On holidays, we used to do things like sleep in, hang out, and have a BBQ. All runners know that holidays are just another excuse to travel for a race. Some of our best friends live in PEI and we were planning a trip to celebrate July 1. Imagine our excitement when we find out there’s a Canada Day Bash 10 Miler. With some great swag and a really cool medal to boot. There was something even more exciting about this event; we were there to celebrate several of our friends first races and to set some amazing PBs. Oh and baby C completed her first 5km too. 😀
While running the Ottawa Marathon a few weeks ago we had the chance to chat with John Stanton during the friendship run. We asked what his favourite distance was and he quickly answered the 10 mile run. This was the perfect chance to test out this distance. And I’ll admit in advance, I’m a huge fan.
Friends Crushing Goals
I read an article recently about why being friends with runners can be tough. I’m afraid we might be turning into these people. We talk about running. A lot. It’s become a massive part of our lives and something we’re really proud of. We’ve decided to drag a few of our closest friends, who will tell you they were previously and vehemently non runners, along for the ride. They will tell you we forced it on them, but we like to think of it more as passive persuasion.
Being competitive people (more to come on this one later), it makes sense that many of our friends are highly competitive as well. Our friend Joe was the first to break. It wasn’t so hard to convince him; all we had to say was Disney and he was registering for his first half. With general corralling at Disney Marathon Weekend without a previously posted time, we convinced him that completing a half before his first half would be a good idea. So he signed up for the Tartan Twosome at Maritime Race Weekend. Oh we’re so evil. 😈
Because One Isn’t Enough
The second to fall was Lloyd. There’s some back story to this one. Lloyd and I worked together in a highly competitive sales environment and developed a great friendship over this time. We travelled to Florida a few months ago (to Disney of course) and while there got him outfitted with all the gear he’d need to start running. He and I would lace up each morning for a little walk/run around the community. Lloyd swore it wouldn’t be any more than a 5km distance goal over time.
A few weeks later sitting on the patio back at home, I suggested to Lloyd that I’m sure Joe would do the half distance with me in PEI if I asked. Lloyd quietly stewed on this for a few hours, thinking to himself, if Sean and Joe can do it I can too. He now simply swears that he’ll never to more than a half (but I think that could still change). His wife Sarah completed the 5km walk with us, and although she swears this is her stopping point, I know it’s only a matter of time!
A Little Healthy Competition
Our home running team is made up of 6 highly competitive runners. Billy will tell you that he’s not, but we all know it’s #TeamBeatBilly. Since Cecilia was born, Arran in particular has picked up the pace. A couple of weekends ago we ran the half marathon at Johnny Miles Race Weekend in New Glasgow, NS (more to come on this in another post). I was feeling great and had my sights set on a PB. I try to keep focused ahead while running, but it’s hard not to take a peak behind to see where the rest of the team is. It was a loop race and on the turn I saw Billy close on my tail. I had to dig deep and find a bit of extra energy and kick it up a notch. It wasn’t 10 seconds later that I passed Arran close on Billy’s heels.
Arran finished less than 2 minutes behind me, and only 30 seconds behind Billy. It was so great to see Arran crush her PB. The flip side is a new competition was brewing. One that I wasn’t going to live down. For the next two weeks, all the talk was how Arran was going to beat me at the 10 miler. This did nothing but add fuel to the fire. I knew I was up against some stiff competition (I married her for a reason).
Race to The Finish Line (And Double Knotted Shoe Laces)
At the start of the 10 miler we set out at a steady clip, running side by side for the first 500m. I had a plan in my mind to run at a steady pace through the first half and reserve a little for the where I know Arran typically picks it up. Disaster hit at this point, my shoe came untied! As I bent down to quickly tie it, all I could think was this would be the difference between me winning. I had to pick up pace a little faster than I wanted to dash past her.
I continued to pick up pace through the first half, with an average time of 4:38 per km, faster than my normal 8km run and was feeling great. As I hit the turning point, I saw arran about 300m behind knew we were in for a challenge. I was in 4 place at this point and wanted desperately to finish in 3rd, a new goal that would help to push me. Little did I realize, it was a slight uphill the whole way back. My pace started to slow a little, and I started to get worried. My shoulder checks became more frequent. At the 13km mark, I passed into 3rd place but noticed Arran had closed the gap. It was time to empty the tank.
We often joke about running so fast you think you’re going to throw up. This has never happened, although on some hot days I can understand how it would. As I forced my legs to move a little faster, I felt as though it actually might happen. At kilometre 15, I came across a runner who was completing the 10k and she picked up pace as I went to pass her. This was the boost I needed to get me to the end. As I dashed through the last 500m, I could see Joe and Lloyd at the finish line, the time at 1:18:58 and a Canada Day cake waiting. I’ve never been so excited to see the finish line. Well except for maybe in Ottawa… Arran crossed the finish line less than 30 seconds later setting an amazing PB herself.
Although we joked a good deal about who would come in first, the greatest part of running this race was pushing each other to achieve greater results individually, as well as seeing our friends achieve their own goals. I came out in front this time, I’ll be watching my back more frequently now. And truth be told, I’m looking forward to the day when we have the opportunity to sprint to that finish line together.
Back Home and the Ever Expanding Team
Our running family back home had the chance to run in the Moncton running of the Canada Day Bash too. With some extra special support and encouragement from their family members. Another of our friends, Brendan, joined for his first medal race and set a great PB! He’s now registered to run his first half. I’d like to say we feel bad about dragging people along, but truth is, it feels amazing to see some of our closest friends achieve something they never thought possible. Next step, coming up with an official name for our ever expanding running group!