One year ago, I participated in my first 10k race and my second race ever. By this point I was in the middle of training for a half marathon and my long runs were up to 13k already. That did not stop how nervous I was for this race, I could have been sick, I considered not even going.
But on a drizzling Saturday morning I showed up at Hamilton Bayfront Park, [kind of] ready to go for MEC Burlington Race 4.
The race started and we’re going fast. I caught up in the crowd full of very speedy racers (seriously the MEC racing crowd is intimidatingly fast) 1km in and I’m gasping for air. I’m slowing down and people are still wizing by me. Check my watch I’m running at a 5 minute pace. Let’s talk about how my self predicted race pace that day was a 7min/km. I’m not that fast now, I was definitely not that fast then.
But something magical was happening that morning. I slowed down to a slightly more reasonable pace (6:20ish I believe) but my mind still felt I would not be able to hold that pace, logically it was right, I’d never run anything close to that before. So I spent the majority of the race telling myself to slow down. But I never really listened much.
I hit the final turn around and with 2k left to go I end up putting everything I had in to this race. I couldn’t breathe but I kept going anyways.
I finished the race in 1:05:56.
When your goal was a 1:10:00 and you finish 4 minutes under. Well, you pretty much end up wanting to cry (seriously, it took a lot of restraint not to cry). I can’t even fully express the emotions that were going on when I finished. Even now a year later it’s overwhelming to think about. The pride in myself was huge and I was just so happy.
I have not since experience a runners high quite like that one. I don’t know how it all came to be, everything align perfectly I guess, I’ve had similar shockingly good performances since but none that left me in that state. From that moment on I was fully hooked and completely in love.
This is why runners do what they do, to chase feelings like that over and over. It’s why they call it an addiction, a drug. Because those highs are like nothing you will ever experience, and no high is ever quite the same, but you’ll keep trying to find your way back to that great one anyways.