Earlier this year Aimee said she wanted to run a race with me so we started looking for some 5k races! I came across the Heart & Stroke Foundation’s Ride for Heart on Instagram and noticed they had added a 10k and 5k run option. Since my mom has heart disease we decided this would be a cool race to do in her honour!
I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t like 5k races. (Okay–I guess I should also admit that I’ve done a total of one 5k race before this one!) It’s not the actual race but rather the distance that totally intimidates me. I’m not a speedy runner and it usually takes me a minimum of 7k to get into a groove and feel warmed up. I find myself spending the entire 5k whining in my head. I was excited to run with Aimee because I would have someone else to focus on and encourage rather than thinking about myself!
We got our race kits which I took no pictures of except this awesome one on Snapchat. I appreciated how they had ADULT on there just in case I forgot! LOL!
(I really need to take more pictures!) I wasn’t too thrilled we got a hat because I don’t wear them to run but Aimee & I decided we would wear them and picked black and white for the rest of our race outfits with the red hat!
Saturday I spent most of the day driving, standing and walking. I even wore heels for a few hours to a birthday party Saturday night so by the time I got to bed on Saturday night I literally felt like I already ran a race!!! I hoped that I would survive Sunday!
Aimee and I got up early Sunday morning to pouring rain. We got dressed, ate oatmeal (I had coffee, too) and packed extra clothes for bag check (that I never used of course! But I had three shirts, two pairs of shorts and capris JUST IN CASE!). We grabbed some yogurt and a bagel to share from Tim Hortons then headed to the train. Thankfully it had stopped raining already!
Since they close down the DVP & the Gardiner I didn’t want to bother with any potential traffic. The train was great because it gave us time to eat more food, drink water, pin our bibs on and go to the bathroom multiple times! We got off at Exhibition Stadium and headed for bag check.
Bag check was easy & I liked that they gave us decent size bags with stickers! I always feel a little worried that my number will rip off my bag when I pin it on! Anyhow, after we got rid of our stuff we headed to my favourite hang out spot before a race–the bathrooms! They had a ton and I never saw a line which is probably a miracle!
We had some time to kill so we went and sat down and took some more selfies.
As I was applying an extreme amount of Body Glide, I glanced up and saw really bright yellow shorts and as I looked at the back of the person wearing them I thought, “That looks like my sister! Wait…that other person looks like my mom!” I shouted at them, they turned around and sure enough–it was Mom and Cab! My mom had driven up from Pennsylvania to surprise us and run this race! She had registered and raised a ton of money without us having any idea! Aimee and I were so surprised–and I think Mom was shocked we actually found each other amidst the crowds!
We all went to the bathroom one more time and then we happened to run into some of my other friends who were running! We quickly got a picture together before heading to line up. (I can’t remember who I stole this picture from!)
The wait was pretty long before we started, but we got caught up with my mom in line. My mom hasn’t been running for very long and she was pretty nervous for her first race ever! Aimee was also nervous since it was her first race, too! She told me that morning that she wanted to get under 30 minutes and to not let her stop running no matter what! I asked her to please not yell at me and she said she would try not to! My sister agreed to jump in and run alongside my mom so that I could still help Aimee get her goal.
The 10k runners started first and then we slowly headed for the start. It wasn’t too long before we headed across the start line which I was apparently very excited about!
As soon as we crossed the start it was a slight incline up the Gardiner (boo!) and it was very apparent that a lot of the runners were actually walkers! I swerved around people, grabbing Aimee’s arm and dragging her along when necessary. I didn’t even make it one kilometre before I ripped my hat off because my head was so hot! They say to never try something new on race day–lesson learned! I got to carry it the rest of the way.
I was genuinely worried when we got to the first kilometre in 6:20 because I knew what pace we needed. I was kind of scared we wouldn’t be able to make up that time! Aimee was surviving so far and even had a smile on her face, so that part was good!
