This is a sentimental race for me, so although I don’t race many 5k’s anymore, I make a point to run this every year. This was my first 5k race two years ago.
I hadn’t done any hill training that year and I had a really rough time on the final Spring Road hill. It took me over 30 min to finish the 5k and I felt like I was dying.
The year after that I came in first girl! It was the first (and still only) race I’ve ever won in my life. You can see that race report with pictures HERE.
This year I wanted to set another milestone and make it my first barefoot race. But my day didn’t start out so well.
My plan was to run to the race start, which I have been doing for a while now. It was about a 20k distance to High Park from my house, where the race was being held. No problem.
I woke up a little late, so I was rushed to get out the door. I didn’t have time for breakfast, but figured I’d be ok since my last half marathon I also ran on an empty stomach. Not so this time around.
My stomach started growling uncomfortable at around 7k, and by 11k I was unhappy and sluggish. I thought about pushing forward, but I didn’t see a point and thought it would be better to save myself for the race.
So I stopped to buy some food and hopped on the subway for the rest of the trip. When I got out of the subway, the weather had taken a turn for the worst. The temperature felt like it had dropped about 10 degrees, and it was raining. Because I had already been running in the hot sun earlier and had worked up a sweat, I was now freezing cold. I wasn’t dressed for rain – I was wearing a tank top and a little orange tennis skirt.
I jogged up to get my race kit and I realized my feet were still tired. And because I had taken the subway I now had an hour to kill in my tank top under the freezing rain with no shelter. I wasn’t thrilled.
I also realized that I probably wouldn’t be able to race barefoot on the wet concrete paths and I wondered whether I should just turn around and go home. To help me decide, I texted some rant-like messages to Shacky. He always keeps me tough by never feeling any sympathy for me.
Before he could reply, someone approached me to ask about my Vibrams. As it turned out, it was a friend of Sarah Marie from Daily Mile, and I got to hang out and chat with them and with Sarah for a while. Sarah reads my blog and it was so fun to meet her that I forgot to be wet and miserable. I also met Daniel from Daily Mile, and right before the start I saw yet another familiar face.
That last guy was someone that I ALWAYS see at races. He’s a runner from El Salvador, just like me. Except he’s a speed demon and I can never ever keep up with him. But I always try.
I don’t know this guy’s name and I’ve only chatted with him briefly. He’s sort of off on his own and doesn’t always seem approachable. He runs fast and just leaves. He doesn’t show much interest in any of the other aspects of a race, like hanging out or talking. But his running attitude intrigues me (so opposite of mine), so I went out of my way to say hi. We didn’t talk much because he wanted to head out and get a spot at the front of the pack, but the last thing he told me was “Push!”
So I did.
This felt like my fastest 5k in terms of the time passing quickly. I hardly felt the kilometers go by. The downhills were a little scary because the rain was making everything slippery and I was flying in my VFFs. I figured it was safer to just go with my momentum than try to hold myself back and feel my legs slip from underneath me.
Earlier, I tried to walk to the start line barefoot (thinking I would run the 5k barefoot), but it wasn’t happening. Even just walking to the start was tough and I knew my feet wouldn’t take it. I didn’t want to DNF a 5k, so I went back for my Vibrams. Wet pavement continues to be my nemesis.
The uphills felt better than the downs, and the final hill right before the finish line was easier than previous years just because I knew I was only meters away from the end. I’m starting to feel comfortable and familiar with this route.
Some Asian dude in a cape tried to pass me a few meters from the finish, and although I ultimately lost I didn’t go down without a fight. I pushed with all I had but in the end the guy was just faster and slipped ahead of me. It’s because I didn’t have a cape.
The rain had gotten progressively heavier during the race, and by the time I crossed the finish line at around 26 mins (16th place!) it was full blown thunderstorms and pouring rain. I was soaked and wet and cold. I had nowhere to put my certificate, so it got destroyed, and there was no food at the end.
But I forgot to be miserable.