On Sunday, April 21st I completed my first 10k run. With bib secure, laces tied and ipod charged, I made my way to the starting point of the Toronto Yonge Street 10k. Despite the enthusiasm of the crowd, I was still quite nervous. Prior to this, I had not run any further than 6k and couldn’t help but wonder if I was truly ready.

Now, hours after crossing the finish line, I am still buzzing with adrenaline. Having predicted an excruciating experience, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the run was not only bearable but enjoyable. The euphoric “Runner’s High” I had heard of but never understood became a reality for me.

Having learned a lot from the experience, I am excited to sign up for my next run.

Spring months in Canada are unpredictable. Dress in layers and be prepared for all weather conditions. Gloves and a running jacket to protect from cold wind were especially vital at this run.

For me, smiling had a great effect on my performance. I chose to be happy and grateful for the opportunity to run. I didn’t think about my time, the blister on my foot or the hundreds of runners who finished before me. Instead I focused on the present and enjoyed the great view of the city.

Be thankful for the support around you. Volunteers and spectators came out to cheer you on, operate water stations and direct traffic. Thank them for their hard work.

I was honoured to run my first 10k with my mom by my side. As an accomplished runner, she has participated in many half marathons and 30k runs over the years. We motivated each other to keep running (and smiling) throughout the race and made sure we were keeping a sustainable pace.

Add a few new songs to your ipod and delete the overused ones that no longer get you pumped up. I found that adding just three new songs gave me a boost.

Don’t hesitate to enroll in a 10k. I doubted myself thinking that I wasn’t ready to run such a distance and ended up surprising myself in the end. If running the whole distance becomes a challenge, walk the last few kilometres.

Chances are you will do much better than you thought.

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