On Saturday, August 23rd I competed in my first Toronto Women’s Run, which also happened to be my very first 10K race. I had originally planned to do the 8K Women’s Run in October, but I reassessed my goals for the season and changed to training for a Half Marathon instead. So, this 10K fit nicely into my Summer of Running schedule. Plus, on their website they mention chocolate as an incentive for the race – who can turn down the good stuff!?
Online registration was really easy and race kit pick up was a breeze. The kits are pretty basic (which I’m finding is mostly the way now), but the tech shirt they give you is awesome. The shirt just happened to be pink this year, so it’s nice to add another colour to my workout gear collection.
For those who don’t know, the Toronto Women’s Run Series are all done in the lovely Sunnybrook Park, which is pretty easy to get to and is definitely a nice change from running on city streets. I really enjoyed running on the paths in between the trees and taking in the nice forest smell. The race course was still open to the public, which didn’t cause any issues around me but did make me laugh when we got some strange looks from people who weren’t aware of the race. The course for the 10K was mostly flat with a few small inclines and short bridges to run across. Overall, I really liked the course – maybe I just enjoyed the seclusion of it all compared to a city street race.
On the morning of the race, I got up bright and early and had my usual smoothie for breakfast. This was the first race that my one man cheering squad wasn’t going to be able to attend due to work, so I was a little sad – seriously, who was going to take pictures of me? ;) But I got there nice and early so I would have time for the porta-potty line and bag check. I was greeted by friendly volunteers at every station, which is really nice considering how early they have to get up to be there. I spent my time alone before the race trying to get pumped up, taking in all the sights, and warming up.
The weather was cloudy and cool, but with a bit of humidity. I did not overdress this time! I’m actually pretty proud of myself for this since it’s the first time at a race that I was comfortable in my gear. I even got a few compliments on my running capris, which was nice (especially since just days before I was in the grocery store in a similar outfit and I got so many strange looks!).
Before the race started there was a fun warm up session going on while people were getting into their corrals. I chose the 50 – 60 minute corral, telling myself that I was definitely going to finish within this time period. I was pumping myself up with music and motivation! And then we were off! As I mentioned, I really enjoyed the course and the atmosphere was light and fun. At the time, I didn’t really have a game plan for this race. For my long runs I had been training with 10 and 1s, so I wasn’t sure if I was going to do this during the race – especially after my great 5K time the week before. Somehow I settled in a comfortable pace and ended up running the whole 10K without any walk breaks. Proud of myself isn’t even the word! Trust me, around 8K I was questioning myself and thinking that I should take a break. But, I also thought that I had come this far and that I was going to run the whole rest of the way. And I did! My chip time was 58:02, which I think is awesome for my first 10K race. I had the main goal of coming in under 60 mins, so you can guess that I was pretty happy.
I’ll tell you one thing though… when I was done this race, I was thinking that there was no way I could run 11.1 more KMs. Seriously? I’m doing this? I guess we will see. I have a 15K race next month (RBC Run for the Kids) and that’s going to be a good test. I’m ready, and even excited, to take on this challenge!
At the end of the race, they announced everyone’s name as they crossed the finish line and it felt nice. Definitely made me smile. I then grabbed my medal and water and it was time to check out the small expo they had going on. Post-race food consisted of a baggie filled with small pitas, banana, Awake Chocolate, and chips, which is a nice alternative to just the banana and water. You also had the option to grab some Clif Bar samples or Starbucks coffee and treats for a donation, which I took advantage of after I fueled myself up on the Clif Bars. What? I was hungry… and needed ALL the food. ;) I stuck around for a little while after to cheer on some runners who were still coming in and to take part in some people watching. I love watching all the happy runners after a race who are high on endorphins and getting as many pics as they can. I also listened in on the awards for overall time and categories and found it amazing how well everyone did. Such an fantastic community cheering everyone on, got to love that!
Overall, I really enjoyed this experience and had a great morning. I love how a race can renew the sense of vitality and love that we have for running. Maybe it’s the endorphins, maybe it’s the community, but all I know is that I love being a part of it. Looking forward to my next race! :)
How did your first 10K race go? Did it motivate you to run longer distances?