Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Always Give It Your All - Mississauga 10km Race Report

Those of you that have been reading this blog since the beginning know about my last experience with this race - you can read about it here.  I vowed not to have that happen again so this time I didn't run out to the start line.  I don't think my legs would have let me run the 13km out after riding 75km that morning anyway.  Instead,  I had G drive me out to the start nice and early.

We got home from our ride around 1:00 pm and I stretched, showered and made some scrambled eggs (thank you Burnbrae Farms!).  I encased myself in compression and sat my butt down on the couch.  I can't sit still for too long so about half an hour later I was up getting my race attire ready.  I pinned my bib on my WTP singlet and laid it out on the kitchen counter.  I took the envelope with the timing chip in it and put it off to the side with a mental note to make sure I put the chip on my shoe before we left.

I puttered around a bit more then sat down again.  This time I was really tired so I told G I was going to have a nap and asked him to set an alarm.   I napped for about 30 minutes and woke up feeling incredibly groggy and out of sorts.  I contemplated having a shot of espresso but decided against it.  Instead I had 2 cups of almond milk with a scoop of vanilla protein powder and a teaspoon of espresso powder.  YES.  Jet fuel.  I gathered up a few more things and threw them into a knapsack.  I grabbed my Garmin, ipod and sunglasses and told G I was ready to go. 

We got to the race start with roughly 40 minutes to spare.  We parked in the lot behind the Tim Horton's at Lakeshore just east of Clarkson.  I hopped out and went in to use the facilities.  I then went and did a short warm up run.  My legs felt heavy when I started out.   As I went along they started to feel a little better.  I got back to the car, shed my warm up jacket, took a Roctane and had G snap this little gem.  Nerd Alert!

I kissed G goodbye and ran off to the start of the race.  There was still at least 10 minutes to the start but the start line was jammed full!  I had to duck and weave through so many people to try to get close to the front.  There were also a ton of kids as there was a school relay.  A lot of them had situated themselves up at the front so it was difficult for me to get too close to the start line.  I wasn't too fussed though as the road was wide and I knew from last time the the crowd disperses pretty quickly.

I stood in the start corral and listened to Rod Black introduce the young girl that was going to sing the national anthem.  She was adorable and did a great job.  After the anthem, Rod chatted a bit more with the crowd about the weekend races.  I glanced down and my shoes to make sure my laces were ok when I suddenly realized I was missing something.

I didn't have my timing chip on my shoe.  I had left it at home on the kitchen counter.  YOU IDIOT (insert Jeremy Clarkson voice here).

I felt my heart sink.  I've always heard no chip, no time.  I whole slew of curse words went through my head.  I thought about throwing in the towel right then and there but then I thought no, you're here to see what you can do on tired legs so shut the eff up and run.  If it doesn't count it doesn't count.  Suck it up.

The gun went off and I crossed the start trying not to get too caught up in everything.  It's a downhill start so my first km was sub 4 minutes.   As the pack thinned out in the first km, I was joined by a guy on a bike.  I could see another guy on a bike just ahead of me.  He was with the girl that was in front of me.  So 2km in and I think I'm in second place.  Kilometer two was also a sub 4 minute km.  I knew there was no way I'd keep that up so I tried to slow myself down.  10km is a long way to go when you're going hard and I knew that if I didn't pace myself now I'd seriously pay for it later.  The guy on the bike stayed just up in front of me.  It was like dangling a carrot.  It actually kept me focused.  I had no idea where the 1st place girl was and I didn't really care because all I could think about was the fact that this entire race was probably not going to count.  I was so mad at myself.

At about the 4km mark I was right beside the guy on the bike and I asked him if I was indeed the second place female.  He said yup.  I said I didn't have my chip and he said just tell them your name when you cross the finish line.  I thought oh ok, that makes sense.  But I still thought that it wouldn't matter.  But I kept running hard.  4:02, 4:05, 4:06.  I could see the 1st place girl just ahead of me.  Probably about half a km ahead.  At about the 7km mark, I started to struggle.  My legs were feeling the 75km I rode that morning.  They were also feeling the lack of speed work.  My Garmin beeped and I saw 4:15.  Yikes.  I picked it up again and got even closer to the first place girl.

