I know, I know, where have I been? Here are FOUR race reports. Eeep, sorry I’m so behind.
1) August 31: Color Me Rad 5k — Not timed
Karon was a keener and wrote up a summary the day of (with lots of photos), but here’s my take anyway:
- I wasn’t thrilled about the event to begin with, the thought of having coloured cornstarch thrown in my face during a run isn’t appealing at all, but since little brother was so enthused to sign up with me, I agreed to do it (as long as he paid my entry fee, lol).
- We got to the race site and it was already a wild, colourful mess since a bunch of legs were already completed. The line up for our kits wasn’t terrible and we got our shirts and sunglasses without any hassle — you NEED to wear the glasses they provide.
- The run itself is nothing more than a jog, no one takes this event seriously which is cool, I was glad we weren’t dodging runners the whole way. It was chilled with tons of photo ops and everyone enjoyed the scenery. The first colour station was at the 1k mark and that’s when the fun begins! It was a blast, the trick is to not rush through and you could even stop at the end to throw cornstarch on yourself.
- Karon was smart to put his camera in a ziplock bag with two holes in the back for the straps. It still got dirty but it was better than not being covered.
- The stations with wet paint were the best, the volunteers don’t spray above your chest so there’s no risk getting anything in your face and the colours stay on much better. My advice for this: wear swim shorts! It was easy to clean and you don’t have to be uncomfortable with a wet bottom the rest of the time.
- Overall, it was a lot of fun and I’m glad Karon and I got a ton of awesome photos out of it. I don’t know if I’d do it again, I find that this one-time experience is enough.
2) September 8: B&O Yorkville 5k — 27:58
My annual 5k since finding out I was preggers! This was my third year in a row running this race and I’m liking it better and better each time. The sponsors are getting bigger and the crowds are always great.
- 2011: 26:19 | 2012: 31:24 (first race since having Madeline 4 months before)
- I love the course, it’s a great loop from Yorkville down to Queens Park and back up Avenue Road, and it’s close to home.
- The goodies are awesome, what other race hands out EVIAN water and cinnamon buns? There were free t-shirts and water bottles and we got a free jacket in the kit too!
- The medal is so pretty. This year’s spins! For a short 5k, this is definitely noteworthy.
- You can stay inside the entrance to the Nike store before gun time to keep warm and stretch, this is definitely a bonus.
- Hopefully I’ll be able to match or beat my 2011’s record soon. It’s taking a long time to get back to my pre-baby times.
- Nothing negative to say about this race! Will keep doing it every year!
3) September 21: Running Maniacs Fall Festival Run 15k — 1:29:56
My second long distance race. Newcastle is far! But the good thing about that is it’s a small race and not crowded.
- This was my training run to prep for STWM. The scenery was great but because it’s such a small race, you’re alone most of the time and there were few spectators along the way, so music is needed to keep you company through those lonely stretches.
- There weren’t a ton of volunteers and not every turn was marked, so some elites ran too much and others ran too little. I don’t think anyone knows their true time, still. Luckily for me, I ran with a lady going my pace and we didn’t run off course like some of the leaders (including Avery, even though he won his category for the 10k!).
- They announced the women’s results first by the oldest age groups, then the men’s, and the winners get to choose a prize when their names are called. When it was hubby’s turn, there was barely anything left on the table, boo!
- I don’t think we’ll do this race again, it took a while to get there and it wasn’t well organized, though we understand because it’s a small event. We received a follow-up email just today from the race director stating she understood everyone’s comments but because it was a small-funded race, and the purpose was to raise money for guide dogs (yay!), she hopes everyone looks at the big picture and not hold any grudges.
4) October 20: Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront (Half) Marathon 21k — 2:16:30
THE race of the year! All of my training after the Yonge Street 10k led up to this day. I’m so happy I finished, and with my time!
- This is Toronto’s most famous race and rightfully so. Canada Running Series always does a superb job organizing all of their races. Alan Brookes (the race director) did it again. It’s an awesome feeling being a part of such a big event, the crowds were the most excited groups of people I’ve ever seen, there’s always lots of volunteers, the route was good, corrals were timed correctly and water stations were plentiful.
- Avery’s office was a block away from the start so we made it our HQ for the morning. We could see the corrals and made our way down with some minutes to spare, I was glad we didn’t have to check our bags or wait outside. Hubby was my coach for this run, he was with me the entire time!
- Two of our friends are opening up a running store at King and Bathurst called Black Toe Running Inc. so we were honoured to wear their personalized singlets! A couple of people asked us about it on the course so the word is out! They had a huge cheering section in front of the shop and it was awesome seeing my name on their sign! It’s always great to have support along the way.
- I was feeling good and Avery was pacing me at 6:00/k so it was doable. I was cramping around the 10k mark and was worried but thankfully it went away quickly. Everything was peachy on Lakeshore but it’s quite a ways before the turnaround, the scenery makes it seem longer than it is. I was worried at 15k because I was getting tired… really tired. Then, after the 16k mark, every kilometer seemed like an eternity. 17k is where I hit the wall on my training run and it was tough to keep going this time too. I walked twice for 20 seconds or so, I couldn’t not stop, my legs were dead tired. Avery helped me push through it and I paced 6:20+/k the rest of the way.
- The last 3-4k was insanely challenging, I knew I was almost at the finish but there’s still 20+ minutes to go, plus I’ve been running for about 2 hours at this point. I hated seeing the markers because I’d think back to the last one I saw and it felt like I’ve run more than a measly kilometer. When we were rounding the last corner, Avery put it in perspective for me and said it’s less than a walk to the subway station from our house which helped a lot, but damn it seemed twice as far! I didn’t want to stop, I pushed myself so hard after passing Union Station.
- This is where I felt kind of eerie. In 2011, Avery and I witnessed a half-marathoner collapse less than 1k before the finish (he didn’t survive), and this is where I’d be running past to get to the end. You can read about the post here. I didn’t glance at the spot where we saw him but focused on moving my legs and taking big breathes for that last stretch.
- The 500m, 400m, 300m, 200m, 100m signs did not help me at all! I was aching and was so exhausted, passing by each of those markers was grueling! 100m is such a short distance but the signs seemed to be teasing me in slow motion as I was giving everything that I had to get to the end. The crowds were awesome, though, they were shouting and clapping, someone even yelled out my name really loudly a bunch of times but I didn’t see who it was so I’m assuming it was a random spectator.
- Then, I saw the timer, and the best feeling is knowing you’re seconds away from the finish so you can stop running!!! What a glorious feeling it was, they put the medal around my neck and I was still in shock of what I just did. There is no way I could’ve done this well without Avery running with me and supporting me the whole way, I probably would’ve given up.
- I waddled my way to grab post-race goodies with the masses ’cause I was starving! Next time I do anything more than a 15k I will try using gels. I needed that energy boost this time, they were handing out PowerGels but I didn’t dare try anything new during a race.
- I’m over-the-moon thrilled to have completed this mission. What a strenuous one. I’m done with races until next year! I want to chance my luck with Nike’s San Francisco Women’s marathon but I should wait a bit before my runner’s high gets carried away.
- Gentle reminder that there’s still time to donate to Toronto Cat Rescue fundraiser! :)
Thanks for reading! I know it was a long one… but I won’t have any more reports until next spring at the earliest :)