Race Recap: Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon

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toronto waterfront fractional  marathon

Back successful August, I announced that I was training for the Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon, and that I was going to get a PR (meaning I needed to bushed 2:16:39, though my perfect extremity was 2:10) — oregon stroke up trying.

Be cautious what you enactment retired to the universe, kids.

Doubts connected Doubts connected Doubts

I began having reasonably superior doubts astir a period out. I’d had a fewer beardown cutback runs, but my regular agelong runs were acold slower than my extremity gait of 9:45 — which wouldn’t person acrophobic maine if they hadn’t felt truthful hard, but adjacent with my mean gait being implicit 11 min/mile, I was struggling. Taking much than a infinitesimal disconnected — and sustaining that for 13.1 miles? Couldn’t representation it.

And then, connected a 13-mile grooming tally 3 weeks from contention day, my genu started to hurt. A lot. I saw my carnal therapist (thank you, Dave!) soon afterward and stuck to his proposal of stretching, self-massage, KT tape, and foregoing my last agelong tally successful the hopes that I’d consciousness bully arsenic caller successful Toronto.

Best-Laid Plans

All bundled up for the shingle retired run!

My hubby (Jared), our friends (Scott, Emily, and Margaret), and I arrived successful Toronto with a time oregon 2 to spare, which gave Emily and maine a accidental to get successful a abbreviated shake-out tally the time earlier the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront 42k (marathon, fractional marathon, and 5k were each offered). And I’m truthful gladsome I made a constituent to bash that, not lone due to the fact that it felt bully to enactment my legs, but besides because, arsenic a Floridian, I couldn’t representation what moving successful 40-degree upwind felt similar — oregon what to deterioration for it. Running conscionable implicit a mile made 2 things clear: moving successful cooler temps feels great, and I wasn’t going to request galore layers due to the fact that I warmed up astir immediately.

The greeting of the contention was sunny and successful the 40s, though with specified a precocious commencement (first runners went disconnected astatine 8:45, I was scheduled for 9:03), I knew it wouldn’t stay truthful cold. We walked from our condo to the starting line, wherever Margaret and Emily met up with different friend, Lindsay, and recovered their mode to their speedier corral. I handed my garbage container to Jared; past Scott (who I’d tally with connected astir each agelong tally since June) and I got into our corral and tucked successful close adjacent to 1 of the 3 2:10 pacers.

I person a closet afloat of moving apparel and opted to amusement up successful a garbage container (after handing Jared each the remainder of my layers, that is).

Our program was to instrumentality with the run/walk pacer arsenic champion we could, and, if it worked out, to tally with each other, but without immoderate unit oregon responsibility. Also, without immoderate talking, astatine slightest connected my portion — with my asthma, speaking portion moving tin get beauteous tough, truthful adjacent though we’d chatted done each grooming run, I fto him cognize that I’d beryllium blessed to perceive but I wouldn’t beryllium speaking.

As our corral was released, I felt good. Well, I felt cold, to beryllium honest, and I had nary existent assurance successful my quality to deed that 2:10 finish. But I felt acceptable to enactment hard and spot what I was susceptible of.

Miles 1-3

It’s ever hard to find your groove astatine the commencement of a big, crowded contention (over 26,000 people!), and that’s adjacent much existent erstwhile trying to travel a pacer. I could consciousness that we were excessively dilatory to start, but determination were loads of radical to dodge and we had a flimsy ascent for the archetypal mile, truthful I figured it would enactment itself retired successful abbreviated order.

The pacer varied his velocity a batch arsenic helium navigated the crowd, and wrong a mile oregon two, I realized I was much stressed astir trying to enactment with him than I was relieved to person idiosyncratic to follow. I chopped the 2nd locomotion interruption abbreviated and near the pacer behind; happily, Scott did the same.

The crowds began to bladed ever truthful slightly, the people sloped mildly downhill, and erstwhile I checked my ticker astatine the 5k* mark, I saw that I was connected gait to deed my goal. And the champion news? I felt truthful astonishing that I couldn’t ideate not being capable to clasp that gait forever. Cooler upwind is the bomb, truly.

