I have thought about this for a couple of years, but never had to deal with the reailty of it. You see, the CIBC Run for the Cure is a 5k race held the weekend before the Royal Victoria Mararthon. As far as training goes, a good 5k a week out is, in my opinion (although not shared by all people) a good idea. A strong effort for a short period of time, geting the body ready for the longer effort the weekend after. Recovery is pretty short and the kickstart to the lungs helps with the race following.
But here is the dilemma. I have always wondered if it is bad to win a charity race. Luckily for me I had not had to deal with this. Both previous times that I have run this race, there has been a faster person than me. This has meant that I could avoid that spotlight of being "first". Ah Victoria, where one can't even win a charity race.
Fast forward to last Sunday. A cold, rainy day in downtwon Vancouver. 12 000 runners huddling together in front of BC Place awaiting the starters gun. In Victoria I would have spent the morning catching up with friends and fellow runners, chatting away until the start of the race. Not knowing anyone in Vancouver I had performed my warm up on my own and now waited on the start line, quiet, listening to the fitness experts on stage leading the group warm up. I finished my strides, quietly looking around to see who else might be running hard on this day. In preparation for the marathon, I was wearing the same attire I would in a week's time, but this was in stark contrast to the ipod-ed runners on either side of me. I saw a couple of people that were also performing running drills in preparation for the start and wondered to myself if I should start next to them. But then I saw my nemesis and decided that I would start next to this runner.
Gordon Campbell didn't even wear shorts to the race. I lined up beside, him being all cocky - "Look, I am on the front line in pants! No one can beat me! Mwhahaha!" I waited patiently fro my opportunity to strike. However, with all the cameras around, I would have to wait until later in the race.
The gun went and we were off. In the first 50 meters there were about 5 of us - me, the lead woman, and three guys with cutoffs and ipods. Gordie was no where to be seen (ed. He had decided to pull out after the first corner. I think it was because the rain was causing him to melt).
At 100m it was me and the lead woman.
At 200m it was me and the lead car.
We're not in Victoria anymore.
I ended up winning the Vancouver CIBC Run for the Cure, finally having to face the question - is it bad to win a charity race? I mean, the whole point of the race is to raise money and awareness of a cause, not to go out and smash it. But, on this cold, rainy Sunday, a harbinger of the winter to come, I ran a PB of 15:58. I felt good throughout the run; controlled and strong. I did not repeat the mistake of a year ago, running the first kilometer much too quickly and paying for it in lactic acid in the last 3k. I am pleased with the result of the race and I am looking forward to Sunday.
To that end, training has been going well. My runs have felt good and I think I am ready. I am not sure that one is every really sure if they are ready for the marathon until they hit 30k of the race, but I am as prepared as I have been for the other two - much more prepared in fact. The 55k this summer in Iceland has prepared me mentally for the length of the race and the consistent training has been preparing the body. My nutrition during training has been taken care of by 7systems.ca and I am confident in my gear. It is taper time.