But this recap is not about halfs or trail races. Just a good 10k road race for a cause very dear to my heart: the Transplant Trot. It is a charity race with walk/run distances ranging from 3k to 5k to 10k, for the Canada Transplant Association, which is a nonprofit devoted to organizing athletic events every 2 years for organ transplant recipients like me. This race happens at the end of the National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week. Organ Donation is a cause I am passionate about, mainly because I am a kidney transplant recipient, thanks to my loving hubby, who donated his kidney to me.
Anyways, I had hardly been serious about training for this race. Sure, I have been running with the half marathon clinic at the Eau Claire Running Room, but it was more about keeping up and socializing with my running peeps and also training to lose weight (haha, a story for another time). I wasn't even serious about race day today: I booked a chiro appointment at 9 am, and then had to leave Confederation Park by 11:30 am so that I could pick up my daughter and have lunch with another family. If the Transplant Trot was not puctual in beginning the race, there was a real chance I would just have to skip the race and leave. Thank goodness that was not the case!
I was able to make it to the Transplant Trot in good time and meet up with some good friends and excellent volunteers and even one runner like me!
|With Shauna Rivait, a ceaseless advocate for organ and tissue donation!|
|With Tina, a fellow Kidney Marcher AND runner like me!!|
|With Teresa and her hubby who "photobombed" our pic.|
Instead at 10 am, we were lined up on the grass near the finish line and then off we ran when the word "GO!" was shouted.
I ran for some distance and then noticed a gradual creeping of hard breathing. I looked at my watch and - yikes! - I was running a crazy sub 6 min/km pace (I think 5:38 or 5:45). I knew I couldn't maintain that pace even at 5k, never mind a 10k! So, I forced myself to slow down.
It was a relatively flat and fast few kms...until at the 4k mark. Then - YIKES! - short but relatively steep series of hills. I took my time on those, and discovered close to the turnaround point that I would have to run them AGAIN, as part of the 2nd loop and it was right before the finish line!!
So I did strategize my run accordingly, to hold back a little on the flat portion and save my legs for the last 2k of the race when I would have to run those hills. The second loop was therefore an enjoyable run, even those I was tired. I thanked every volunteer I saw on the second loop and then focussed on the hills. I ran most of the hills, but only walked when I got close to the top of each of the 3 hills.
It worked for me, by and large, in that I did not hurt myself and was able to sprint the last 20-50 metres to the finish! When I saw the time on the clock of 1:05:20 as I crossed the finish line, I was so excited that I did a loud "whoop!" which surprised a few people and some even laughed. If only they knew what an exciting achievement it was for me to finish a 10k race and PB it!!
Afterwards, I looked at the time on my Garmin, and I was even more excited to see the time. I realized then that a sub-60 min finish is actually possible one day!! Especially given that I hadn't trained much for it, 5 lbs heavier than last year AND took time off the first part of this year to heal from injuries.
|Per my Garmin, I could actually do this!!|
I was very grateful for this race, not only because I got a personal best, which was of course awesome, but because of the awareness for organ and tissue donation and for so many people who came to support this race - so thankful for the organizers, the volunteers, the sponsors and MOST OF ALL for all those who made their wishes known regarding organ donation, whether by signing the back of their driver's licence, back of their health card, or registering their consent to donate via the Alberta Organ and Tissue Donation Registry. I hope you'll consider organ donation too.