I'd seen posts by running friends Jess and Lauren about this race last year, how they set out to get Lauren a post baby PB and ended up getting best times for them both. Given this was also an OMA Road Race, I thought I'd sign up.
As soon as I got off the subway and walked out onto Wellesley, I was bombarded with rainbow pride. I literally stood in the middle of the Church and Wellesley intersection watching the people around me and all of the decorations for Pride. I snapped a bunch of photos and helped others take pics in front of some of the great posing locations.
I dropped off my bag and bumped into several friends who had all obviously chosen to meet others in front of the 519. I headed back to the stretch of closed street on Wellesley to do a warm up. Although the temperature was a bit cooler than last week, the later race start meant it was warming up rapidly.
My first kilometre was about 15-20 seconds fast, but given I only had four more to go, I wasn't too concerned. Plus, it had been shady most of this section and I could see it wouldn't be ahead. Queens Park Circle definitely has a slight elevation changes. I'd be curious to see the stats. By the water station at around 2K my throats was so dry, I could hard.y swallow. There was no question as to whether I was getting water. I paused to gulp it down and go.
My second kilometer was pretty much bang-on. I could feel myself fading as I headed around the Circle for lap two. I knew this was where my race was going to start to be good, or bad. I loosened my shoulders and held on. Finally, there was the water station again. Funny how things stand out in your head during a race. The cute little girl at the very front of the volunteers and then the guy about 20 meters after the last volunteer in case you'd missed your chance at grabbing a cup.
I turned and headed back up the Circle. At this point everyone was prepping to turn ahead so the racers were getting mixed up with the walkers. More weaving. The cheering near Wellesley was amazing and drowned out my music. I spotted Brie, Melanie and April and yelled as I passed.
I'd spoken to running friend Laura before the race about the 'looming' finish and looking down Wellesley I could see what she meant. Ugh. Despite feeling the heat and knowing my pace had slowed the past two kilometres, I kept pushing. I was pretty sure a PB was out of reach but knew it wasn't that far off. On the final stretch I gave it my all and sprinted through the confetti, barely seeing the finish mat! I was 55 seconds from tying my PB, but, like last week, I wasn't upset. I'd raced hard and held on. I played the mental game against myself, and won!
I think if it had of been cooler, there were less people to weave around and I'd been training for a 5K (not having raced a hodge-podge of distances the past two months) it would have been a PB. That felt good.
Anyone who has run RBC Race for the Kids will know they put on an amazing post race party. Today I got to experience an equally incredible, just different party. It truly felt like you were at some sort of festival with the multiple food stations, volunteers every where you turned and party atmosphere. The food was also amazing. At no point did you feel like they were going to be running out. The usual bananas (perfectly ripe and not chopped in half), water, really yummy bagels (not the standard packaged from what I could tell), a squeeze pack of Liberte Greek yogurt (such an awesome post race treat and easy to eat), spice loaf annnnd Dufflet brownies. There were also vendors from Starbucks giving what looked like free espresso shots and V8 handing out an iced cold fruit energy drink. I was glad I had picked up my bag, as many of these treats (definitely not the brownie) went into my bag.
As I stood there, parents with kids tossed armfuls of confetti into the air. Some took photos, some videos, some just danced around in the tissue paper snowstorm. But it wasn't just kids. A police officer stood nearby laughing, a man dressed as a bunch of grapes twirled and flung handfuls of paper in the air. It was an unexpected special moment that you could tell everyone there was feeling.
Would I do this race again? ABSOLUTELY.