Toronto Half Marathon Race Recap!

I am so excited to show you my pictures from this race. Well, let’s be honest- I’m just really excited to show you one picture from the race. You will never believe this but I actually got a picture of me smiling AND waving to the camera. I know, I’m in shock too. I’m slowly becoming a pro for the running paparazzi.

Please note the guy laughing behind me. For some reason there is always someone laughing at me in my race pictures. Believe me, it’s not in my head– I heard him laughing. I don’t blame him though my hair resembled a troll doll from all the rain.

Alright, let’s back track and start from the beginning. Getting to the starting line was a mission. My sister Julia and I decided to drive to the start. So naturally, we stopped at Starbucks for some tall bolds to get our energy up. Have you ever got to an Sbucks that had locked doors? Because that was a first for us. Luckily, my new BFF of a barista ran to the door quickly unlocked it and handed me the freshest coffee I have ever experienced at Starbucks. What a dream! And another first. High Park Starbucks, you get a lot of love points from this runner!

You know what’s a mission? Getting parked off the busiest street in Toronto when it is closed for a race and the parking meters don’t start working until the same time as when you start running your race. Really though?! Where are the runners benefits? Not here. So, underground parking it was. Here’s the starting line from Shannon and Tasha’s condo:

Lucky for them, they got to watch the action while staying dry. You gotta love rainy day races. This is actually the first rain race that I have experienced. I couldn’t be happier that it was just drizzling and spitting the entire time.

I was having Garmin issues (because I accidentally put it on the compass somehow) so, the first 1.5K I had no idea what my pace was. No biggie. I just reset it and started guessing where I was at. And then we experienced the two massive hills. By my face you can tell how I felt about them:

I was actually feeling really great until kilometer 15. This is where I saw the wall in the distance. I tried to pick up my energy and get my mind back to zen running but the wall kept getting closer and closer. I hit it when I got to 18K. This is the worst feeling. I seriously did not want to go on but I knew I had to. The feeling of my first picture in this post was nowhere in sight. I actually used the mantra, “Pain is Temporary, Pride is Forever.” My left knee started giving me issues at about 4K and the pain in my back started to get worse by the 14K mark. By 18K- I was in pain. I took back some more gel, grabbed some water at the next water station, walked and drank and started going again. My energy picked up and my Tinkerbell tricks of not touching the ground while running started to happen again:

Seriously how do I do that?! Do I jump instead of running?! And if so- this could explain my back pain. My energy picked up and then crashed. Running up University Avenue in a strong wind is not my favourite. And then having those little leafy things falling off trees and hitting you in the face is not how I like to finish a race. I decided to walk for 10 seconds and told myself, “FINISH STRONG!” So, in keeping with tradition, I bolted to the finish line like no other:

With a huge genuine smile on my face and all! Yes, I do look like I’m about to punch myself out. I was really giving that last sprint all that I had. I ended up finishing in 2:02:09. As much as I wanted to get a sub 2 I couldn’t be happier with my 2:02. I actually felt really great during this race (obviously minus the 18K wall) and I didn’t feel like I was weak and going to collapse at the finish line. I was starving and I couldn’t get my mind off eating a bagel and the cinnamon buns I could smell at the 19K mark. I don’t know where that smell even came from because there were definitely no cinnamon buns at the finish line. But there were sample protein shakes at the finish- how perfect? I love my artificial chocolate and of course the finish line food!

It’s also convenient having a running nurse for a sister because beside the finish line was the hospital that she works. This meant- ice packs and a nurse’s lounge to re-group and re-fuel at! After we warmed up with our tea we headed to brunch which just might be my new favourite post-race activity- gorging on a sunday brunch buffet at The Hot House Cafe. THE BEST! And SO delicious!

Yes, that is a cinnamon bun. I had to! And it was delicious. And then we just kept going back for more.

And who needs food when you can eat your hardware?!

I bet everyone who dressed all fancy for Sunday Brunch really appreciated our attire and our “I was just running in the rain for 2 hours” appearance. Sorry, friends but I was hungry and just wanted to eat everything in sight.

Overall, I loved this half marathon. Even in the rain. I think I will be running this one again next year.

Stats of the Run 
Time: 2:02:09
Age Place: 186/477
Gender Place: 754/2252

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