Sunday, May 3, 2009

Cops For Cancer 2009 Race Report

You know the saying "It's not the sleep you get the night before the race that matters, it's the sleep you get the night-before-the-night-before that really matters". This was certainly true for me. Last night I sprung wide awake at 1:00 AM in a cold sweat! "My bib, my frigging bib... I forgot to pick up my bib!". Don't ask how this is possible, it's embarrassing enough admitting to such a huge goof publicly, online no less. After pacing the house for ten minutes, now wide awake with no hope of sleep, I emailed race director, Nick Paulete.
"Dear Nick, I'm an IDIOT... blah, blah, blah...Is there any way I can run tomorrow?".
I returned to bed where the scenario rolled around the recesses of my brain, getting bigger and uglier as the night wore on. I woke from a half-sleep at 5 AM turned the coffee on and checked my email. There it was, an email from Nick, the sweetest email I have received in a long while:
"Hey Mike" says Nick, "no worries, I have your race kit for you at the merchandise table. Have a good run."
Needless to say, that one liner email made my day. Thanks Nick, you're the dude of the day!
Aside from that one blip the race was amazing, perfect weather (aside from the west wind down Portage Avenue), great companions, superb organization, more port-a-potties than I've ever seen at a 1/2 Mary race, and that amazing military fly-by at gun time. The water/ gator-aid stations were well managed with super cheerful volunteers. The crowds were thick and enthusiastic. All in all a perfect race. Thanks again Nick!
I held back at the start line for about 5 minutes -actually I was last to start- because I needed the solitude and elbow room. The big crowd was scaring me. I'm still a little wary on my calf injury (memories of Hypo). I ran the first 7 miles at a 9:00 - 9:30 m/m pace and then picked it up to 8:30 to 9:00 m/m pace for the remainder. My split time was about 1:05 at the half way so, for the first time ever, I managed a negative split. Average pace was 9:07 (no walks) with an overall time of 2:01. It ain't a PB, but man-oh-man, compared to the Hypo-thermic Half, I'm doing a happy dance!
The best part of the race for me was running the last three miles with Ana, a past student of mine. She's presently in grade 9 and was diagnosed with diabetes about 7 months ago. She's run numerous 10 k races at my run club, but The Cops for Cancer run was her first Half-Mary.
As you know, the last three miles is the most gruelling. If runners had cartoon thought bubbles you'd see hundreds of bubbles popping up at mile 11 reading "what the %$# was I thinking?!" Paradoxically, at mile 11 through 12 Ana was busy planning her next full half-marathon in June! It was gratifying seeing her sprint the last 300 meters to the finish line where her father greeted her with open arms.
Congratulations to my good buddies Doug McPherson, who came in first in the 55-59 age category with a time of 1:41:47, and Nazir Ahmad who came in second in the 65-69 age category with a time of 2:09:03. And a special congrats to running pal Laurie Lees for her amazing 1:59:30... a sub-2 hour... a sweet, sweet dream cometrue. Way to go all of you!
It feels good, amazing in fact, to be back in the running world. I feel quite at home with this group of winners, yes indeed, quite at home.
So dear friends, you know it... It was a great day to be alive.
PS...Race results can be found at:
Cops for Cancer


Pam said...

It was so awesome to see you out there Mike! I saw you slowly walking back to the start during Hypo and it broke my heart! Your love for running definetly keeps me inspired to get out there and continue to get better! Congrats on a great race, I would kill for a 2:01 :)

Unknown said...

Thanks for your kind words Pam. The Cops for Cancer was my come-back marathon. I loved every minute of it, even those soggy pancakes at the finish line! I've come to realize that running marathon is so much more than about the time. It's about living, and sharing a dream with thousands of other like-minded individuals. Have a great day Pam. See you on the pavement. Mike

Jen said...

Congratulations! I'm so glad you're back and ready for the next race. Sounds like such an amazing race. Fly over? Cool! I was sad to hear about your friend. It always seems like such a contradiction when a very active person has a heart attack. But I know it happens. So sorry for your loss. Good luck with the last bit of your training for the full coming up!

Unknown said...

Hi Jen, Yes it was a good race indeed. Thanks for your kind sentiments about Ted. he was very well known in the local running community and he stared many nervous runners on their road to a healthy lifestyle. He's gonna be really missed. Be sure to read the tribute this weekend. You'll learn a bit more about him. Thanks Jen, Hope your training is going well. Mike