When one of my friends suggested that we run a 5km race as fast as we possibly could (I believe the actual words were “so fast that we are on the verge of vomiting for the entire race”) I thought that sounds like a great idea!!
I’ve run four marathons (Nike x2, Nashville Country Music Marathon, and the Big Five Marathon in South Africa) but have never competed in a distance shorter than 42km. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve wanted to run shorter races. I’ve heard they can be a lot of fun but for one reason or another I’d never actually committed to one.
So this past Saturday I took part in the Salvation Army’s Santa Shuffle held in Stanley Park with approximately 200 – 300 people. It’s a pretty fun race with participants of vastly different age groups and fitness levels. For example, at the start of the race two kids took off neither of whom could have been more than 16 years old. Sticking with the Santa theme, another participant of giver or take 65 years ran the whole race in a Santa suit. Many participants run with antlers and red is definitely the colour of the day.
With patches of ice scattered throughout the race course and the new GirlTalk All Day album pulsating through my iPod my cadence right from the start had me moving pretty quick. I was able to keep pace with the front of the pack sitting in about fourth place until the 3km mark. I let a few people get by me as we made our way around the seawall to leave me in 10th with a kilometre to go.
Despite the cold temperatures I found myself overheating so one kilometre to go I took the sleeves off the Coolest.Jacket.Ever and started determining when to start my finishing kick. With 700m to go and two runners about 100m – 150m ahead of me I thought of Steve Prefontaine’s quote “Something inside of me just said ‘Hey, wait a minute, I want to beat him,’ and I just took off.”
I also had a goal of running my first 5km sub 20′. The frist runner heard me coming with about 500m left and quickened his pace so I pushed mine further. With 200m left I caught the other runner and set my sights on a runner another 75m ahead of me. As I past this third runner with about 15m to go I pleased to look up at the finisher’s clock to see that I’d crossed the finishing line in 7th place with a time of 19:57.