We went running through this lovely neighbourhood just before we got into Lakefront Promenade Park and there were tons of people cheering.  I ran by a family that yelled "Go on, you can get her, you're so close!"  I actually laughed and said No, it's ok. (WTH??) I was still convinced that it wasn't going to count and that if I passed her, I might be called a cheater - because there was no record of me crossing the start line.  I kept thinking about Rosie Ruiz.  I know, I have a bit of a flare for the dramatic.  And it's not like I was on track to win the Boston Marathon but still. 

As we came into Lakefront Promenade Park I got within a few hundred meters of the first place girl.  I could see her just ahead of me.  I couldn't tell if she was struggling or not but I didn't care.  My normal killer instinct was nowhere to be found.  I let my mistake get the better of me mentally and I threw in the towel.  Had I not forgotten my chip, I know I would never have given up the way I did.  I would have turned myself inside out to catch her.

I came running down the path towards the finish and I saw G and yelled I forgot my chip.  I heard him laugh and say Oh well.  Nice.  Just before the finish line I saw Nicole and Sam who were cheering wildly.  I smiled and said the same thing to them - I don't have my timing chip.   You can see me saying something in this shot, ha ha.  So not flattering but then again most running photos aren't.

Thumbs up - thanks for this Nicole! 
I heard the announcer say Here comes the 2nd place female!  I crossed the line and kept walking.  I was incredibly pissed off and not sure what to do with myself.  It was even caught on video (see below, ha ha).  People told me I wasn't far behind the first place girl and this confirmed it.  I know had I dug deep I could have made up the gap. 

I walked through the finishers chute, collected my medal and thought I might as well go to Sports Stats and tell them I didn't have my chip.  I made my way over to the booth and explained everything and they reassured me they had my time down.  They had me in the system already since they register your chip, name and bib number when you pick up your kit at the expo.  They told me to stick around for the awards.  I went from mad to happy in 2 seconds.   My official time was 40:51.  Just over a minute off my 10km PR from 2013.  Considering my lack of speed work, I'll take it.

Of course there had to be a photo op with the Burnbrae Farms banner.  A huge thank you to them for giving me the opportunity to do this race.  I hope I did you proud! 

I got a bit of a lecture from G when I told him everything.  He said that you should never give up just because you "think" something to be the case.  As usual, I let my thinking spiral down to the worst case scenario situation. All because of a little black chip.

I've definitely learned my lesson.  The next race I do that has those chips, I will make sure the first thing I do is fasten the chip to my shoe.  I might not be so lucky the next time.

Anyone else forgotten something important on race day?


Robin said...

Congratulations on a spectacular result! Crazy about the chip, I'm glad they counted your result. Nice work.

Kelli said...

Amazing the mental impact of something like that (no chip)...I totally feel the pain. Great result, though! Are you a lifelong runner? I would love to even get close to that speed but I have quite a way to go - just getting to sub-8s in 5Ks and low 8s in 10Ks for triathlons.

Victoria said...

That's awesome! Probably because you were at the beginning of the pack it was easy to pick you out even without your chip. Someone like me they'd say "oh well!" I forgot my puffer at Scotiabank in October and after 10K it all went downhill. I'll never forget it again!

macnic said...

Oh man. The mental games. I know of those. You did amazing though! It also explains why you weren't chasing harder when we saw you. Huge congrats and enjoy your socks. :-p I have a pair of them and do love them!

Alison @ racingtales said...

Argh you were sooo close! Some great foreshadowing in your report there, when you mentioned putting the chip out earlier... but we've all done this, right? In many races I've convinced myself I can catch the girl in front and stopped trying. I try to remind myself to go for it no matter what, but my brain gets so fried when racing, it's hard to think straight. Great job, anyway!

Wendy at Taking the Long Way Home said...

Wow, what a lucky break! Congrats on a great finish, and not letting that glitch throw you off!