Race Recap: Sporting Life 10k 2013

sporting life 10k medial 2013To say I’m disappointed in my result from the Sporting Life 10K is the understatement of 2013. Not only did I not achieve the personal best I was hoping for, I actually almost achieved a personal worst for a 10km race. I added more than 4 minutes onto last year’s time in a race that I was confident I would absolutely crush.

So what happened?

On Friday, I woke up with a cold. A dry hacking cough, fever and sinus congestion. I hoped I would be better by Sunday, but I think I was actually worse. I’m competitive with myself, and I had a goal. So I decided running with this cold was better than not running at all.

I decided I would set out at race pace and see how I felt. If I had to pull back, I would. I burst out of the gates with 27,000 runners, ready to give it my all. After 1 kilometre, I knew there was absolutely no way I was going to be able to maintain my pace. I could barely breathe and had a painful side stitch. I ran as fast as I could maintain. I kept trying to tell myself that it was OK to go slower. After all, I was only competing against myself. But I kept pushing and every time my Nike+ app chimed in to remind me of my sub-par average pace, I felt increasingly more disappointed. Any chance of getting a sub-50 time was completely out of reach.

I finished the race with a time of 54:04.

I suppose I should be pleased that I finished the race at all given the conditions. Not only was I sick, but it was freezing cold and there was a fairly strong headwind the entire race, making the run that much more challenging.

But I felt crushed. Totally defeated.

I didn’t take any post race pictures like I normally would. I saw lots of people I knew running the race, but I didn’t stick around to talk. I just grabbed my bag and left. I didn’t think I could listen to conversations about great times and personal bests without bursting into tears. I felt like a big failure so I went home and spent the rest of the day moping and generally feeling bad – both physically and emotionally.

I guess I just got used to a track record of continual improvement. If you look at my races from the past year, I’ve either improved my time on repeat races, or achieved a new distance. There was always something to be proud of at the end. I’ve never been unable to attain my goal.

This race was a good lesson for me. For one, I need to learn not to be such a poor sport. Just because I didn’t succeed doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be able to be happy for other people’s triumphs. And secondly, I need to stop being so hard on myself. A year ago, a time of 54 minutes in 10km would have been something remarkable. Thinking back even further, I can remember when simply running 10km continuously without stopping was a huge achievement.

Also, this race isn’t all about me or my silly goal. The Sporting Life 10K helps raise heaps of money for kids living with cancer. Just participating in the race helps Camp Oochigeas, a fantastic organization that provides camp experiences for Ontario children and teens living with cancer. That’s something to feel good about.

There will be other races and other achievements in the future. Having a goal is great, but it’s not all about the number at the end.

Nike hosted an amazing Sporting Life 10km training program. To celebrate, they hosted a final party at Camp Ooch headquarters in Toronto. This picture was taken Thursday night when I was feeling healthy and optimistic.

Nike hosted an amazing Sporting Life 10km training program. To celebrate, they hosted a final party at Camp Ooch headquarters in Toronto. This picture was taken last week when I was feeling healthy and optimistic.


  1. Graham May 13, 2013 / 8:13 pm

    The test of a runner is not whether you improve your time on every race, but what you do after a bad run: feel sorry for yourself, or lace up your shoes and run again tomorrow? I believe you will choose the latter, and that’s why you are successful.

    • Miranda May 13, 2013 / 8:29 pm

      Thanks for putting things in perspective 🙂

  2. aprilcunningham May 13, 2013 / 8:16 pm

    I know what you mean about the continuous improvement… my last 10K I didn’t make a PR, and it was the first race that didn’t happen for me since I started running races 1.5 yrs ago! It definitely takes a bit of the joy out of the crossing the finish line. But you are right in focusing on the other parts that make running so great!!!

    Also don’t forget – putting illness and bad weather aside – you have been focused on long distance goals. A lot of people who “crush” their 10K times spend several months training for that specific goal.


    • Miranda May 13, 2013 / 8:29 pm

      A very valid point. I’ve been focused on long, slow distance running and only started thinking about speed mid-April. I kind of forgot about the having fun part of running too… must remember that next time!

