The race has been organized by FMCT club members for 10 years now and obviously I know a lot about it for being a member myself. I think it's a great initiative that has brought to our city people from all over the Toronto area and gives an opportunity to many Peel schools to measure themselves against each other. Its proceeds go towards a great charity called "Sky's the Limit", which provides laptops to children in need. My boys both raced it last year, but only my youngest decided to come back this year. Must have had something to do with the fact that there were finisher medals for everyone for its 10th anniversary. ;-)
Given that I raced my heart out at Yonge St. 10K a few weeks ago, I decided to go into this race with no expectations whatsoever and pace my son instead of going for a PR. This was also going to give Zin the opportunity to go for his own 5k record, since he'd never officially raced this distance before. We woke up leisurely at 7am and had a nice breakfast, then drove the short distance to Professor's Lake. I was on a schedule: do the race, then drive back home and run 11km more as coach's plan called for 16km that day, with 8km in the middle at 1/2 marathon pace.
Shortly after 9am the gun went off and we, too, started our little loop around the lake. The first 1.5k are mostly downhill and I think that I started my son a bit too quickly. Talk about pacing #fail. He needed to run at 6min/km, but my Garmin kept on jumping between 5:30 and 6:30 and I assumed that we were averaging 6min/km, when in fact we were actually closer to 5:30min/km. I kept on asking my son how he was doing though and he said just fine, so I didn't worry that much. Only that after 2km, when we hit the first uphill, he got a side stitch and we had to start walking...The next 1-2km were a bit of a struggle to make the pain go away - I shared all the tips I knew - change breathing pattern, hit ground with opposite foot on exhaling, push on the area with the fingers and eventually, walk and practice deep breathing. Eventually, around km 4, the stitch went away and we started picking up the pace again.
It was really such a beautiful day, that hurrying up to finish was almost a pity. Despite the temporary pain, we were definitely enjoying ourselves. Once we got on the final stretch along the lake, we started preparing ourselves for THE photo. Seeing Sue Sitki and her camera just as we go around the last corner before the Finish chute is always a treat. Not only she is a great race photographer (and cake maker!!), but as a photographer myself, I knew that the weather conditions were going to make for beautiful pics. Plus, this year, she made them all free! Here they are:
Zin was pushing hard in the last 100m, while my son and I were changing gears towards the finish. All schuss from there! We finished a bit over 33min, while Zin's time was 20min and change. He finished second in his age group, while I finished third, despite running my slowest 5k race, ever. Now that was a surprise. Where were all 35-39 year old women that day? I dunno, but I'll take it.
And that's it, folks! Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Took my son back home as planned while Zin stayed to collect his medal. Then I went out to run the remaining 11k with my friend Wendy who came to keep me company. It was such a wonderful day, I wish it stayed like that forever.
One thing for sure, we'll run this race again next year!