As practice for this upcoming race, I ran a marathon. I was so grateful to be part of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. The event was from start to finish simply perfect.
The previous week I ran 130km. Normally marathon runners get a two-week taper period. Not this girl. The week of the marathon I was still going to be clocking in approximately 110km. My “rest” days were working the expo all weekend, on my feet, for 10-hour days! By Saturday night I was done. My legs were sore, my feet were sore, and my brain was exhausted! I didn’t even have the energy to get my clothes ready for race day! I set the alarm for 6:30 am. 6:30 came and went. I went into Snooze mode. At 7:10 am I told myself to forget this and just do a long run later on. I was actually considering bailing on the whole deal. 7:15am I rolled myself out of bed, put on what I thought would be the best gear for the weather, a Mizuno singlet, my inspire shorts, CEP compression socks, Mizuno arm warmers and my favourite shoes – the Wave Sayonara 2. I had some oatmeal and Honeymaxx to hydrate and jump on my bike to ride to the start line. Cycle Toronto had a bike valet this year and I was so happy for it. Riding your bike to the marathon and not having to stress about traffic and streetcars and all that mess was the best part of my morning.
Now at City Hall I met up JP and we headed for the start line. Was I feeling like running a Marathon? If I have to be honest, I would say not really. I could feel the expo in my legs and the morning was on the chilly side. I had two times in mind and a very focused plan for this training run. Faster than 3:10 would be a bad day and slower than 3:15 meant I had a bit more work to do in the next 6 weeks. After the excitement of the first couple of kilometres subsided, JP and I started to get into a groove. We had a few arguments early on regarding pace, all in a friendly fashion. The longest we’ve run together was a 10km, this was new territory for us. I learned JP likes to do these surges, which started to drive me crazy. Once I figured out this was his way, I would let him go knowing he would come back to me. It was inspiring to see so many people run up to JP to thank him for his work. He really does help so many people in a very special way. I was so proud to run beside him and watch him inspire others. I remember there were moments he went very quiet. He has been hammering out a lot of marathons recently. He was allowed to feel exhausted and beat up. I was mentally working through my training run and he was mentally working through his. The silence was so comfortable, something I rarely get to experience.
The back half of the Marathon, I finally got the expo legs out and my body woke up. I started feeling stronger and soon I’d passed the 3:15 pace group. I knew by marker 36 I had this race in the bag. That’s a great feeling where where the race is supposed to really hurt but you feel better than when you started. The rest of the race I didn’t even look at my watch, I just ran on feel and wanted to simulate a strong race finish.
I crossed the finish line with a time of 3:13. It was the perfect execution of my training run and my coach was beaming with pride. My motivation this past week came from everyone I saw at the expo and at the race. I want to name them all but that would be impossible. Key mentions are:
JP, Predrag, Simion, Rob, Anthony, Jonny, Carmy, Kerri, Heather, The Parkdale Roadrunners (best cheer sections), The TRIBE, George, Christine, Gregoire, Tara (who had a huge PB!), my entire Longboat Crew, The Nomads, especially Ryzchard, Jillian, Marky, Steve, Irun Magazine and Andrew. Peter and Clare get a special huge mention for preparing and handing off a Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich for me to practice eating solids on during the race. Coach Timo of course! Every single person who screamed my name and cheered for all the runners are my heros. Thanks to everyone for making Toronto and the STWM such a great experience.
In two weeks I will be at the Hamilton Road to Hope Marathon for practice run #2. If you are looking for a fast and fun race this is the perfect one to do. Come join me if you just want to have some fun!