  3. Sarah Millar May 13, 2013 / 9:24 pm

    OK, first of all you have the best husband in the world. I’m all choked up here.

    I’m sorry you had such a poor run, Miranda. I can only imagine how you felt afterwards.

    But, I think it’s important to remember you weren’t at 100%. The weather yesterday (especially that wind), did not help.

    Yesterday’s race was my first 10K. I clocked in at 1:05 according to my app, 1:06 according to the chip on my chest. For me, it was about the little things. This was the first time I ran the whole way. It was only the second time I ever ran 10K.

    I think it’s important we remember the small victories in every race. We’re not always going to get our best time or achieve our biggest goals. But by celebrating the little milestones along the way, it makes things seem a lot sunnier. For example, I’m sure under the conditions you ran yesterday, your 10K time was actually pretty darn good.

    And heck, you’re still running circles around most of us. Not that we mind. 🙂

    • Miranda May 13, 2013 / 9:39 pm

      I know. He’s great, isn’t he? Sarah, congrats on your race. I’ll never forget my 1st 10km race and the amazing feeling of accomplishment when I was over that finish line. You are amazing.

      I was just very dead-set on a goal and felt like I failed – especially when I know that under different circumstances, I would have succeeded.

      Anyway, you’re right. Time to focus on the little milestones. Best sick 10km I’ve ever done! hah.

  4. Chris May 14, 2013 / 7:23 am

    I went out and cheered outside my apartment and let me say that I’m glad I wasn’t running!

    In case you didn’t notice, the finish times for the Sporting Life 10K were not good among the better runners. They were MUCH slower than the Yonge Street 10K, which ran 3 weeks earlier in far better conditions. Do yourself a favor and check out the results, you’ll feel better knowing that even the best of runners couldn’t break 30 mins in the Sporting Life and six did it in the Yonge St.

    Yonge St: http://www.canadarunningseries.com/results/2013/tys10k/tys10k.htm
    Sporting Life: http://www.chiptimeresults.com/resultsreader.php?y=2013&r=SportinglifeS.htm

    Same distance, huge time difference!

    • Miranda May 14, 2013 / 7:49 am

      A very valid point, Chris. Thanks for that. Definitely not ideal racing conditions.

  5. Sporting Life May 14, 2013 / 9:38 am

    My name is John Roe and I am the Director of Marketing and Advertising for Sporting Life. I have been looking after our 10k for nearly 9 years now. We too are not impressed with what happened yesterday and please all be aware that we are going to do what is neccessary to enure that our “little run” that could will live up to your expectations. We do listen to our customers and we do react when reaction is needed. We will take the steps nesseccary to make the run/race the quality event it should be.Our goal has always been to have an experience for aspiring and competeing runners while raising a lot of money for Camp. Both can co- exist

    Thank you and keep the posts coming. we are watching and we are listening.

    • Miranda May 14, 2013 / 11:52 am

      Hey John. Thanks for your comment. My disappointment was really more personal than anything, but I do appreciate you reaching out to runners with a response to the issues many experienced in the race. I knew many runners who were affected by the finish line backlog, so it’s good to know that race organizers are listening and responding.

      That said, I will say that I thought the staggered start times were good this year. I felt like I had room to move as opposed to last year when I was running shoulder-to-shoulder with other runners.

  6. Rod Diaz May 16, 2013 / 4:01 pm

    I once heard that it is our losses the ones that teach us the most, not our victories.

    Don’t feel bad for not doing a PB. Everyone has had one of those days, even the elites (otherwise there would be world records every day). It is what you learn from this experience what will make you become a better runner. I have been running for several years now, and from time to time I still have “one of those days” when I run (when ‘something’ did not quite go as expected). It is quite normal.

    One more thing: you are doing awesome! I wish I had such dramatic improvements when I was just starting to run! Let this experience be part of the motivation that will fuel you to a new PB on your next race! 😀

    • Miranda May 17, 2013 / 1:18 pm

      Thanks for the comment Rod. Really appreciate it. You’re right. Every race can’t be my best race! That’s an impossible standard to maintain.

      PS – your comment was my 200th comment on this blog!

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