Archive for October, 2012

I haven’t written in awhile and it is because I was in a big old funk after running my first 10K event on October 12, 2012. Now that I have collected my thoughts, I will share that experience with you.

The race was the Oakville Trek or Treat. It is touted as Canada’s first night time trail run and there is a family oriented Creepy Mile event, a 5K run and a 10K for more experienced runners. We chose the 10K event. The atmosphere was terrific and the vibe of family fun made it even better. I was excited and had my hopes up for a strong finish.

My finish wasn’t so strong. Why? I had a tough time and made a lot of mistakes that could have been avoided. Let me elaborate.

I spent the months before the run doing a lot of cycling so I didn’t run as much as I should have. By the time I got serious about the event there wasn’t enough time to safely build my distance up to 10K for the Trek or Treat, although I did manage to get up just above 8.5K. That was my first mistake… not training enough.

My second mistake was that I didn’t account for the fact that there were hills, two of which were quite significant. The last time I had run a hill was at TREAD in May. The fact that I hadn’t done any hills in so long made this even more physically challenging for me.

Another thing I hadn’t considered was surrounding the challenge of running in the dark with nothing but a headlamp. It made things difficult and I almost went the wrong way on a few occasions. Think of a movie called The Blair Witch Project and running through one of those scenes. The only light out there was what shone from my headlamp. If you didn’t pay careful attention it would be easy to get lost.

The biggest of all my issues was related to being diabetic. I didn’t have enough carbohydrate prior to the race and by the time the 8:15 pm start took place my sugar was likely too low. I should have checked but I was too excited. By kilometer 5 I was crashing big time. My sugar was so low that I had to stop running and take a reading. It was around 2.8 mmol/L. I had to get some gel into my system quickly. I was clammy, disoriented, and clumsy. The difficulty of the first hill and the fact that I didn’t take in any carbohydrates during that first half had put me in a bit of a tough situation.

I thought seriously about throwing in the towel right then and there. However, I am not a quitter and I have a stubbornness that pushed me forward. I was going to finish what I started. The next few kilometers were the toughest that I have ever run. Much of it was physical but a good deal was mindset. The last of the other runners were a good 10 minutes ahead of me. I could hear the bike brakes of the paramedic squeaking behind me as the man tried to avoid hitting me on a very steep downhill. It shook me up. I felt like a failure. I was scared that I had bitten off more than I could chew.

There were Jack-o-Lanterns with numbers carved in them for kilometer markers. All of a sudden I had gone from 7 to 4. What? Was I lost? I motioned for the paramedic on the bike to ride beside me. I asked him if we were going the wrong way and he explained that this was where the 5K and 10K routes merged. Then I saw a second pumpkin with my distance on it. I requested the he bike next to me or blaze ahead and wait for me to catch up but to please not ride behind me because it was unnerving. Every time I heard those brakes I thought he was going to hit me. He explained that he doesn’t normally ride a bike and that it wasn’t his. He was very sweet and agreed to ride beside me while I finished the next few kilometers. I learned about his battle with asthma and how he wished he could run and cycle. He told me he can do spurts of activity so he sticks to sports like volleyball and soccer. I told him about my journey and shared how much finishing meant to me. He talked about his parents and I told him about my children. We chatted about how he became a paramedic.

We arrived at the last leg of the route which was through a cemetery. Creepy. A figure was running towards us. My paramedic pace-bunny asked me if that was my little boy and I replied that it was. Tobias ran up to me and said that we were going to cross the finish together. He had gotten permission to get back on the course and run with me. Tobias had a medal around his neck. I knew there were no finishing medals for this race and he told me he won first place for his age group. I was so proud of him for doing his best and I would have felt that way even if he hadn’t placed in the top. More importantly, I was extremely proud of him for coming to run with me. That was probably the sweetest thing anyone has ever done for me. It made my day and turned what was a really rough experience for me into one I will always cherish.

Now that you’ve heard all the details I am sure you want to know how I did with time. My original goal was to finish a 10K race and do so upright and smiling. I did not go into this one with confidence and as you can read, I had some hurdles to overcome that day.

But first…

Bryan finished with a time of 1:02:11 and was in 63rd place overall.

Tobias, finished with a time of 1:01:02 and was 61st place overall—1st in his age group. Yay Tobias!!

And me…

Well, I finished and thanks to Tobias I was smiling.
My final time was 1:38:42.
I placed 92 out of 92.

This event may not have been my best and I was disappointed in my time. I actually cried in the Jeep on the way home. My darling son offered up his medal to make me feel better. I told him that while it was a sweet gesture, he had earned that and explained that I was just upset at myself. He said something to me at that moment. “You did it Mom… that’s what counts! Not time. Not pace.”  He was right—I had persevered and completed my first 10K. I proved that I can push myself to the finish even when my mind tries to take over and convince me that I can’t. It was a valuable learning experience that will help me with my future runs.

Mission accomplished and another milestone crossed off my list!


Well, I plan to go back and run this route in the daytime. Bryan mapped it with his GPS and it would be a beautiful spot to visit. I’m done with events until the New Year, I think. In April 2013, I will run the 5K Ford Race to End Diabetes at Oakville again. Then May 2013 will bring my first half marathon.

B(e) positive!

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