Monday, April 29, 2013

2013 Run4Hope 5K Race Report

I ran a 5K once. It was my first ever race, in May of 2010, a women's only race in Toronto where I finished in 32:31, with a heart ready to explode, but a feeling of accomplishment like no other. My journey back to a happy and healthy self had only started. I wanted more, I needed longer runs, to go farther inside my head, harder on my legs. The same year also I ran a 10K, then another, and culminated the year with my first half marathon. I never looked back, but three years later, after accomplishing most of what I had in mind, including conquering the marathon distance, I felt like running for fun.

I came acquainted with the Run4Hope at last year's FMCT gala, a low key annual dinner organized by my triathlon club, the Fletcher's Meadow Cross Trainers, who also happen to be the organizers of this great event, benefiting local charities, such as Sky's The Limit. I signed up with my husband as soon as the registration opened because I wanted to support the charity, to give back to the community and at the same time, be part of a very special day for FMCT. It didn't take long for my sons to ask me to register them as well because running in a local 5K.. why not afterall? That's what beep tests are for! No further training required, but of course, it's just a 5K, mom! I said, ok... you guys know better. But I didn't. I had no clue what I was going to do. Twitter didn't help either as nobody chimed in. Where are my 5 readers when I need them?
I was on my own, so I went to my older son to ask him. Do you want me to pace you tomorrow? I may or may not have believed that he was going to die or at least lose his breakfast in the lake. A beep test for training? Oh pleeeaaase. The answer came back a firm no. Older son wants to run alone, he can pace himself. At least he was making it easier for me to decide. Alright then, next! Younger fella said that he didn't care or mind if we ran with him. Now, that was a bit more complicated, but thankfully husband declared that he was going to pace him, so that was it then. I was going to see how much it would hurt, my definition of running for fun, I guess.

On Saturday we went to the Running Room to pick up our race kits, they were out of tshirts. I was told we were going to get them in about 2 weeks. I could care less, really, all I wanted was my bib with the chip in it. It looks like with the increased participation of high school students, the race attendance exploded this year, with over 400 participants overall, four times more than when it first started a few years ago. Knowing the race course pretty well, I was afraid that it may get crowded, but a separate start for the 10K participants and the 5K, took care of that. Great decision by the FMCT folks, and a good step forward from the last year's mass start.

On Sunday morning, given that we only had a 5 minutes drive to the start, we had the luxury of "sleeping in". Got up at 7am, showered, got dressed, then my husband made pancakes, which we devoured. We left the house shortly after 8:30am, with zero stress. What a difference a race in your backyard makes! We parked in a nearby plaza to give ourselves some "warm up" distance, then we jogged to Professor's Lake and we still had 15-20min to spare. I was looking for Anabela, but I couldn't find her. I caught up for a bit with Anya, a friend from FMCT who was running the 10K, then we made our way to the starting line. The 10K runners left, then it was us 5 minutes later.

The first 2K were pretty tough as I was settling in this pace that was the most aggressive in my running history. I dialed down a bit after seeing something close to the 4:30min/km on my watch, I knew that was not going to happen, but I was aiming for under 5:15min/km. The first km split came in at 5:00min/km, and that felt good. I told myself that I was going to take advantage of the downhills and those ended up coming just at the right times for me to catch up a quick break then keep going strong.

I saw my coach just as I reached km 2 and not only I wasn't expecting to see him there, but it gave me the mental boost that I needed to never doubt myself that day. Checked my form, checked my pace, then started passing people one by one.
Most of them must have been doing the 10K, but the fact that I felt capable of running faster than so many of them, helped keeping my adrenaline levels high and the pain away. The third km seemed to be right around the corner as I was now running close to the lake and enjoying the scenery. I didn't take in anything to eat or drink, there was nothing that was going to slow me down. The last 2km were the home stretch, I knew every inch of pavement by heart, so I pushed hard, I didn't look at my heart rate at all, I knew it was going to be over soon. Speaking of heart rate, at km 4, my HRM strap came undone, I felt it moving so slightly, but it stayed in place well enough not to take my concentration away. Just before the finish chute I saw Sue the photographer and gave her the thumbs up, I was really happy to be able to run just as I planned.
Approaching the chute
I've got this!
Less than a minute later after the last photo above, I was crossing the finish line. I looked at my watch: 25:09, beat my 3yr old PR by 7 minutes, I'll take it!!

As I stayed at the finish waiting for the boys, saw Anabela and her daughter coming in just 2 minutes later (speedy mice these two!) and managed to talk to them just for a few more minutes until my younger son and hubbs arrived.
The boys are in good company. Nice view there, I bet!
Zin doing the airplane. Must be a soccer player thing.
Looking good!

Then my older son followed, and we could finally sit down, eat a banana and relax. After a little while they displayed the results and as I was going to check, I see Anabela coming to tell me, you came in second!! You're gonna get a medal! I went, whaaaaaat??? Are you kidding me? I first saw the number 7, which was the female rank overall, then looked again and saw 2 in my age group  (Official chip time 25:06, 2/36 in 30-39 AG, 7th female, 30/216 overall). I'll be damned, I told myself, there are not enough people in this race! That also means we need stay until the end. And eat more food. I was pretty ecstatic for a while afterwards. Saw my coach, told him the news as well, he said that's pretty remarkable without much speed training. I wonder what he meant by that... All I did this past week was putting speed in my workouts! He must have some other, darker ideas for my training in his head that I may not want to know right now.
The awards ceremony went by pretty quickly, then we made our way back home where we continued on with the day like any other Sunday. In the end, it did feel a bit short of a running day, but it was definitely filled with emotion! I really loved this race. It was so well organized and even though it suffered a bit from its increased popularity, the overall experience was certainly worth the $25 ($20 for the kids) spent. The course was safe and well marked, there were 2 water stations (km 2/4), they give you a technical tshirt and great food post race (bananas, soup, bagels, cookies, water and more), a timing chip and professional photography. The only thing missing were the finisher's medals, but I heard that next year for the 10th anniversary of the race, there will be medals for everyone!!

I will be participating again for sure, so close to home, be it running or volunteering, I will be there! Thanks again to the Falcons for a well put together race and for helping the kids in need! I bet it helped my kids fall in love with running a little bit more too.
FMCT organizers at the 9th annual Run4Hope Charity Race event. Photo by Sky's The Limit.


  1. You are a rock star! 7 minutes??? Holy hannah banana

  2. Amazing work out there and congrats to you! Look at you sweeping through those awards! Awesome!

  3. Congrats again! Terrific job! My son used the beep test as his training for the 10K that we did last weekend. Silly teenage boys!