Going into this race I was confident that I was going to do well. I would be lying if I said there wasn’t a part of me that was hesitant that it could all go wrong.
For 7 months I pushed my training to the limits. I was incorporating strong interval training, picking up the pace on shorter runs and feeling my best after long runs. I was confident that I would break 2 hours in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon. My ultimate goal was to finish in 1:50.
3 weeks before race day, I came down with a cold that lasted 2 weeks. I didn’t run. I listened to my body and knew it was time to shut down until I felt back to my strong self. I did one easy run during those two weeks. Then it was taper week. I did a yoga session on the Thursday, an easy 5K on the Saturday and Sunday was race day.
I got to the starting line wearing layer after layer to stay warm. I love having my cheer squad with me because not only do they help me cross the finish line but they hold all of my clothing that I take off at the start and they hand it back to me at the finish. So greatful.
I started strong. I was feeling great and a part of me thought, this will be my best race and the other part thought it could be my worst with a 3 week taper.
I started at the finish line with my sister. We took our usual pre-race selfie and we were off. It’s crazy to think that this was only my 3rd half marathon when I ran my first half in 2010 at the inaugural Disney Wine and Dine Half. Also, with my sister. I would have continued to run half marathons more frequently but with a competitive cheerleading schedule, going back to school and that whole life balance thing, priorities shifted. So, we were off and I was flying. I didn’t want to go out too strong but I didn’t want to go out too weak either. I had to break 2 hours that plan b so I ran under 9:00/mile to make sure I reached that goal. I was feeling great and didn’t want stop. When I got to water stations, I got something everything single time. I wanted to something to just swish in my mouth. I didn’t stop. It was a quick grab and go. I’m a rebel and I took Gatorade at the occasional stops even though I’ve never done that at a race. I’ve had NUUN on runs but not Gatorade. Again, it was a quick sip and go so I knew I would be fine. Once I reached 5.5 miles, I needed electrolytes. I was hungry and felt like I was fading. I took half a razzberry CLIF shot followed by some water at the water station and then it was money. I felt my energy perk up and I was ready to take on the rest of the race as strong as I took the first half.
When I got to the turn around I felt like I was on cruise control and I wasn’t slowing down. There were a few hills but I just kept giving them the same amount of energy up the hills as I did down. When I hit the 15K mark, I felt a PR coming on. This was my strongest race yet. With a smile on my face and my legs feeling strong, I knew I was going to be happy with my results.
I could see the tunnel to the end of the finish line and I could see friends and pacers who I have been training with for the last 7 months cheering me to the end. This was it. I was going to be really happy crossing the finish line. My official time was 1:52:34.
It wasn’t a 1:50 or in the 1:40’s but it felt like it.
For the first time, I felt strong after the race. I didn’t feel sick, weak or nauseous. The best feeling at the end of the season is reaching your goals that you’ve been putting in the work to achieve.