Sunday, June 2, 2013

My Miracle Race

Mom and daughter before the race.

Yesterday I ran 21.1 kilometres in Whistler, British Columbia, and got a personal best, crossing the finish line in just under two hours. Today I can barely get up and down the stairs in my house without clinging to the handrails, but it was worth it.

I love running. I joined the cross-country running team in grade 11 because a friend encouraged me and I discovered that long distance running suited me. I’ve run ever since off and on.

At the time I didn’t really consider myself an athlete and I certainly wasn’t a sprinter, but I was stubborn enough to push through the pain and finish a long run. Also, I’m extremely competitive and so in team situations I easily became frustrated at others and myself. Since I’m not one of the elite racers, with running I’m basically competing against myself.

Sprinting to the finish after 21 km.
I run to stay fit, to stay sane (it’s a great stress reliever), and to have fun. And I sign up for races because I love the thrill of competition and because they keep me accountable in my training giving me something to work towards.

I ran my first half marathon — the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon — in June 2011. I finished in 2:04 and when I crossed the finish line I swore I’d never run another one. However, I quickly forgot the pain and signed up for the same race the following year. Unfortunately, I got shin splints a few months before the race and wasn’t able to run it.

This year, I signed up for the Whistler Half Marathon and tried to train very carefully, only increasing my distance every few weeks. Things were going well, and I ran two 18-km training runs and two 21-km training runs which both felt fairly comfortable. However, in the weeks leading up to the race my knees began hurting to the point where it was uncomfortable to walk.

I attribute the discomfort to a part-time job that requires me to be on my feet all day, but whatever the cause, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to run. In the week and a half leading up to the race I rested (except for work), iced my knees and took lots of Ibuprofen. I also asked my dad to give me a blessing. He blessed me that would be able to accomplish the goal I had been working towards as I ran the race responsibly.

I always get butterflies before a race, but this time I was extra nervous. However, when the race began I started strong and after a few kilometres didn’t notice the discomfort in my knee (probably dwarfed by adrenaline and other muscle aches).

The course was challenging with lots of hills, but it was also very beautiful. Whistler is a ski resort town nestled among majestic mountains, and so the scenery helped to make the run enjoyable.

Participating in a race with so many other runners always adds a charge of excitement. My mother and several other friends were among the crowd, and so was my dad who ran the 10-kilometre option. It’s so nice that running has become a family activity and that we can encourage each other in our training.
The most Swartzbergs we've had run a race together - St. Patrick's Day 5K.
Anyway, by the time I had about two kilometres to go, my legs were feeling pretty heavy but according to my calculations if I kept a steady pace I would accomplish my goal. I usually like to speed up for the last kilometre, but I didn’t have it in me until a lady told me there was 100 metres to go. Then I gave it all I had and sprinted across the finish line.

I finished with a time of 1:57:50 and came 314th overall. My average pace was about 5:37 per km, which I was pretty pleased with. And although it was still hard, I didn’t cross the finish line vowing never to run a similar race again, so that’s an improvement. I’m grateful that I was able to accomplish this goal, and now I plan to let my knee heal up and then get back to training for the next event!
The whole group from Saturday. Everyone finished!


Cassott Kinghorn said...

Good work Jade!

Becca Bingham said...

Way to go Jade! That first picture of you and your mom - wow you two look alike! Love it! This is so awesome. A 5k is the most I've ever done. I think it would be fun to do more, but training in the winter is not encouraging to me and then I keep getting pregnant! But then again, I am not that big a fan of long distance running. I do think it would be fun to do things like this with my sisters.