Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Toronto Women's Half Marathon

Toronto ON
Bib # 649 (like the lottery!)
Chip time: 2:07:55
Official time 2:11:29
Pace 6:06
Place 459/1162
Gender Place same as above....all women!
Category Place 92/216
There it is, the coveted necklace that started it all!

To say that this race was a hot mess wouldn't be much of an understatement. It was hot, and by the end I was a mess! LOL On Friday I drove into Toronto to pick up my race kit and find the race area. My plan was originally to have Derek drive me in on Saturday (I hate driving downtown Toronto, it's way to distracting for me as a driver!) but he had plans to go golfing so I sucked it up and drove myself in when I left work at noon. The trip took me over 3 freakin' hours due to traffic, my GPS selecting the wrong Leslie St and more traffic! Add in to the mix the fact that I had to pee like crazy and couldn't find a single Tim Horton's to duck into, this was a real crap afternoon!
I'm sure that you can imagine what horrors awaited me in this park washroom!
Saturday I spent most of the day cleaning and reading The Girl on Fire. I spent way too many hours reading and went to bed far too late. It was past midnight when my brain finally shut off and I was able to get to sleep (poor Katniss & Peeta!). The alarm went off at 5am and I was just not in the mood to get up. And my tummy hurt. This was not shaping up to be a good day. I woke up Derek and my nephew Christian (he's 8 and wanted to come and cheer me on at the race which is super cute because even my kids can't be bothered to get up early and come out for me) and we were on the road just past 6:30am. They dropped me off at the park and went to have some breakfast while I hit the porta potties, checked my bag and waited to meet up with Marina. In the meantime I met Lyndsey from Daily Mile and another girl name Jennifer who I had no idea was even on my friends list until I came back home and saw her race posted. Weird! After we all met and chatted a bit we started over to the start area. We soon found that there was no way to get into our corral (#2 Green) so we had to push in with the last corral and move our way up. First race fail of the day. Finally our gun went off and we were running. There was a ton of congestion and our first km was way too slow, but I assured Marina that we would make it up in the next km and we did. I will say right here and now that I did not like this race course. It was all out and back, out and back, out and back and the conditions of the path at times were really bad. I also did not like running all over the crappy wooden bridges, and the smell coming off the water?! UGH! Add in that the path was not closed off to the public and at places super narrow it was really hard to move around people. At times that affected my pace for sure! I also didn't like that I could see the KM markers for the other side. At one point I had lost track of what point in the race I was at but remembered seeing 16K so I figured I was getting close to the end. Then I passed the 13K marker and was crushed! Here I was thinking that I had 5 more to go and I wasn't even 2/3 of the way there. Fail #2! This isn't to say that it was a bad course though. Everyone else that I've spoken to seemed to love it. Maybe it was more to do with my head and heart not being in the race 100% that I'm downplaying it all? Who knows.
For an advertised 'mostly flat course' this sure doesn't look flat to me!

Marina and I ran together up until the 10K mark where I pulled ahead of her. I'm pretty sure that she was trailing  behind me for longer than that though. Every time I looked back to check on her she would say "Don't worry, I'm just following your ponytail!"
Note bobbing ponytail aka race beacon

I then saw her a bit later at another out & back and she gave me the thumbs up so I'm glad that I didn't go out to fast for her. I was a little worried that I may have burned her out.  It was also at the 10K point where my legs started to get so sweaty that my IT Band Wrap wouldn't stay up any longer and my IT Band let me know how unhappy it was with this. Fail #3. Great. I had to stop a lot to readjust it but it would only slip back a few steps later. Boo!

My hydration plan on this race was just to run with water in my belt and use the Gatorade at the stations to keep my electrolytes up. I usually run with Nuun, but I find that it fizzes up and then leaks all out of my water bottles and makes a total mess. It was pretty warm and humid out and I was sweating like crazy. So now I ask myself WHY did I only take Gatorade once at the very beginning?! I knew what was going to happen, and happen it did at the 19K mark. A side stitch. Fail #4. And then at 20K my calves started cramping. Fail #5. I had absolutely nothing left in the tank at this point. I just wanted it to be over. I had to stop and walk at quite a few points these final two KM and I felt pretty bad about it because I only had myself to blame. But then I came around the corner and saw the finish line and knew that my husband and nephew would be up there waiting for me so I sucked it up and jogged it in.  I knew that I was moving slowly but I didn't care. I was moving and at that point it's all I could be thankful for. And I continued to slowly bring it in up until a few steps from the finishing mat when a girl tried to pass me and I found my last ounce of energy to keep her at bay. I ended up beating her by 0.6 seconds. Take that!
Form shorm, get me to that finish line. I'm gassed!

Waving to my adoring fans.

Things that I learned on this race. 1) Don't stay up reading the night before a race 2) Drink your ovaltine Gatorade and keep your electrolytes up 3) Don't wear shorts with your IT Band Wrap on long sweaty runs. IT bands don't like that. 4) Don't try to swipe two packets of ELoad at the station when you're only supposed to have one. Fate will make you lose both of them 5) Don't make a beeline for the cute firefighters handing out water. The ugly ones right in front of them will always jump out at you forcing you to take theirs. 6) Try not to look so revolted at the volunteers handing out chocolate bars at the 19K point of a hot, sweaty & humid half marathon, they probably think you're a bitch.
I only ever walked at 10K (Gu & water break) and then at 19K & 20K (cramping up) You can see where congestion on narrow paths and bridges affected things!


  1. Oh wow, I'll take it back. Not sure spending more than 5k on this course is worth a try. Kudos to you for racing in the heat, it was indeed a sticky and messy one out there. When I raced a few years ago it was just perfect, about 20 degrees lower and drizzle.

  2. Amazing race report, I had no idea you felt you had so many "fails"! Looking back, I think the course could have been better. I so enjoyed meeting you, though, and the comraderie and just the vibe of that race... it was a lot of fun! And I'm thankful the weather held up! You did great - and you inspire me! Would love to do another with you! xo

  3. Great race report!! I had to giggle about the fire fighters!! This race has fire fighters at water stops? Sign me up!

  4. Great report to read, bummer on all the fails. I had a race kind of like that recently. SO frustrating at the time! Great job despite all that!

  5. Great report. While I really like the Toronto Women's events, the course does leave some to be desired. Too bad I didn't get to meet you. I was running with Lyndsay when she shouted "Go Sam!" at you on the course.