Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon

Toronto ON
Bib # 10357
Chip time: 1:46:16
Official time none given Weird!
Pace 5:00
Place 1,583/10,093
Gender Place 357/5,371
Category Place 48/652
It's pretty easy to say that this race began where last years ended. I had a terrible time at Scotia last year and I vowed to go back and fix that. I said the same thing about Midsummer too but unfortunately this year was just as sucky as last year. Was the same thing going to happen to me at Scotia?! Two crap years in a row?!?!
Nicole and I have been training for this race ALL. SUMMER. LONG. It was a scary thought, running a 4:58/km pace for 21.1 straight kilometers so when Nicole texted me at work on Thursday night to say that Kenny had agreed to pace us we were over the moon. Then nervous. Holy crap! Were we actually going to pull this off?! It was now looking like we just might!
On Friday I picked Nicole up from work and we headed to the Expo. Once again I handed over $14 for parking for the 'free expo' and we headed inside. We got our bibs (which they really need to jazz up!!) and joined the long line to get our chips activated. The expo was kind of a let down but we did get to talk to John Stanton. He came up to us as Nicole was trying to find the 3:30 marathon pace band. Seeing as I am a fly by the seat of my pants racer I couldn't be bothered to take one, although when John Stanton hands  you something you take it dammit so one ended up in my bag. Nicole didn't notice who was talking to her at first and I could literally read the thought bubble over his head "Look up! It's me! John Stanton!"
We chatted with John for a little bit about the elites and such and he asked us what our goal times were. Nicole said 1:45. I said same, just 2 seconds faster than her. John told me to let Nicole cross the start line ahead of me that way when we crossed the finish line together my chip time would be faster than hers. Brilliant! Now how to casually pull this off without Nicole noticing....
 Sunday morning came and Nicole picked me up. Fifteen minutes early. I kind of figured she might be there early so thankfully I was ready. We drove into Toronto two nervous wrecks. Thankfully the nerves went away somewhat by the time we got there. We parked at the Eaton Centre and made our way to the Sheraton Centre where everyone was meeting (without bothering to pay attention to exactly where we parked in the garage which would spell disaster come time to go home!). We found Emma, Emilie, Cam and Kenny at the meet up point and then stuck to Kenny like glue. Not a chance we were losing him today!! We said goodbye and good luck to everyone, and went to the bag check (bumping into Patty along the way) and then the porta potties and made our way to the red corral. You may remember the red corral as the one that I snuck in to last year, I think this year they may have had my face on a 'corral sneaker' poster because I almost went through a body cavity search to prove that I belonged! We finally got to the corral, dignity intact and Kenny warmed up. Nicole and I are way too cool to warm up so we just stood around trying to stay warm (hello 2*) and people watched. It would seem that when you are in the fast corral you have to dress fast. No frilly skirts in the red corral, no no! Only booty shorts and bra tops were allowed in here. Marina later pointed out to me that this was probably why I was tackled at the corral entrance! I just didn't look the part. Obviously the "guards" hadn't noticed the Kenyans in pink socks like mine! Cam came and joined us while we milled around and eventually the gun sounded! Yay!
The first few kilometers flew by (as did Cam) and I was feeling good! Way better than last year. I was actually beginning to think that we may just be able to pull this off! I quickly warmed up and threw away my gloves and took off my arm warmers. The crowds of people cheering was just as amazing as last year but the congestion of so many runners really made things difficult. While running on the streets with streetcar tracks it was impossible to run three abreast so I stayed behind Kenny and Nicole which unfortunately caused me to run up the back of Kenny a few times. SOOORRRY! I recognized a lot of points from last year and when I ran past the spot where I had lost the 1:50 pacer I had a little bit of a panic. Was I going to lose my pacer again this year? Better to push that away for now. The crowds of spectators were pretty heavy and some people were crowding the streets. At one point we passed a homeless man who was giving high fives with his filthy hands to the runners and when he saw us he put out his fist for Kenny to punch which Kenny veered away from like it was hot fire "NO THANK YOU" he yelled. I burst out laughing, and I still smile when reliving the moment. Some runners around us were commenting that the 1:45 pacer was running way too fast and we pointed out that he was doing 10s and 1s but if they wanted to do continuous to stick with us. One guy actually did although we never spoke, The others didn't seem to trust our 1:45 pacer without any bunny ears on and took off. We eventually made our way out onto Lakeshore and ran right into the headwind. It was a bit tough but at least it was cooling. "Are you even sweating yet?" I asked Kenny as I wiped the sweat from my own face. Of course he wasn't. LOL This is always the best part of the race because you get to watch the elites go by (the other way!). Around the 9k mark I tried to take a gel but walking the water stations and then trying to catch up to Kenny was tough so I only took one mouthful of it and held it in my hand trying to take the rest at the next water stop. We hit the 10K split in 49:56 (HELLO 10K PB even if I've only ever done 2 10ks....one a few years ago and one with Kyle) Unfortunately it was around this point that we heard Nicole say "You guys go on" as she pulled back. I honestly thought that she was going to catch right back up and was starting to feel quite bad when she didn't.
According to my Garmin our first 10k splits were 4:43 4:58 4:53 4:55 4:54 4:51 4:50 5:04 5:01 5:00
Kenny & me! (I usually like to buy the pictures that I post here but at $30 a digital download consider these ripped off!)
For the next couple of kilometers I just focused on the turn around. A) It meant we were heading back! and B) I could watch out for Nicole. We lost our tag along runner around here, hopefully he did well. We hit the turn around and I realized as someone yelled out Kenny's name (like they had been all race long) that John Stanton wasn't the only celeb runner that I'd talk to this weekend! Yep, my personal pacer is kind of a big deal! Heading back with the wind at our backs was great! I had assumed that the wind would be in our faces at this point so it was a welcome relief. I kept an eye out for Nicole's striped socks but never did see them. I hoped she was ok. I heard Phil call out to me along Lakeshore, as well as Pierre so that was nice. Kenny told me that there was a hill coming up so to make my way slowly back to him after the next water station and then we'd tackle the hill. Um, no thanks! Trying to make my way back to him was getting tough, add a hill in there and I'm skipping the water stop. I was 2/3 of the way through this race, I wasn't losing him now! Unfortunately the lid to my water bottle had come loose and was a total pain to open now so I didn't bother drinking anything much at all during the back half of the race. Nor did I take the rest of my gel as this picture that Kenny snapped will show. Insert ominous music here.
Is it over yet?!
I was starting to get pretty tired around 18K and seeing that final hill coming up on Lakeshore was not a welcome sight! Kenny said something about taking it with a little more effort but I kind of tuned him out. I REALLY wanted to walk that hill. Guaranteed if he wasn't with me I would have. I wasn't able to stay beside him on the incline but that was ok, he was my personal beacon. I actually focused on his water belt and wondered to myself if he'd give me a sip of his water, I was pretty thirsty. Then I remembered how he had arched away from the homeless guy trying to give him knuck's and I thought it best to put that thought away! Just a few more kilometers to go, I can forego water. We made our way past the full and half split as Kenny cheered on the marathoners and made the final turn onto Bay St. The crowds were cheering and Kenny looked like he was ready to go so I sent him on his way. My legs felt like I was running through quicksand and I had rocks inside both of my shoes. I felt like I had absolutely nothing left to give and it was all due to my lack of nutrition on the race. Kenny pointed out later that we've really got to figure out the water stops and he's right. I couldn't take in my full gel or any Gatorade on the back half because it was just way to hard to catch back up to Kenny and eventually that caught back up to me. Thankfully I was able to dig deep within myself and sprint to the end, passing a girl who quickly passed me right back and get to the finish line with 1:46 showing on my Garmin.
Garmin splits 4:53 5:09 5:00 5:00 5:07 4:54 5:04 5:00 5:12 4:55 6:20 0:30 *I don't know that I can fully trust these last few splits due to the buildings and bridges.
I'm coming Kenny!
This picture makes me LOL so hard!
At the end of the day I didn't make my 1:45 goal but I'm proud of my time and so thankful to Kenny for agreeing to run with us. He got in at 1:45:45 so he got our 1:45 for us! I truly think that I'm meant to make the 1:45 WITH Nicole, so in two weeks we'll give it the ol' college try again at Road 2 Hope. Wish us luck!

