a.k.a. “The race I nearly forgot was a race and thus nearly forgot to blog about it….”
As is plainly obvious (or is it?), I haven’t been running much since my May marathon nor do I have a race to train for. Wait, I did have one. No, I didn’t really.
Over the summer, NPY and I went for many walks. As a runner, I would disparage this slow-going past-time, casting it as something old people do. But it was a really nice summer and we had to do something since in 2009 we didn’t manage to rollerblade more than once nor organize any substantial hiking expeditions.
I can vaguely remember first telling NPY that I run. In fact, the summer we started dating was also the first summer I trained for a marathon. He didn’t quite understand why I take part so ardently in something that is not a game, that I won’t win. I took him out on one of my easy 6K training runs but it proved far too much for someone who doesn’t run — ever — however much he alleges he is a “natural athlete”.
Slightly mortified that I had so abruptly and successfully turned him off from running forever, I never broached the subject of him running with me again. So I was so surprised and in pleasant disbelief when NPY suggested that this year he would participate in the CIBC Run for the Cure, a 5K run.
5K run, you say? Of course, we only started “training” for it a little less than one month before the run and I am deliberately using quotations marks for the reason that we did not follow any training plan to speak of and–I’m afraid–I couldn’t in any seriousness consider it training for me. When I was empathetic, I would remember that it was the longest regime he has ever submitted himself to… even if we barely made it past week 3 in spirit of Couch to 5K.
I was frustrated because even for a short run, I never wanted to head out and suffered greatly during the first ten minutes of a 26-minute run. Thus I was so grateful that NPY persisted with planned runs (and we were so fortunate that it’s been a dry summer and early fall) and I repeated to him ad nauseum how thankful I am that we made it out for the run. Anything is better than nothing. Until recently, I was very nervous because we didn’t progress to very long running intervals; then I read about Pasta Queen’s most recent 5K wherein she did not run continuously and reveled in her modest results nonetheless. Our second last training run took place on the course and we had good results and we were ready… or had to be!
For three years, NPY saw me off to various marathons and races and finally this year, this race was for him! (Except we learned on Friday that it was of the non-serious level that there were no timing chips or race results to speak of.)
Early, but not nearly as early as I have ever had to, we set out from my place to walk to Concord Place–the new outdoor exhibition place for everything possible now–a half-hour walk along which we stopped for Starbucks. Goodness gracious, I did not expect to be imbibing espresso truffle (short, for him) and chai latte (short, for me) before a “race” but there you had it.
We arrived at the start line and there were thousands of people milling around–a far cry from the AIDS walk I did recently–and we beat a path to the Team CIBC tent to pick up our t-shirts. Given it was an rare opportunity to wear the same item of clothing as NPY, I was pleased when Team CIBC gave me a shirt although I registered as an individual. I was also pleased that NPY would succumb and wear the team shirt but it was a well-cut and vibrant t-shirt in CIBC burgandy and I reveled appearing part of the headline sponsor team.*
The race started 3 minutes early according to the time on my iPhone which I carry because we got used to training with the RunKeeper app to guide us on distance and pace. NPY jumped over a fence to get into the chute but I was not going to be caught struggling with the fence during the thickest crowds and camera time! So I weaved through the sardine can of people nonchalantly and casually filing through the fence opening and we cross the start line when the clock already read 4:35. About a minute later, we were able to start jogging.
My estimate is that despite the word “Run” appearing in the name of the event, at most a quarter of the participants were at least jogging and we hit the wall of walkers before even crossing the start line. For the first kilometer, we were weaving like crazy, running on the dusty gravel/grass alongside the sidewalk, and generally running too fast for our own good to get to a spot where we could breath and not be ducking and weaving. Our first running interval was for 10 minutes.
We got to the 2-km marker around 12:41 and NPY was a bit incredulous that we had only gone 2 kilometers. I hoped that 5K is not the distance he stops at! Our second interval was just 5 minutes long before we took a one-minute break and the sun had come out and I was very (very) warm in two layers and a CamelPak sack to hold our belongings. He asked me to slow down and the third interval (five minutes) was pleasant.
We required one-and-a-half more intervals to finish the run so I was impressed that not only did NPY not take the break (except we did stop for 30 seconds) but we truly ran for the last, by my estimate, 300 meters. We crossed the line around 37:42 so NPY’s unofficial time for his first 5K is approximately 32 minutes!
I’m so immensely proud of NPY who came around from not understanding why I/people run to starting to compete with himself and set goals. Over the years, I’ve thought so much more about running and yet he’s already figured out that he also doesn’t really love it but enjoys the feeling of accomplishment. In preparation for this run, NPY got properly fitted for running shoes and acknowledges that the uber-support from his thick Brooks Beast runners kept him healthy and coming back for the next run. And now he’s got to use them for further training, right?? I, for one, did not seriously mess up the delicate balance of training/leading and encouraging and he hasn’t shot me down entirely about doing the Sun Run (10K) next April… or even a timed 5K race before that….
In fact, one day after a good run, we were relaxing at my place and he suddenly mentioned “RVM” with some interest. I was shocked he knew of the race (thanks to a television advertisement) but the joke is on him: it is a tougher 8K and taking place next weekend! In any case, NPY has come around (after 3 years) and we matched outfits and we started together and finished holding hands. That is what mattered.
* I’ll never forget the teenaged volunteer girl who is younger, taller, and thinner than I am who tried to verify with me that I wanted a small t-shirt. She pointed to her own t-shirt worn very loose and boxy and told me it was a large. She probably wanted people to be comfortable and happy and roomy as she was but it did give me momentary guilt as if she was passing judgment, “Oh no, you can’t wear a small.” I got my small and rocked it. :D