Saturday morning arrived without the usual rushing about to prepare for a long run. In fact, on this cold morning we didn’t rise until 8:30 a.m. fully 3 1/2 hours later than usual, a well deserved rest.
However a half-day of rest and it was off to the races, a Grey Cup 8K in Hamilton starting at noon. As we fueled up before hitting the highway, winter storm conditions descended. I remarked that perhaps driving to Hamilton during one of the first storm like snowfalls was unwise. My husband sensing my ambivalence about racing made it clear that he was determined to get me to the start line and we forged ahead.
The conditions cleared, worsened, cleared and finally we made it to the Macassa Yacht club to register in good time and do a 20 minute warm-up. This is the off-season for road racing so the event was very low-key and the crowd small. The weather forecast of snow flurries and 50K plus winds materialized down by the bay as we readied ourselves for the start.
Off we went and I immediately counted the number of women ahead of me. I ran my own pace, a heartrate of 159-164 for the first 5.5 K and at that point overtook the first woman. After passing her I ran steadily and then stopped checking my heartrate and ran from 6-7K harder and then picked up the pace for the last 8K. At a certain point, it is not productive to know how hard your heart is beating. I finished strongly although I think my time of 37:40 something does not quite represent my current fitness as the strong winds were an impediment.
After the race we went to the Hamilton YMCA to freshen up before the post-race celebration at the Slainte pub. At the pub, runners dined on lasagna and in a very jolly pub atmosphere. We arrived a bit late and the race crowd seemed to be leaving so our impression was that there were no awards for the race. Before leaving I scouted for a washroom and heard age-category winners being announced on the second floor.
As it turned out for a tiny race there was quite a fuss made about age-categories and when I entered the room, the announcer called me up to claim my plaque. Very nice, the efforts made by organizers to recognize us. My regret was that I had promised to wear a Saskatchewan Roughriders hat up to the podium but missed my chance. I ran into an acquaintance who told me he had noticed my name and had remarked to himself that “LK, she still has it!” That was a generous thought and my husband and I chuckled in appreciation.
In addition to my plaque I won a $20 certificate for the Slainte pub which I think I will give to my boss, who lives in Hamilton and organized yesterday’s Grey Cup party at work.
Slainte, my friend!