Yesterday I ran the Toronto Challenge 5k. For my family, this isn’t just another 5k – for us this is a whole family, annual activity because this race raises money for organizations that help Senior citizens in Toronto. My dad works for one of those organizations – I’d say he’s retired though because his job is more like a hobby because he enjoys it so much. He’s always telling us about the inspirational Senior’s that he’s met while driving them to their medical appointments. He has regular clients that he takes the time to talk to and get to know. My dad has always been like that – friendly and interested in your story. I digress.
Every year for the past three years, I drive down to Toronto with the kids, and I run the Toronto Challenge 5k while the kids walk the 1k with my parents. This is pretty much the only 5k race I ever run – I usually prefer to run a longer distance race, and this is also the only race that the kids come to. They’ve come to call it: “Opa’s Race”. Usually my husband stays home to do husband/dad stuff, but this year he came down to cheer us on! The girls loved that! (Maybe next year we’ll convince him to walk with the girls).
The girls were super excited about their race, so they laid out their race gear before going to bed, just like mommy does 🙂 Brooke (my middle daughter) was the most excited, Sierra was ticked that she couldn’t stay home to roller blade, and Amber had no idea what a race was because she was only 6 mos and 18 mos the last two times we went to this race. They all eagerly got ready in the morning, and we made great time driving downtown and arrived at the start line super early – 90 min before the start! This gave the girls lots of time to play:
Then my parents arrived, and the girls eagerly ran up to Opa and Oma:
Before the race started, there was a great group warm up and a clown on stilts providing entertainment. Sierra was excited because he asked her to be his juggling assistant – I was able to snap up this pic of her playing catch with him:
Then it was time to race! I left my family to head to the 5k start, while they made their way to the 1k start. I’ve only run 2 or 3 times since the MEC half marathon last month because I’ve kind been lazy, and using my neck as an excuse. I have this really sharp pain in my neck when I turn my head to the left, look down to far, or look up too far. The muscles between my shoulder blades are also really tight. Sleeping causes me the most pain because I’m a tummy sleeper and need to turn my head to the side to breathe. I’ve been waking up numerous times a night due to pain and discomfort. My neck and back are all kinds of messed up but truthfully that’s just an excuse because it doesn’t hurt to run (unless I try to look back and see who’s gaining on me).
Anyways, I wasn’t expecting much from this race in terms of my performance, and was planning on doing it as an easy 5k training run. For those of you who know me, you know that I’m completely incapable of doing a race “easy”. The race atmosphere initiates my beast mode, and despite how hard I try to slow my legs, they seem to have a mind of their own on race day. Yesterday was no different. The start gun went off and my legs went crazy. I had lined up mid pack as an attempt to run easy. That didn’t work as shown by my race splits:
After running for 25 min even, I had 200m to go when I saw my daughters doing the 1k with my parents. I was so proud of them that I stopped running and grabbed their precious little hands and walked to the finish with them:
They were so excited to see me that I walked the last 200 m with them until the finish. I then had to separate from them to go through the 5k finish chute to have the volunteers remove my timing chip, and my daughters had to go to the 1k finish chute right beside the 5k chute. I grabbed cute little Amber and ran through the finish line clutching her with tears in my eyes – I have always wanted to finish a race holding one of my daughters but have never been able to because of the barricades (and my own competitive spirit). Finishing with my girls was such an incredible feeling!
After wards Amber kept asking to race more while we enjoyed apples, bananas, cereal bars, water and juice. Then we headed home. At bed time, my middle daughter Brooke hugged me and whispered that she was happy I had stopped running to walk with her. I whispered back that I was too and that I was so proud of her.
We love this race because of the community spirit – in this fast-paced life we all live, it’s great to see so many caring people working together to care for the elderly and raising money for the great community programs for the elderly in Toronto. We had a great time and I can’t wait for next year!
– How was your weekend?
– Did you race?
– Do you do fun runs with your kids?
– At what age can you start running with your kids to help them train to run a 5k?