I almost backed out a handful of times due to pre-race nerves – mainly worrying about how I would get downtown before 7 o’clock in the morning (it would be difficult traffic to navigate by car, so my only other option was trying to figure out the bus routes; my main concern being whether I would get there in time). Thankfully one of my friends was also doing the run, and she so kindly offered to pick me up and drive us to the bus station together!
So off we drove – in complete darkness as the sun had yet to rise. One lone bus appeared at the station, which was already jam packed with people all heading downtown to do the Army Run. The two of us watched in stunned horror as the bus grew increasingly full of boarding passengers before we decided “every man for himself!!” and managed to squeeze our way in! I stood pressed up against the door. There were still a few more runners waiting to board the bus at its first stop of the journey, but the bus had already reached sardine can status! As we headed downtown we passed station after station loaded with runners all in their Army Run gear who looked absolutely mortified by the sudden realization that they would have to wait for a later bus to come pick them up and take them downtown. Hopefully OC Transpo will be better prepared next year! It’s a big race, even myself as a newbie runner was all too aware of that!
It was a short walk to City Hall from there, and we had plenty of time to check in our bags, meet up with a couple other friends who were also doing the run, seek out our starting corral, and take some Instagram pics while we waited! 😛
What a beautiful run it was, jogging through the heart of downtown Ottawa, past the Parliament Buildings and alongside the Rideau Canal. Though first we had to pass through hotels and restaurants where breakfast smells permeated the air! It was at this moment that my stomach regretted not being able to handle the food I had offered it at 5am before leaving the house. 😉
I amazed myself by actually being able to run the entire 5k for the first time without taking any walking breaks!!! However, I was going a bit slower than usual due to the fact that I had placed myself in the slowest group of runners/walkers/people with strollers because I knew I wasn’t a fast runner. The downside of that was finding out I wasn’t that slow of a runner, and continually having to expend energy navigating around people. Next time I think I will choose a starting corral at my goal speed, stay to the side and let the faster people go around *me* – that would not only allow me to maintain a good pace, but also encourage me to push myself a little harder to keep up. 🙂
I managed to finish the race at not my fastest time: 37 minutes and 5 seconds. While disappointed that I did not achieve a PB during this epic run, I nonetheless found myself caught up in the exhilaration of the experience as a whole. The determination of all the runners, the passion we felt for our race, the pride we all felt crossing that finish line. It was such a warm and uniting event to be able to participate in. I remember hitting the 4k mark and actually thinking to myself whimsically that soon this would all be over. It all passed by too quickly!
Afterwards I managed to find my little group of friends and we walked to a pub for some brekkie. I enjoyed a plate of Eggs Benedict with some delicious fresh fruit, and we sat and chatted. After our little break we headed down to watch the half-marathon runners come in, as we knew someone doing the race.
We stood and cheered as we watched the runners go by – it was just so amazing to see! After completing a 5k and then watching all these people on their TWENTIETH kilometre, it boggled the mind! And I had to chuckle as we cheered them on – shouting encouraging statements like “you’re at the home stretch now, guys!” – as I imagined myself in their shoes just thinking to myself, “Yeah, yeah that’s easy for you to say, 5k runners!” 😛 They all looked so exhausted – as anybody doing 4x a 5k rightfully should be! – it was humbling to see. And inspiring. I couldn’t help but wonder if that could be me doing the half-marathon one day. Imagine how proud I would feel!