Blah, BLah, BLOG
Registered! That is how it all started, our friend (and my guide) Jodi posted on Facebook that she had registered for the Cowichan Autumn Classic 1/2 Marathon. Of course I had to check out the event on line. The description of the event sounded like the perfect run: mostly trails, the Zanata Winery wine tasting and great . After getting some information from the race director and Jodi, I decided that I could run this event without a guide. I needed a little help, you will be surprised to know, that help was done by an app called RunGo. A few years ago Chris and I were at the BMO Vancouver Marathon event and at the expo we met Craig Slagel, the founder of RunGo. It wasn't till after the event that I had downloaded the app and had used it on some of my routes while training. Since then, I got a new phone and the app went dormant. This summer I revisited the app and decided to do my training with this app. I did not realize how big of a role this app would be for my running.
Jodi registered for the 1/2, I registered for the 10K knowing that this will be a test for myself and the RunGo app. Typically, the night before the event I decided to download the route for the race, after several attempts, I could not get it onto my app. It was too small for me to see and I was frustrated that I could not do it, finally I gave in and messaged Craig asking for help, really not expecting a quick response. The next morning, I was pleasantly surprised that Craig had my route downloaded and ready to go! I was thrilled! This meant I could run with more confidence and I won't get lost in the trails.
We pick up our race numbers (Chris was able to register for 10K on the day) and it was raining heavily, but our spirits hadn't dampened. We were eager and optimistic that the run will go well. Chris and I went to our positions at the start line, I decided to go in the middle of the pack. I was carrying my cane folded up and wore my "BLIND" vest in hope to help others be aware of my running situation. The gun goes off, I slowly paced behind some costumed runners and decided to hang behind them till I felt comfortable to pass. At 17 min/km pace, I felt I can comfortably pass some runners as they were going too slow. So I passed a couple more, and kept going till I was running at 6:45 min/km pace within 2km of the race. I decided to stop at water stations so I can safely walk through the crowded areas without too much trouble. Nearly 3km into the run, we hit the trails, I was feeling good and the app was directing me flawlessly. My confidence grew and so did my pace. It seems like I was running as if I have no vision issues at all. I was able to run freely as I let the app guide me. It was liberating. The leaves carpeted the trails in a dizzying blend of reds, oranges and yellows which made it difficult to navigate. I needed to follow someones feet to get me through the roots, puddles and branches or any other obstacles for that matter. I found a Mutant Ninja Turlte to follow for awhile, then a bumble bee and finally I found some bright Wonder Woman booties to follow, but she was too far ahead and still a group of people to pass, so I run patiently. I stopped for a quick view on the bridge, looking down the small canyon with a raging creek below. Just then I realized that I am losing sight of my nemesis. As soon as I went around the half way point I bolted pass several runners to find Wonder Woman, she was gone!! So I decided just to run and be happy with the pace and forget about her. Just then someone said to me, "nice cosume, blind runner!" I quickly repied, "I wish that were true, it is not a costume."
and bolted past him. That alone, got my pace to a furious speed and sped past some more runners and at 7km, I saw her. I couldn't believe she was within my reach. My app chimed "7K at 6:15 pace, way to go!". I know it is silly, but I was motivated by this, so back to chasing Wonder Woman I go. I have not ran this pace in years. In fact the last 10K I ran was 1hr30min. I knew I was going to beat this time, my hope was to finish at 1hr.15min. I was feeling great at this point, I was tailing behind her at about 150 meters from the finish line, I unleashed the cane and steadily ran towards the finish line, still right behind Wonder Woman. I was estatic I had finished with no stumbles, trips, falls or bangs. It felt like I truly raced my best race. Thank you Wonder Woman and RunGo!
I got my medal, a wine glass with red wine. Not a bad way to finish a run! I headed towards the finish line to see Chris come in. I recognized his running style and my face broke into a smile of joy, his face said it all, it was a good run for him too. This brought me such gratitude and completeness. End of a perfect day.
PS. - Zanata Winery has a wonderful little Italian restaurant that we are
surely to visit in the near future.
- I highly recommend the RunGo app. It is Android and iOS friendly (including Apple Watch)