Another year, another Pacific Spirit 10 km run. I was rather disappointed with my time (1:03:37.9; pace 6:22 per km¹). I really have no idea why I was so damn slow- it’s difficult to tell really how fast you are going because (a) it’s a trail run, so you are weaving all around the trails rather than running on straightaways and that makes it hard to gauge your speed, (b) there are other people all around you running at a variety of different paces, which also makes it hard to gauge your speed. I suppose the most logical explanation is that last year, I ran the half at the Vancouver International Marathon the week² before the Pacific Spirit Run, so I was at my peak fitness level; this year, I’m only partway through my training for the Scotiabank half marathon, which isn’t until the end of June, so I’m not up to the shape I’ll be in by the time the marathon comes around. Alternative hypotheses as to why I sucked at the PSR this year include:
- I ran with Marla, my 3rd generation iPod, which is larger than the 2nd gen iPod I ran with last year. The extra weight of the larger iPod significantly weighed me down.
- the race shirts were, inexplicably, comically large and all the extra fabric of my so-called “small” shirt weighed me down.
- the 10 lbs I’ve gained since this time last year weighed me down.
- my bib number was 1200. Having such a distinguishable number was too much for me and I choked under the pressure.
- I spent too much time thinking about the fact that I was running while I was running. Usually in a race I get “in the zone” and I don’t even think (that much) about the fact that I’m running (although, quite honestly, I have no idea what I usually think about). Thinking things like “Dear god, I’ve been running for 50 minutes and I still have TWO MORE kilometres to run??” makes you really feel tired.
- age-related sarcopenia.
On the plus side, I did beat *everyone* in the females aged 65 and over category. Take that, grannies!
I still had a great time, though, despite my sucky performance. It’s a beautiful forest to through and it’s always³ nice to see the volunteers cheering you along at every turn. But, by and large the best part of the race is the race food they give you after you cross the finish line. Sure, it’s just oranges, bananas, mini-muffins and yogurt – stuff you could eat on any given day – but after a race it is the most delicious food you’ve ever eaten in your life. Psychologists will tell you4 that one’s motivation for things is enhanced when they are in a state of deprivation – acquiring food is more gratifying when you are really, really hungry. And thus, race food is the tastiest, tastiest food you will ever eat. You’ve never had oranges so succulent, muffins so fulfilling or yogurt so divine as the ones you scarf down before you even leave the food tent. “Bananagasm” was how one of my teammates described it. After the banagasms, we went to Enigma for a team brunch, which was awesome. The food there was excellent; the coffee, doubly so6. And it’s so nice to just hang out with the team, some of whom I haven’t seen since we ran this race last year. Since we don’t all run together (everyone else on our team is *much* faster than me), having the brunch after makes it feel more like a team thing. Props to Dr. Kim for organizing the team and the brunch!
And thanks, again, to my 9 sponsors, who helped me raise $291 for dementia research (our team, as a whole, raised $1,091.00). It’s going to a great cause!
¹Compared to last year’s time of 58 minutes, 47.8 seconds (pace = 5:53 minutes per km)
²I just typed this as “weak.” Freudian slip!
³Well, except for when you hurt your foot and have to limp the last 6 km of a half marathon. Then the cheers of the volunteers saying “You are doing a great job,” even though you know you aren’t, leave a bitter taste in your mouth.
4In fact, psychologists DID tell me, at our post-race team brunch. I ran on the Brain Research Centre team, so was surrounded mostly by brain scientists. You know how people will say “it’s not brain surgery”? These guys *do* brain surgery5. I <3 brain scientists!
5We all agreed that doing surgeries was far and away the most fun part of grad school.
6This may, of course, have been part of the bananagasm phenomenon