Can’t. Stop. Smiling.

Me and Mel (a.k.a. @Consuming_Copy), at the end of the Yonge Street 10k.


Deep breaths.

Breathe in.
Breathe out.

Breathe in.
Breathe out.



These were the thoughts that I kept repeating to myself this morning as I stood in the yellow corral waiting for the gun to go off, signifying the start of the Yonge Street 10k.

While I often use this ritual to calm my nerves before a race, today was a little different – I didn’t have any nerves. Quite the opposite. I was stoked to be running a shorter race than my previous two outings, and was looking forward to reminding myself how Yonge Street felt, given that I knew I’d be back there in 2 weeks to run the full marathon. The ritual was to focus my energy and put my mind on the race. It helped me visualize the run, and remind myself that it was a fun run, a short run, and one that I knew I could crush.

A message from Mel before the race started 🙂

I won’t pretend, however, that there weren’t any nagging doubts in my mind. What if my legs aren’t up to it today? What if all my carbo-loading from yesterday was too much? What if there is a disturbance in the force1? There were also questions about how I wanted to approach the race? Should I aim for a personal best? Or should I take it easy and just enjoy the run? So many questions.

The ritual helped clear my mind and focus on the task at hand. The task – to run – run without injury, run without pain, run whatever pace was comfortable, and most importantly, run for fun.

Before I knew it the gun had gone off and I was crossing the starting gate. I thought of nothing except running, taking in the scenery around me2, and just enjoying the day. As always, the air was electric. With 15000 participants, it’s no surprise.

When RunKeeper announced the time for my first kilometre, I was a bit shocked. Four minutes, fifty-one seconds. That seemed fast considering it was the first kilometre which, due to congestion, is usually much slower. The next kilometre also came as a shock. Four minutes, eighteen seconds. My third kilometre blew my mind. Four minutes, six seconds.

What was going on?

This run is going to stay with me for a while. Personal best 10k. W00t!

Whatever the reason, I wasn’t going to argue with it. My legs felt good, my lungs felt strong, everything was moving smoothly. And better still, I was smiling and having a blast. I flew by person after person and was amazed at how good I felt. Runner’s high hit quite early as well, and continued in waves for the duration of the run. Amazing. I tried not to get too excited for fear of crashing.

Reality began to sink in when I finally realized that something had messed up with RunKeeper. It’s measured distance was off from the 7k signpost I passed. And it was off by an entire kilometre. That’s right folks, RunKeeper was informing me that I’d already finished 8k, even though the signpost was reading something completely different.

Normally this would have been demoralizing. But today, not so much. I reasoned that if my average pace given the distance error was 4:08 (which is what my trusty RunKeeper app kept telling me), my real pace would be around 4:30. That was still faster – much faster – than I had expected to run today.

Holy Shit. I thought. I might actually run 10k in 45 minutes! I tried to keep this thought out of my mind and just focus on the run.

Before I knew it the finish line was in sight. I could see from where I was that the gun time was 45 minutes and 45 seconds. I bolted. I was going to cross that finish line in less than 46 minutes, or I was going to fall on the ground in a rather dramatic fashion after tripping over my own feet, hands a-flailing and spectators sucking in all the air around me as a result of their collective and horrified gasp. Fortunately, I had ample energy, my legs felt strong, and I flew past the finish line with a few seconds to spare.

Holy freaking hell I felt amazing. Amazing to the Amazing. I still feel amazing. In fact, I think I’ve been walking around with a stupid grin on my face since I crossed the finish line.

Anyway, the final results of the race were posted. I squeeed when I saw them.

Reid ended up winning the 10k race with a ridiculously awesome time of 28:35.

Out of 5186 individual 10k runners (the other 10,000 or so being wheelchair athletes, walkers, or on a team), I placed 692. Unfreaking real. This is by far my best showing ever.

My chip time was 45 minutes and 10 seconds which translates to a pace of 4:32 per kilometre. This is definitely a personal best. In fact, it represents an improvement of about 4 minutes over my previous best 10k. Crazy!

I also placed 83 of 354 (top 25%) males that were aged 35-39; my age group. In terms of all the males who ran, I placed 545 of 2280 (top 25%). Absolutely awesome.

I had planned on running more today – in prep for the marathon in 2 weeks – but have decided not to push it. I’m going to take the rest of the day off, and probably tomorrow too, and then attempt a long, slow, training run on Tuesday.

For now, I’m just going to sit here and continue smiling like an idiot because I ran 10k today, and it was absolutely awesome.

1 Also known as Runner’s Runs. See here for more hilarious detail. Actually, you’re probably best not knowing.

2 Which included storefronts along Yonge, as well as some very very fine bottoms3. Ha!

3 I really want to ask some of these fine-bottomed-folks how they manage to have such fine bottoms given all the running4, because I am seriously missing something5.

4 I will probably never ask. Maybe.

5 The missing ingredient in my bottom equation is bottom. Ha! It’s funny because I have a tiny runner’s bum6.

6 Even my doctor agrees.


6 Comments Add yours

  1. Melanie Epp says:

    I’m so glad I could be a part of this AWESOME day 🙂 We both got our personal bests!

    1. dangillis says:

      We rocked. Thanks again for talking me into it 🙂
      And thanks again to Alex for carting our sorry (yet fine) asses around.

  2. Rick says:

    Both of you are awesome! I’ll use the energy of your great races for my upcoming (and extremely frightening) half marathon :S. On another note, that’s quite the example of footnotes within footnotes within footnotes.

    1. dangillis says:

      I got footnote happy.

      And you’ll rock the half marathon. Rock it I says. And if you start feeling like you aren’t your normal awesome self, just remember that I’ll be running twice the distance on the same days you do your half marathons.

  3. justinbrewsbeer says:

    You are a tank entirely fuelled by awesome-sauce. Congrats on the race and the time!

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