 10k (even through water stations) and finished in 1h3m5s!!!!
I am SO happy and proud and CAN NOT BELIEVE it!!!!
I went to bed at midnight on Friday after my baseball banquet and had a good sleep. I woke at 6:00am and quickly went to drink some water and eat some toast with peanut butter and a banana.
When I went back upstairs to get changed, I discovered that my favorite (of two) sports bra was in the wash.
I wore it anyway.
Because the temperature was stated as -1 when I went to get dressed, I decided to wear my race shirt (I've always raced wearing the shirt I've received in the kit) with my long-sleeved Nike golf pull-over I got at this years Globe and Mail golf tourney. I also wore my capri pants as they are my most comfortable pants. I decided that I'd check my bag (and extra layers) at the last minute once I got to the zoo.
I got on the road after a Tim Horton's stop for a medium coffee and made my way to the zoo. While driving, I came up with a plan to see how I felt after 4km and 8km and walk if I needed to.
I got to the zoo and was directed to park. I was really close to the entrance (where the bag check and chip pick up was) so I got my chip and lined up for the bathroom by the mono-rail. I had to pee.
After standing in the line for 10 mins and observing that there was a line up for the men's washroom (my plan was to just pee in the men's room), I begged a mother with a screaming, poopy child to let me bud before her and use the family washroom, least I pee my pants right then and there. Bless her heart, she totally let me through.
After that I stripped off my outer two layers and checked my bag. It was cold. Bright, but cold. I walked through the corrals and back to the bag check just to keep warm(ish). At about 12 mins to the gun time, I lined up again for the washrooms and chatted with a few people. I kept hearing that the course was tough with a lot of hills.
I made it through the port-o-pottys and back to my corral about a minute before the gun went off. It was great timing! I was in the +1hr corral (or really, F**king slow) and I saw two ladies, one dressed as the Road Runner (complete with "Beep Beep!" sign) and the other as Wile E Coyote and a few other runners with animal ears or leopard suits on. The mood was fun. Of course, being at the back with my ear buds in, I couldn't hear a thing, but we surged forward and the race had begun.
It was a very crowded, slow start which suited me fine. I actually had to walk for a bit to fix my iPod right after we crossed the start line. I eventually sorted it out (I put my iPod in my water belt pocket instead of in the arm band and it was much more comfortable), and began to run enjoying the scenery of the other runners and the views.
1k and 2k, passed quickly. I completely missed 3k. I got to 4k and had no thoughts of stopping. There was a water stop somewhere around here and I actually jogged through it! I was amazed! I saw zebras and elephants and it seemed that every animal I saw was a reward for climbing a hill and after sighting them, I was headed down hill. I was feeling GREAT. I got to 5k and checked my trusty second-hand watch (I've really got to sort something out in that department) and it was 9:35am. Okay. I felt good, I was warm, but not hot and I had no problem running. Onward for the last half.
Just after the 5k mark, I saw a man walking and told him, "Over half way there!" He said he was much better trained last year and then muttered something about a big hill. I wished him luck and quickly discovered what he meant by the big hill.
We were headed to and through the Africa pavilion and to get there, we had to climb hill after hill and a (short) set of stairs. It was all wooden planks, but I dug (literally, I was pretty much squatting) hard and ran everything, minus the stairs. I ran through another two water station somewhere along the lines, rocking out to "Rapunzel" live by Dave Matthews Band (seriously, people must have thought I was crazy). I saw the 7k marker and while I had no intention of stopping or walking, I began to mentally cheer myself to the finish line.
By this time I had picked up an older, taller gentleman and we kept each other in sight as we made turns and followed the path of the race. It was great to have someone to run with even if we never made eye contact. I got mixed up and thought I was heading to the 9k mark, but when 8k came up, I was fine. I just pushed onward. When I saw the 9k marker I knew I had the race in the bag. I knew I was going to run the entire thing and I knew I'd cross the line listening to "Born to Run" (the thought of which made me smile with glee).
9-10k were great. The crowds were thickening, I could hear the announcer, Springsteen was rocking in my ears and most importantly, I was doing it! I was finishing a 10k race! The only complaint I have is that the finish came up very quickly. I could have sprinted to the line, but I didn't notice it until I was upon it and so I crossed in the same even pace hearing my name (for the first time ever) and pumping my fists, yelling, "YES!" as I saw the gun time turn to 1h5m2s (you'll recall my goal of 1h10m). Once across the finish line things were packed and I missed the food, but made my way through, got some poweraid, picked up my bag and headed to my car, ecstatic with the race I had just run, already planning for the next one.
It was without a doubt, the best of the four races I've ever run.
I have pure understanding of why this sport is so addictive now.
Can't wait for the next one.