We hit the turn around and headed back toward the finish line! We had picked up the pace, but I was still the mother of the year when I told Aimee, “NO WATER!” as we got to the water stations. We didn’t have time for any of that nonsense! We made sure to look out for my mom and sister and waved at them when we passed.
After the turn around it got windy and we were running right into it which made it seem harder than it should’ve! As we got to about 3.5k Aimee turned to me and said, “Mum! I don’t like this anymore!” She looked so distraught and I felt so bad! I told her we only have one kilometre left, but she wasn’t fooled! “We haven’t even gotten to the 4 sign yet! We do not only have one left!” It wasn’t long before I saw the sign for 4km and pointed it out. I was still watching the time and knew that we were cutting it close! Eek!
I didn’t need to worry though–as soon as we got to the 4km sign, Aimee took off like a rocket. I was concerned for myself at this point as I wondered if I could keep up for an entire kilometre! She had ripped off her hat already, her hair was almost out of it’s ponytail and her headphone cords were tangled up in her race bib, BUT SHE DID NOT CARE! (According to my phone the last part of the race was run in sub 5:00/km)
We crossed the line together in 29:51 and I could not be more proud of Aimee! She didn’t love every second of the race but she had a goal and she didn’t back down from it. After she crossed the finish, she was glad she didn’t give up and I was grateful to have such an amazing kid! I’ve done a lot of races and a majority of them I have given up during when I didn’t feel like running anymore. Nothing like having your 12 year old (13 now!) teach you life lessons!
We didn’t wait for too long before we got to cheer on my mom as she crossed! Mom was around my age (OLD!! 35!) when she was diagnosed with heart disease and told that eventually she will need open heart surgery. So far, that has been kept at bay by medication, but someday it will happen. It was pretty special to have her there running with us at this race!
After the race we walked TEN MILES through the walkway to find our medals. It was actually kind of confusing (and annoying to me!) how you had to go to a certain area for your medals. Why they couldn’t just have them at the finish line is beyond me! We grabbed some food which I kept dropping everywhere but that’s another pet peeve of mine about races! Just stick everything in a bag and pass it to us! I simply can’t hold my phone, headphones, water bottle, an orange, banana, apple, a bagel with a knife and tiny butter packets without losing it all multiple times! (end rant…)
We headed for the bag check but accidentally almost headed into the wrong building. It was the VIP building but it was an honest mistake! The security guard outside the door was not happy with us as he pointed at each one of us individually and said, “NOT ALLOWED IN!” Oops! We found our way to the right building, got our bag and headed for the cars so we could go to brunch! (I think brunch after races could be why I keep signing up for them!)
This race was equal parts amazing and annoying!
- It was amazing to run with my daughter for her first race. It is something I will never forget!
- It was also amazing that my mom came and surprised us. I am a very suspicious person so the fact that it was an actual surprise was pretty cool!
- The charity for this race was also amazing. You can’t NOT be supportive of the Heart & Stroke Foundation!
The annoying parts are probably personal to me! Other than the medal hunt and the food dropping, there are just a few other things I didn’t love!
- The race pick up was okay, but no one seemed to know what was going on. It wasn’t my first race, so I knew what I needed so no big deal!
- I also really didn’t love running on the highway. It was actually kind of boring to me. I could see the CN Tower and other buildings in the distance, but the 5k race didn’t really get far enough to see much and I just didn’t love the course!
- About a month before the race, I got an email from the race letting me know that I hadn’t raised any money yet. It said something to the effect of, “if you’re not going to raise any money then let us know because other people want to run this race and can take your spot.” I knew when I signed up that I needed to raise money. I raised more than was required to run the race, but I hadn’t when they sent the emails out. The wording just rubbed me the wrong way!
No race is perfect, but getting to run with my family made this one special. I am so proud to have a family that supports my sometimes crazy ideas! It is even better when they get involved in them! I love you guys!