After running the Sacramento Marathon in December I vowed to build upon my fitness level to get in great shape this year. Things got busy and if you have been following my blog, you’ll be tired of hearing how the volunteer project my husband and I took on in the spring, was all-consuming – but that it was along with being a highly rewarding endeavour.
Finally, after a nine month lapse I raced 5K last Sunday at the Toronto Island Run. Ed Whitlock regularly runs the signature Island 10K to get a sense of where his fitness is at. Even if he is not at the top of his game or has an off day, chances are he will set a record. That day he set a world age-group record for 80 year olds of 42:49. Ed does it again. Congrats!
The Island race has been around for 31 years and has built on its success to become a polished, community event superbly run by the Longboat Roadrunners who have operated as a running club for as the race. In fact, it was while a member of the Longboat Roadrunners that I met my husband some 26 years ago. The club name honours Tom Longboat who many regard as Canada’s greatest athlete. Longboat was an Onandagan from Ohsweken, Ontario who won the Boston Marathon in 1907 by breaking the previous record over the old 24-1/2 mile course by four minutes and 59 seconds. He was the dominant distance runner of his time.
As race day drew near I found myself distinctly lacking motivation and were it not for a commitment I to run the race might have decided otherwise. But, but, but . . . it was, and I did know it would be, just the thing to help focus my training for New York. I’ve been too busy to alter my schedule to attend group workouts and I really needed to be pushed. So I ran 23:04 which was good enough to place 2nd in the masters category. But I really hope to be running a lot faster over the next six months. Although it was the closest I have ever been to throwing up after a race due to having sprinted madly to pick off a runner at the finish line. Our times were the same but I was a microsecond ahead. I surprised myself by feeling obliged to push hard in the last 400 meters and try to catch every runner possible.
The weather could not have been more pleasing and we ran into many old friends. For those unfamiliar with Toronto, if you ever visit, a trip to the Toronto Islands is a must. A 10-15 minute ferry ride gets you to a soothing green space with expansive lake Ontario vistas.
As I write, I find myself thinking about how a few years ago I was regularly running under 20 minutes for 5K. Will I ever go under 20 minutes again? Maybe a goal for my upcoming 56th year. But no time to waste, truly. As Ed Whitlock once famously said when queried about his race times. “Time is not on my side.”