Members Run The Provincial XC Championships
Stewart Cup - the Provincial XC Championships
“Patience, Kim, patience,” I repeated over and over again in my head as I watched the girls around me surge ahead in a flurry of elbows and spikes. At my last cross country race I had gone out too fast - a 3:37 minute kilometre to be precise - and I was determined to learn from my mistakes. It takes a lot of balls to go out hard at the start of a race. It is a race tactic I appreciate and sometimes utilize, but for today I was practicing patience. It takes just as many balls and a whole lot more confidence to hold back and trust that you will make up the places later. Historically, I have not had a lot of confidence in my ability, but today I was out of my league and had nothing to lose anyway. Why not try?
I felt like I was moving in slow motion for the first kilometre. Was I moving at all? We rounded the pond at Hawrelak Park and my watch beeped to tell me I finished my first kilometre in 3:45. I gave myself a mental pat on the back - I had stuck to the plan. Adam was cheering from the sidelines and was surprised to see me trailing near the back of the pack. Was this strategy or lack of fitness?
Strategy – it was definitely strategy, but it was risky. Would I be able to make up the time later? Adam was not wrong to suspect lack of fitness – I had only started training again 2 weeks ago. However, as we headed out of the 1K warm up loop around the pond and on to the trail along the river I had already started moving up the pack. I was fit enough.
Off of the river trail and on to the grass we raced. And then over a hay bale. Wait – what is hay bale doing here? Last time I jumped over a hay bale I was firmly perched on my trusty steed, Torque. Horse show jumping was very much a part of my youth. In fact, I would say it bordered on obsession but time and money has made running a much more feasible hobby during my adult years. Still, I would like to think Torque was there with me in spirit as I sailed over the hay bales in one stride.
My watch beeped again as it alerted me I had moved on to my third kilometre of this 6K race. And with that beep my mantra changed from “patience” to “run hard”. With half of the race behind me it was now or never, so I found a new gear and picked up the pace.
Coming from a long distance running background 3K seems like the shortest distance in the world, but in that moment it felt unimaginably long and I am not ashamed to admit that there were moments where I wondered if I was going to be able to keep it together. I am proud to report that not only was I able to hold it together, but I was able to keep making up positions until the final stretch. As I ran down the finishing chute a blur of white shot past me. I tried to respond, but if there is one thing I lack it is a finishing kick. As we crossed the finish line the clock registered that I had finished in 22nd position – exactly .06 seconds behind the girl that had sprinted past me at literally the last second. Now that is what I call a close finish!
Those of you who know me may be surprised to hear that I am incredibly proud of finishing in 22nd place. I have long held the belief that the length of a runners shorts corresponds directly to their speed – the shorter the shorts, the faster the runner. Judging by the abundance of super shorty shorts and bun huggers present I was running against a truly elite field. I have found where all the fast girls run and I have fallen completely in love with the competition. I am nowhere near the front of the race (1st place finished 2 min and 17 seconds ahead!), but I am nowhere near the back either and this is a position I am very comfortable with. Running against fast people will only make you faster, and I have developed the need for speed. Hopefully soon I will have earned the right to wear shorter shorts.
~ Kim Collier