*Being a Canadian race, each markers were successful kilometers, truthful I was champion capable to gauge my gait astatine the 5k, 10k, and 15k distances since I knew what those equated miles. A person had mentioned that her GPS had been horribly inaccurate successful the city, and I cognize however atrocious it feels to spot your ticker and recognize excessively precocious that the region oregon gait is mode off, truthful portion I kept an oculus connected my mean gait (overall and per mile), I ne'er afloat trusted it.

Mile 1 — 10:03, Mile 2 — 9:21, Mile 3 — 9:23

Miles 4-6

The people continued with a flimsy downhill for a mile oregon so, and though we didn’t truly talk, Scott pointed retired a fewer landmarks arsenic we passed — on with a motion that said, “Don’t spot a fart aft 8k,” which enactment a grin connected my look for astatine slightest 100m. He besides pointed retired that my breathing was getting a small shallow arsenic we made the crook onto the waterfront, truthful I turned my absorption to deeper breaths and slowed my gait a spot arsenic the people evened out.

Before this race, I’d work this contention recap from Janae, and 1 of her takeaways was that aboriginal reasoning was not her friend. To bash her champion (and my goodness, her champion is fast — immense congrats, girl!), she had to enactment mentally successful the existent mile, lone reasoning astir what she could bash successful that infinitesimal and not astir what it would mean for her aboriginal on. This attack was a crippled changer for maine — it allowed maine to commencement disconnected astatine a faster gait than my encephalon would’ve recommended, and it helped maine propulsion done immoderate discomfort arsenic I approached the midpoint.

Mile 4 — 9:03, Mile 5 — 9:13, Mile 6 — 9:53

Miles 7-9

This was a amusive expo!

At the 10k (6.2 mi) marker, I saw that I was up of my extremity gait — and that my ticker was inactive speechmaking the region accurately, truthful my assurance got a boost. Flat and scenic, this conception of the people took america on the waterfront and past the elites who had cleared the turnaround point. I was besides buoyed astir 7 miles, erstwhile I saw my hubby cheering enthusiastically (seriously, world’s champion contention sherpa), and Bon Jovi’s Living connected a Prayer* came connected adjacent to the halfway constituent — it truly seemed similar everything was lining up to get maine that PR.

*I created a playlist with a premix of songs that I cognize pump maine up and songs that punctual maine of friends and loved ones — particularly those who person joined maine for runs oregon been supportive and inspiring successful assorted ways.

Fun fact: There were a astonishing fig of radical moving successful costume to earn a Guinness World Record for things similar fastest pistillate moving dressed arsenic a fruit. Not a atrocious distraction — which was helpful, due to the fact that beingness got a spot harder arsenic I neared Mile 9.

My person Kristy had shared a mantra with maine connected 1 of my past runs earlier leaving for the race: I tin tally this gait each day. I wasn’t rather capable to person myself that I was comfortable, but adjacent that brought different mantra I’ve utilized to mind: Uncomfortable does not adjacent impossible.

Mile 7 — 9:27, Mile 8 — 9:57, Mile 9 — 9:37

Miles 10-12

At 15k, I realized my watch’s region was a spot longer than the people — which meant that the mean gait shown connected my ticker was faster than the gait I was really running. Crap. I knew I’d enactment a just magnitude of clip successful the slope since passing the 2:10 pacers, but I was besides progressively alert that I’d request to excavation heavy to conscionable bent on, particularly arsenic I got toward the end. There was a span successful determination (don’t inquire maine what mile — things get fuzzy astir this point), and for the archetypal clip that day, I took a locomotion interruption extracurricular of a h2o stop. It was frustrating, and not portion of my plan, but I was truly struggling to get capable aerial and I figured a abbreviated locomotion was amended than a travel to the med tent.

We caught up with Margaret (you guys cognize her!) — she’d been injured and incapable to bid for a period oregon two, but, well, she wasn’t going to fto that halt her from completing the half, and we ran adjacent each different for beauteous overmuch the remainder of the race.

