Date: Saturday, September 25, 2010
Location: Downtown Guelph Ontario, population 115,000.
Weather: drizzle turning to partly cloudy, 12°C (54°F)
Scheduled Start Time: 8:45Runner: Andrew Opala
Information: 45, Male
|I lay out my stuff the night |
before so that it's all visible
on the floor of my office.
|I pick up the goody bag and all the|
volunteers seem to be a lot more
nervous than me! (picture taken later)
We arrive race morning at 7:15 a.m. An appropriate iPod Touch playlist of 150 BPM songs has been created and synced to the player.
"3" "2" "1" HOOOORN: It's 8:45 am and the race has started, I nod down to make sure my wrist time is ready for when I cross the start line - it takes about 20 seconds to get to it from where I am in the pack.
- I run with the pack (very tight around three turns going up hill), my strategy is to run this up-hill portion easy and make it to the 1k mark in 6:26. This is my training speed for a similar slope and I know this will need to be taken slowly for me to have enough energy at the end. I'm feeling tired - and I'm getting disappointed. My heart is averaging 154 - way over alarm zone. Way over.
- My first split time taken from memory on the map needs to be slower than 6:26. I press the button on the watch 6:05 - am I effing kidding myself - I'm screwing up this race already - I trained for 11 weeks - so many people cheering for me - wishing me well - I'm friggen wrecking it already - I shouldn't have taken those three days off and should not have tapered down - I should have ran a normal 30k per week - F**K!
- People are passing me now with little courtesy - don't you guys know I'm a first timer! Show me some respect I'm getting really really down on myself. I'm still very tired and there is no way I can keep up with these faster people - oh wait a second my music is playing and I'm not even paying attention. I hit the split time: 5:30 - what! I've never ran a second split of 5:30 - never! I'm going to be dead tired at the end - I won't even make my 32:27 training PR!
- I make the turn to start heading back to the start - THE ORGANIZERS HAVE CHANGED THE ROUTE! I don't know where to take my next split - it's still level-downhill, but I'm expecting some switch-back turns to make it up the hill near the start - very very disappointed - I can see up the street and there has to be about 1.5 k of everyone in the race up ahead of me.
- Thinking I'm somewhere near my 3k split I press the watch again: 8:03! I'm f**king this race up! You g*d d**m f**king b*stard - why did you ever think you could run with the big boys in a race? WHY!?!?
- I'm climbing up this hill and I see a yellow 4k marker - I press the split time: 4:26. WHAT? That means 8:03+4:26 = 12:29 for 2k = 6:15 for each split - HOLY SH*T that's faster than EVER!
- I'm alone into my last two turns - there's a young guy with a back pack clapping and yelling to me "Good job number 4-thirteen" - I smile at him and say a super ingenious comment - "I couldn't have done it without you!" Will I have enough energy to sprint for Matty?
- I begin the sprint - the runners that have already finished in the last 15 minutes are eating bananas and fruit and are standing at the sides clapping. I dip me head forward, my arms start moving a little faster, I'm starting to bend more at the waste, and my legs seem to speed up, I am breathing like a poorly tuned pickup crossing the rocky mountains! My heart alarm is flashing 95% Max HR - and it's not happy. My ankles start to bend more and I'm leaning into the run - I start to sprint and I feel like 300 people are pushing my legs to go faster - I'm just a spectator. I turn the corner and try to make out the time between pounding, and I hear the announcer stating the time of some runners ahead of me - this is way too fast - there must be something wrong - WHO CARES - RUN YOU DUMMY!
I cross the line.
Clock Time: 31:40
Chip Time: 31:23 - a New PR
All the times here. I'm number 195
I beat my training PR by 1:04. Still panting and dry heaving, I start to walk away from the start in a daze. Nothing hurts - I feel like my body has been taken away from me - it is very very quiet. As I begin to catch my breathe I realize I want to go to my family - I want to tell them I am SOOO grateful for them - I am so BLESSED to have them in my life. The Angel sent from heaven to take care of me sees me first:
This morning - 2 days later - I ran 5k. It was easier than anything I have ever done before. How can it be hard when so many people are with you!
I learned not to trust the emotional panicky me - but instead, to manage me like an asset to be used to achieve a goal.
Thank you everyone! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!!!