Training Crossing your first finish line: “This is a life-changing experience for me”

Crossing your first finish line: “This is a life-changing experience for me”


On Saturday, July 26, more than 150 runners participated at Track & Roll, a race put on by Lululemon and sanctioned by Athletics Ontario. The event, in its second year and held in Toronto, consists of the 100 meter dash, mile races and relay events, 4x400meters, for both men and women. One of the relay racers was Emily Tomisch, 25, who had never participated in a race before. In May, she’ll take on the marathon. This is her recollection of the event.


Q) What were you feeling as you turned the last leg of the race, finish line in site?
A) I was really excited. I couldn’t feel my legs, my whole body went numb, but everyone cheering me on … it felt exhilarating.

Q) It looked like you actually sped up.
A) I didn’t want to give up. I wanted to give it my all.

Q) As a new runner, what’s been your take on the running community?
A) I have a lot of friends who do marathons, and after my practice, every Thursday, I call them and tell them what I did. They’re all so proud of me. After the meet on Saturday, I called and said, ‘I did it.’ They know what it’s like to start, how hard it is, and I feel like they want to encourage me to keep up with the sport.

Q) Is it very hard?
A) It sucks, to be honest.

Q) So why keep on?
A) I’ve only been through about six weeks of training and that running high is just starting to kick in and now, when I have a bad day at work, I want to go home and run. Even on my lunch breaks I do a quick five minute run around the block. It’s something I look forward to all the time. I do still get a sore a bit the day after, but it’s a good sore.

Q) Any other injuries?
A) No. Just sore. I stretch more now throughout the day. I don’t sit at my desk, I stand, and focus more on my body. I also drink more water throughout the day now than I normally would.

Q) Any other changes?
A) On Thursday, around 4 p.m., I start thinking: I should go eat an apple. I’m not going to go to McDonalds and get a Big Mac because I know then I’ll feel terrible when I’m running.

Q) What was your goal for Saturday’s race?
A) To finish and not have to walk at all.

Q) You did that and more so. What was the key?
A) Just seeing everybody and hearing them cheer. Even though I don’t know them, I didn’t want to let them down. I was talking to other people at the meet and telling them it was my first race and everyone was giving me high fives and hugging me. I’ll probably never see them again, but they helped me, a lot.

Q) How did you feel before your race?
A) I was nervous, but I tried to calm myself down. Before I got to the meet, I sat outside, drank coffee, and read. But as I was walking up to the stadium and saw it was an actual meet and how professional the track looked — I’m from small town Northern Ontario and I’ve never seen a professional track before. It was intimidating, but now I can say I competed at the same event with all these professional athletes, that’s cool. For a first run, it’s inspiring.

Q) In our group you aren’t the fastest or most experienced runner, but you were the first to sign up for this race.
A) I know if I didn’t sign up I probably wouldn’t go out and do anything. I feel like I have to set all these little goals to prove to myself that I can do it. I’ve never been an athletic person and it feels great doing something that I’ve never done before. I’m surprising myself.

Q) You had some health concerns at the start. What were they?
A) I’ve always had heart palpitations and I recently found out my father, his mother, and her mother — three generations on my dad’s side — all have heart disease, and my condition is a precursor for heart disease. I went to my doctor and asked what I could do and he said don’t eat meat, don’t smoke, and exercise. I don’t smoke and don’t eat meat, now I’m trying to do cardio.

Q) Has it helped?
A) Since I’ve started running, my symptoms have decreased exponentially and my doctor is considering halving my medicine dose. It’s only been five weeks. I can’t even imagine what it’s going to be like when I’m running my marathon. This is a life-changing experience for me. I’m doing it for my health.

The average 5K finish time, according to Running USA, is 34:53 for a woman and 28:46 for a man. Granted, this includes speed racers and folks who’ve been doing this for years. Still, keep that in mind as a ballpark for how long the 5K might take. My group is attempting their 5K on August 16, so the goal is to keep building endurance. Run three times this week, and women, aim to stay out there for 35 minutes, men, 29, and gradually decrease the amount of walking you do. Next week we’re going to work in a hill session, but, for now, just make sure you get out there three times. And, like Brooks’ says, run happy. This is essential: more important than running for an extra minute per ten minute interval is that you make it out three times per week. By enjoying your run, you’re more likely to stick with it. More likely to build consistency, which is the most important thing a runner needs.

Who knows, it may just end up saving your life.