I look like I'm ready for a nap. Too bad I never got one.

Yay 1 minute 1 second PB!


  1. Bahaha, not looking the part without booty shorts and bra tops!:) Congratulations on your new PB, Sam, which is very difficult to achieve in that kind of crowds!

  2. OMG that last picture is killing me. Awesome race Sam! And a terrific report as always.

    I had gel taking issues too - I managed my first one OK at 8k, but the second one I only got one mouthful in and then I ran with it in my hand for like 3k before I gave up and tossed it. I really feel the second one makes a difference for me, too, even if it's mostly psychological.Maybe I should practice gelling at full speed a few times. I was thinking of switching to chews but then you have the hassle of getting the damn things out of the package, and I'm pretty sure I'd just wind up dropping them everywhere.

  3. That finish line photo -- you look totally spent, that that's exactly what you should be feeling at the end of a hard-fought half. You did so well! 17 seconds is less than 1 second per kilometre. You pretty much got it!

  4. OMG Sam, that photo gets better every time. You hung in there so well. Let's make a deal - you give me that mental strength and I'll teach ya how to fuel on the run (which I can actually do).

    What a great race and pure redemption from last year! Congrats lady! Onward to the next one!

  5. GREAT JOB!! congrats on your PR!

  6. Kenny is kind of a big deal. But so are you!!

  7. Awesome race report Sam. Even more awesome is the PR :)

  8. great writeup Sam

  9. Nice race report and congrats on your race!

  10. You never cease to amaze me. I really hope to be able to share the joy of the 1:45 with you in a few days from now. If I'm still standing, that is... Ha.

  11. Great job on your race and your brand new PB! Best of luck at Road 2 Hope!

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