A week after I completed 100,000 FitBit steps last month, I participated in my first race since high school (a 5000 metre run in Track & Field, where I was third last); a ten kilometre (10K) run in the Bluenose. Days and weeks going into it, I jokingly said that I would run as fast as I can for as long as I can (the strategy didn’t work in high school). But I knew that I shouldn’t be doing this for the race.

On race day morning (Sunday), a fellow instructor friend (who was actually the person who convinced me to start running) and I carpooled downtown. We were running a bit late (pardon the pun), so we had to go the end of the line, but we tried getting towards the front. When the gun went off, I stayed with my friend for about two or so minutes (maybe a bit longer). But eventually, I took off, leaving her behind (who subsequently thoroughly supported me doing so). I was mindful to keep pacing myself, to not dash all out until near the end, but at the same time, to not let anyone pass me, and to slightly catch up and pass others ahead of me. I ended up doing pretty well up slight and steep hills (given I actually kind of somewhat leapt going up, which I felt saved my energy), so that ended up being a good opportunity to pass others. Given I instruct BODYATTACK at least three times a week (not counting practicing and subbing), I have pretty good endurance even though I don’t run regularly for training. When all was said and done, I finished at 70 with a chip time of 43:34 (which I was told was good for a first-time runner).

Twenty-seven days later, I did my second race; a 10K in the Johnny Miles. Again, I traveled with the same friend. We had some trouble upon arriving, as many roads were closed and we had to re-route around a few times before stopping to ask for directions from a police officer (she drove and I navigated via iPhone). Once we arrived and got our race kit, we headed towards the start. The fun part was seeing a lot of familiar people (including family). Shortly before we began, my friend told me to go to the front of the line. Just like the Bluenose, I left my friend, paced myself, and ensured that no one passed me while trying to pass everyone else (even if it was just slowly). Unlike the Bluenose, I ended up finding myself alone for occasional periods (which probably comes with a smaller race attendance), but noted to keep a good pace going. This time I came in sixth (well, fifth as per chip time) with a chip time of 40:08 (and first for my division).

Then just two days later, I did a five kilometre (5K) run in the Ulnooweg Summer Solstice Run (where I also did the warm-up for the runners). I took the lead early and held onto it for the longest time until shortly near the end. I had to move off the sidewalk as a child approached me, then get back on, then onto the road, but by then the other runner passed me and I wasn’t catching up. No matter. I still had fun and finished in second and my chip time was 18:41.

I registered for several other races for the summer (including my first marathon in September) and planning some more. I’m very excited and happy that I got into something new/different outside of my own workout. Given my times and little race experience thus far, I’ve been told that I was meant for racing, which is very flattering (and hopefully true). The medals are fun, but I love the challenge of trying to beat my personal records and win a race. I’m not discouraged from coming in second or later, but instead, just more motivated to keep doing more races. I always wanted to do races as a teenager (as I did run a lot back in the latter-1990s), but couldn’t find any anywhere back home. Another runner drew my attention to Run Nova Scotia and another to Atlantic Chip,which have been great in finding races in the region. Like AIMs and or LesMills events, I would travel to other provinces/countries for a good race when the time and opportunity permit it.

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