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

Not the Stairs!!

After a race, the last thing I want to see are stairs. It hurts to go up them but to go down is torture. Ohhh the pain! My quads pain level are at an all time high today. It’s funny how when you are training you can feel power from running up and down the stairs and then post-race you feel defeated.

This is how I choose to battle with the stairs today:

Stairs: One point, Siobhan: Zero.

Ahh well. I tried.

The hard part today was deciding if I should go to boot camp tonight. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m going to go. I only have to push myself as hard as I want to and if I feel too much pain I will be taking it easy to prevent injuries.

Get ready for my Toronto Half Marathon re-cap tomorrow. My new trend of how to get down the stairs will all make sense and probably catch on by then!

Friday’s Confession: I go to the library for music

First: Sorry for my lack of new posts. Blooger Blogger has been down so I couldn’t keep you updated on my life. Not to worry, I’m still alive and building my playlist for the Toronto Half on Sunday!

When researching new music and trying to find new pump up jams I like to go to my local library. You wouldn’t believe the gems you can find there! I always come home surrounded with vintage compact discs. OK, they aren’t technically vintage but in a digital world, I think the kids are calling them that nowadays!

Along with new releases you will for sure find some (if not all) these hits from the late 90’s:

You know what’s embarrassing? All Saints was in the return cart at the library and the librarian was about to check it in and a part of me reeaaaally wanted to ask if I could take it out. I refrained. Maybe it will be there next time? ha!

But seriously, you can find new releases on the shelves and some of them just might be your next powersong. Especially soundtracks. The amount of high energy jams on those are amazing! I’m actually pretty excited to take a listen to Burlesque.

I also went into the angry jams section because I don’t own any of that “screamo” genre. I hear that sometimes when you don’t feel like running you just need an intense tune to pick up your energy. But, no luck. That is probably for the best because I don’t like when artists are yelling at me. Why do they have to be so angry all the time?! I would prefer some chemical brothers and their block rockin’ beats but I have that kickin’ around on cassette somewhere. I know, how vintage am I?

Have a wonderful weekend friends!

April Showers Bring New Goals

After running my first race of the season without any real goals, I decided after my first date with my Garmin today- it is time to set some goals. I’m also about to make them official by telling you all about them. Get ready for it!

The thing is, I started getting really nervous about my GoodLife Fitness Toronto Half Marathon that is coming up on May 15th. I was all fine and for it until I realized how far off my nike+ sensor was. Seriously, telling me I ran 9.67 km when I only did an 8K race- that is a scary thought when you are training for a half.

This would mean that my nike+ sensor would tell me that I ran 25.43K when really all I ran was 21K. And that extra 5K would add about 23 minutes to my time. And so– I freaked. And said, “am I seriously going to be ready for this race?” (Yes, I asked myself that while running.) And obviously the answer is YES, YES, YES! Of course I will be! I have 37 days to continue my training and according to my Garmin I ran 7K yesterday at a pace of 5:25/km. And I’m OK with that. My legs were heavy, I wore too many clothes, and it was my first date with my Garmin. so I was nervous and constantly looking at my pace and time. I came home and took a look at my training plan and after reviewing it, I’m feeling confident. I can do this and I gave myself 3 goal options:

The First:  1:40 
The Second: 1:45
The Third: 2:00

And how will I push myself to do it? By these simple words that I found on Christine’s blog bun&borough.

My mantra? I think so! I’m going to be my own cheerleader and tell myself that I Run To Be FIERCE!
It’s perfect and I can do this. Bring It On Toronto Half! (I told you I was going to be my own cheerleader!)

And- my Garmin was a success! Take a look at these stats from yesterdays run:

Pace vs Elevation
Pretty cool, right?! Yep, I’m in love! And- I love a good challenge. 
I’m no longer scared of my half, I’m pumped for it! 
What races are you pumped for?