I'd seen the cute bee medal splashed on social media in previous years, and since Bread & Honey was part of the OMA Road Race series for 2017, I started looking into the race. I felt like I still had some mileage training from Goodlife and Ragnar and started wondering if I could pull off a 15K PB.
It had been several years since I'd had a real attempt at this distance. I'd run the RBC Race for the Kids 15K in 2015 and 2016, but both were run for fun as an ambassador. I'd also done the NIKE Women's 15K but since I'd been recovering from a very tough race season I walked a lot during the race. My PB was actually from my first 15K race, the now defunct Midsummer's Night Race in 2014.
The morning of the race I woke up to extremely grey skies, gusting wind and pouring rain. As I drove out to Streetsville Mississauga in my cozy car I was having some regrets about signing up! After parking, I made my way to the bib pick up. I was incredibly impressed with the building that housed the race head quarters. Although it was dark and dreary, I was seeing that this was a very pretty and historic town. Bib pick up was easy. I huddled inside for a little while, then ventured out into the rain to watch the kids race come in. I was very glad to have brought along an old heat blanket from a previous race to stay warm (ish) and dry (not really). With my heat shield billowing like a cape I did an (admittedly too short) warm up. Thankfully when I was running back I could hear the announcer calling for the 15K runners.
I waited until I was in the corral before reluctantly draping my heat blanket on the corral fence. I was wearing capris and a short sleeve while others around me were in long sleeves, tights and jackets. I tend to aim for less when running in the rain figuring it is less material to get soaked and have to carry. But it was definitely WINDY and chilly. I hoped I wouldn't regret this race kit choice. I'd changed my mind several times even right before leaving that morning.
We turned west. Please don't let it be windy (or hilly), please don't let it be...UGH. Here's where the 'excuse maker' reared it's ugly head. Every potential reason for not doing well started popping into my mind. I didn't just want to walk, I wanted to reroute back to my car and not finish and never do a longer distance race again. I was both too hot and sweating in the 100% humidity, and cold from the rain. Every runner who had been wearing a jacket or long sleeve had them draped around their waists. A song that my friend Allison had recommended and then played on her iPhone speaker during the final stages of my recent half marathon came on my race playlist. Sigh. Okay. I was walking again. I started plodding again.
At 10K, I'd been playing leapfrog with the same half dozen runners doing the same as me. Something suddenly seemed to click--I felt a bit better. I figured it was short lived, but I managed to find a comfortable pace again. The kilometers slowly clicked off. 11, 12, 13. I looked at my watch. I realized that if I was able to push and hold on I'd be able to PB. I pushed and held on for dear life. I could hear coach Michelle in my head telling me to go, go, go. When I finally turned south on the final stretch I looked ahead desperately for the finish. I could see the steeple of the race headquarters looming which was a good thing / bad thing. That darn steeple and then the finish banner seemed to loom FOREVER. A couple of times I purposely looked down for awhile to kill time and not be reminded of how far it was. When I looked up I SWORE someone had moved it! Finally, finally, finally the finish was there and I used whatever I had to get there.
At first I thought it was a PB, but upon looking it was a tie (if you don't count the stupid seconds!)
After wandering to recover a bit, I put on a dry shirt and watched the awards. I checked in with Lynn of the OMA and was incredibly pleased to find out that my time had resulted in an OMA Road Race Series silver medal! I'll take it! While there were a LOT of speedy runners at the race and I was very impressed with the times.