While I enjoyed the Beaches Jazz Run 5k I was a little disappointed in my time (28:12) because I KNEW deep down that I could do better based on my training. At the same time I also knew that I had honestly done my best on that particular day so I was still pleased with the day!
The Monday after the Jazz Run I saw a series of 5k races that were really cheap but they were in Hamilton. It got the idea in my head that I could run another 5k right away and see if I could do better, but I really didn’t want to drive that far!
Later on that same day I saw a tweet by Run Ajax and remembered that they were doing FREE chip timed 5ks during the summer and the next one was on Thursday! I am already signed up to do the half marathon in September so I thought why not go run 5k with them too!
Anson said he would come run it with me so on Thursday we headed over to Rotary Park. Anson told me that he knew I could do faster than I had at Jazz Run and he thought it was because I put so much pressure on myself to do it. (He was probably right!) He said he knew I was gonna do it tonight and was really super encouraging about it! He definitely had more confidence in me than I had in myself!
Traffic wasn’t awesome but we still arrived in plenty of time. We checked in, filled out some info about ourselves & were given a velcro ankle strap with the chip timer inside and a number on the outside.
I grew up in Ajax and last year did my longest run along the lakefront so I knew it wasn’t going to be a flat run. I wasn’t really “feeling it” and started telling myself that it was gonna be a slow run and it didn’t matter about my time. I went to the bathroom a couple times (not too surprisingly!) & then we lined up to watch the kids run their 500m run! Watching the kids race through the finish as fast as possible really helped to put a smile on my face! If only we could all run like kids do–full out without a care in the world!
As soon as the kids finished we got closer to the start and were on our way–uphill. Before the run I had the idea to not use my phone so I wouldn’t know the pace, but that idea was fleeting! I was glad I didn’t though because it helped me slow down for that first km and not go crazy!
It was a beautiful night along the lake. It felt a bit muggy, but not too hot. As we went up and down the rolling hills I felt surprisingly okay. Anson & I talked for a little while but mostly ran in silence. When we got to the parking lot to the lake off of Harwood we were greeted by a massive crowd of people looking for Pokemon. It was quite funny to see so many people staring at their phones while slowly walking around as we ran by!
The kilometres were clearly marked and at the halfway point there were cones and a volunteer giving high fives to everyone as we rounded the cones. Shortly after the turn around they had a table and a couple people passing out cups of water. (Let’s just pause a moment to realize that this run was FREE!) I took a cup of water, pinched the top and took a drink. You know when you’re swimming and you accidentally swallow water and it’s as if it goes the wrong way up into your nose? Yeah, that’s what I did. I tossed my cup and I coughed, sputtered and wished I hadn’t tried to take a drink!
As we got to the 3km mark (I think!) there was a decent uphill and I found myself beside a young guy running. I seriously wanted to walk but there was no way he was beating me up that hill, so I kept running, passed him and continued on past the Pokemon players one more time!
I knew the finish line was downhill after the last hill, but it surprised me how fast it came up on me when I rounded the corner. I could see the time ticking on my phone and was hoping I would be under 27 minutes. I sprinted as hard as I could muster (it was probably way faster in my head!) and crossed the line in 26:53 (26:46 chip time). I am still pretty pumped with my improvement since my 5k time last year was 29:07. I had wondered if I was actually getting better & it turns out–I AM! (happy dance!)
After the race they were passing out popsicles which were surprisingly amazing in the heat! They also had a table with cups of water set up which was much appreciated!
I had a great idea before the run that we would go grab something to eat after, but we were so sweaty that there was no way we were going anywhere that other people might have to smell us!
As we headed home, Anson & I talked about how great the run was. We weren’t expecting much since it was a free run and we were honestly so impressed! Check in was quick & painless, the start went smoothly even though there were 127 runners and a small path, the course was well marked and the fact that they had a water station was amazing! They even had photographers on course taking pictures!
I am truly looking forward to running the Run Ajax Half Marathon in September. If it is half as well done as their free runs, it will be a great day! It is a beautiful course & the price is great, so if you’re looking for a fall half you should check it out!