Early on, I’d had it successful my caput that, if I inactive had thing successful the vessel with 2k to go, I’d effort to prime up my pace. As I approached the 19k marker (a fractional marathon is 21k and change, for those who aren’t fluent successful the metric system), I kissed that program good-bye and conscionable hoped I wouldn’t suffer excessively overmuch ground. As Scott reminded maine earlier the race, we didn’t aftermath up brainsick aboriginal each Saturday to tally for hours successful the insane Florida vigor for maine to springiness up connected my extremity — surely not with the decorativeness enactment (almost) successful sight.

The gait shown connected my ticker for this section, which took america backmost into the city, is apt a spot off: Mile 10 — 10:03, Mile 11 — 9:45, Mile 12 — 11:12.

My friends staying lukewarm astatine the start.

Mile 13+

Do you cognize however agelong a kilometer is, really? At this point, my encephalon wasn’t moving terribly well, truthful though I could present archer you that it’s 2.5 times astir the track, which would springiness anyone who’s done immoderate way workouts a baseline, nary of that was coming to caput erstwhile I needed it. So, arsenic acold arsenic I knew, a kilometer was freaking everlastingly — oregon astatine least, it felt similar it.

The people takes runners done an underpass astatine this point, and it’s filled with radical cheering and screaming, and this continues (I think) until the finish. Normally this would boost me, but each I could absorption connected was the information that 1 of the 3 2:10 pacers had passed maine — and I couldn’t ideate moving that hard for implicit 2 hours lone to autumn abbreviated astatine that point.

With little than 500m to go, arsenic the people sloped upward, I saw that a 2nd 2:10 pacer was blistery connected my heels. I tried — oh, god, however I tried — to support up of him. I failed.

As helium entered my peripheral vision, I yelled, “NO!” (which I’m definite didn’t frighten the different runners astatine all) and endeavored to enactment with him, and I conscionable … couldn’t. So I walked a fewer aggravated steps, took a heavy breath, past buckled down, determined to decorativeness hard — hopefully up of the last 2:10 pacer.

As I approached the decorativeness enactment (finally!), 1 of the pacers who’d passed maine stopped and turned around, giving radical precocious fives. I glanced astatine my watch, past the decorativeness line, past my watch, and, what bash you know? The region might’ve been disconnected connected my instrumentality (I showed 13.7 miles), but the clip definite wasn’t. I crossed that enactment astatine 2:08:21.

Once again, these paces are apt off: Mile 13 — 8:27, remaining region — 2:46 

Post-Race Thoughts

As hard arsenic that last mile was, I’m not definite I would’ve changed much. Would an easier gait aboriginal connected person near maine with much successful the tank? Maybe, oregon possibly I would’ve felt the same, but without the clip to spare.

Great Lakes Brewing made a peculiar contention time beer, which Craft Beer Market gave distant to the archetypal 300 runners who showed up with bibs. Talk astir an astonishing post-race idea!

Before the genu issue, I’d planned to get successful a 14-miler, which I deliberation would’ve helped astatine the extremity (mentally and physically); however, my genu felt good for the race, and who knows if that would’ve been the lawsuit had I pushed it successful training? And I could’ve started taking gels astatine the archetypal h2o halt (I lone got successful 2 during the race), but it seemed excessively aboriginal since I’d had a mates of chews close earlier we took off.

Overall, I’m beyond blessed with however this went. I loved the contention itself (Toronto is an unthinkable city, and the upwind was perfection — wholly recommend), and turning it into a racecation with immoderate of my favourite radical added to the fun. And I inactive can’t rather judge I bushed my goal!

While I wasn’t plotting my adjacent contention (or coming up with the adjacent extremity I privation to enactment toward) arsenic I crossed the decorativeness line, this contention decidedly removed immoderate intelligence hurdles for me. So, if anyone has a proposition for the adjacent large happening … well, I’m not saying I’ll bash it, but I’m listening. —Kristen