It’s good to be reminded every once in a while that there can be joy in struggle. Not struggling against something, but struggling with something, and enjoying both the process and the outcome. That’s the experience I had at the Downtown Dash 10K race last Thursday. I ran hard, pushed myself a bit, and enjoyed both the process and the outcome.
This was a small race in terms of numbers. There were probably about 100 runners in it. The route consisted of two 5K loops on downtown and nearby residential streets in the small city of Burlington, Ontario. Road surfaces were good for barefooting, though not quite as smooth as I’d expected. It was a good race, well-organized and well-attended. The fact that it was an evening race (start time was 7:30 PM), was a bit odd for me, but it worked out OK.
In fact, it all worked out very well indeed. I run barefoot, shirtless, and watchless, so I was really comfortable. My wife and Kelso, our greyhound, were there as my support and cheerleading team, which is always wonderful for me. My good friend Pierre M. showed up for his very first race (since running track in high school forty years ago, anyway), which was really nice. And the weather was hot (25C, felt like 28C) and a little bit humid, which was perfect for me.
I ran the race the way I’d planned to, getting to a steady, brisk pace quickly, and holding it until about the 5K mark, when I picked it up a bit. Then, at the 8K mark, I picked it up slightly again, and held that until I crossed the finish line. The result of that strategy was not only a new PB (2 minutes and 23 seconds faster than my previous PB for the 10K), but a negative split as well!
The only downsides were very, very minor – the finisher’s medal was a little cheesy and the organizers had run out of t-shirts by the time I got there. But the post-race food was good (skewers of bbq’ed chicken and beef, bean and potato salads, as well as the usual fruit and water). And there was a misting station at the finish area, which I thought was absolutely fantastic.
Next up is the Dundas Cactus 10K on August 21. I’m really looking forward to it!