This week I had to choose between being crowned National Champion at the Canadian 10,000m Championships - in which I was the only registrant and would therefore win by default - or entering the 5,000m as the second slowest runner, with a PB almost a minute off the standard. Any reasonable person would wonder why this was a decision worth contemplating - after all, who would even consider the latter as an option? Well, my friends, I take this opportunity to introduce myself, G.I. Jane Coolis: guts over glory.
You see, I am a distance runner at heart ('the longer the better' has always been my motto - I know, that's-what-she-said) but I have come to realize that running fast over long distances - as much as I hate it - can greatly benefit from some good 'ol speedwork. So after running my first marathon in May, I turned my eyes to the track for the summer in order to build my strength and (if things went my way) demolish some old PBs. For me, this meant swallowing my marathoner pride and busting out a lung-bursting, leg-burning 85s 400m repeat my first workout in, behind the chirping and giggling of the fresh-legged varsity girls. Guts, guts, guts.
Why did I make the decision to run the 5,000m then, you might ask? Well, first of all in order to actually win the 10,000m I would have to run it. Ok I guess that point was fairly obvious. However, it would mean completing 25 long, slow, painful laps completely on my own - with all eyes on me, and ONLY me. Now this is the Canadian Championships, so the spectator count isn't exactly staggering, but I would still be somewhat terrified having everyone wait around for an extra 36-37 minutes while I 'jog' (from a spectator's point-of-view, especially after watching heats of the 800m) around, around, around, around and around. 25 times over. Second, my goal this summer was to PB over 5,000m, so somehow running a slow 10,000m wasn't quite justifiable. I originally did want to run the 5,000m at Nationals, but knowing I would be far off the entry standard, the only way to qualify would be to medal at the top-3 qualifier meet at York in June. I ran the Ottawa Marathon at the end of May and took the next two weeks off, so this clearly was not in the cards. I had barely done an interval workout let alone prepared myself for a track race at this point in time. So really, getting the option of running the 5,000m instead of the 10,000m - despite the last-minute notice - was a magnificent way of sneaking in to the race and having the opportunity to run a fast time, simply by trying not to come last!
So the race is two days away and my anxiety has skyrocketed knowing I will be on the start line besides Olympian Megan Wright (formerly Megan Metcalfe), seeded a good two-and-a-half minutes ahead of me...not to mention all the other fast chicks between me and her! That being said, I look forward to being pushed to a PB, whether I come last or not!